Dealing with the paperwork is a large part of running a business. In order to make that all your business documents are well-organized and easy to access, you need to establish an efficient management system.
The organizational techniques you decide to use need to entail more than simply stacking your files neatly. Instead, you should work to develop a retrieval and archive system, as well as incorporate digital tools. This will not only help to boost productivity but also promote a stress-free office culture.
Here are a few tips that will help you to better organize your business paperwork.
1. Remove Unnecessary Paperwork
The first step to organizing your business paperwork is by removing anything that you don’t actually use or need. Shred and recycle any newsletters, magazines, and unusable materials, and organize all of your important documents into a labeled filing system or cabinet.
Try to determine which records can be removed from your office altogether. While it can sometimes be difficult to figure out what should stay and what should go, the “seven-year rule” is usually a good one to follow. In other words, any paperwork that’s older than 7 years can probably be thrown away without causing any problems for your company.
If you are transitioning to paperless platforms, make sure to scan and digitize all of your physical documents.
2. Use the Office Printer Wisely
Investing in an easy-to-use office printer can help you work more productively and flexibly. Keep in mind, however, that the printer should be used only when a hard copy is absolutely necessary; for instance, when you need to review or proof final documents, or when you need backup copies of electronically signed agreements, contracts, invoices, or bills.
Restricting the use of the office printer is one of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of paper in the workspace. While having a printer in the office can make things exceptionally easy, you should ask yourself: Is it really necessary to print every document you have on your computer?
3. Rely on Digital Tools and Resources
There’s a big number of software solutions and apps that can help you increase productivity and reduce the use of paper in the office. Bookkeeping and accounting software, for instance, can make payment and invoice handling much easier, whereas inventory management software can also help businesses streamline inventory tracking and counts.
If you are working in a copywriting environment or newspaper, use a plagiarism checker tool before you send your files to clients or business partners to ensure that your paperwork is plagiarism-free.
4. Organize Your Computer System
Nowadays, many business owners will use their computers to complete big amounts of work.
This results in a large number of emails, as well as digital documents and files being saved on PCs. In order to prevent the computers from slowing down and to increase productivity, you will need to clear their inboxes and desktops on a regular basis.
5. Back Up Your Files Digitally
Although businesses nowadays use much less physical paper than they used to, they still have lots of hard copy documents to deal with. Backing up your files digitally is optional but it can definitely provide peace of mind knowing you will always be able to easily access any document your need. Not to mention, if a disastrous event happens (such as a flood or fire), you won’t have to worry about losing everything.
Consider making a digital copy of all of your physical materials by scanning important records and saving them on an external hard drive or in the cloud. Use simple file names so you can search for and find the document you’re looking for without having to open the files.
Organizing your business documentation is a duty that is usually postponed until you need something urgently. It is only then that you realize that your lack of organization costs you time and money. Although getting your physical materials in order will take some effort at first, it will be well worth it once you see how much more efficient everything is and how much less stressed you are. If you follow these five steps, you will be able to create a system that makes it simple to discover what you need, when you need it.