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Get Organized Part 2—Make the Most out of Your Filing Systems

October 08, 2013
Get Organized Part 2—Make the Most out of Your Filing Systems

Start Filing Fresh

Before you start re-organizing your filing cabinets and filing procedures you’ll need to do a major purge. Assign someone to this task that has a thorough understanding of your business and can make solid judgements on what needs to stay and what is junk. Keep in mind that any paperwork containing personal information must be shredded, not recycled. Anything not used within the last year probably doesn’t need to stay, unless there are tax or legal requirements.

Don’t Get Caught Unprepared

Be aware of all your obligations to retain tax information and legal documents, some files you must keep regardless of how often you refer to them.

Have a One-Time Policy

Set the goal of only handling a piece of paper once. Put it directly where it goes from the start. This will eliminate wasting time and the potential for losing or misplacing documents.

Set and Expiry Date

Choose a time limit for your files that is appropriate for the nature of your business; if you work with client files that carry from year to year, consider having a second set of filing cabinets as an “archive” file. This allows you to weed out inactive files over time.

Put Your Files to Bed Each Year

At the end of each year, archive any file that has been inactive during that year. Have two sections in your archive file labelled for two subsequent years. At the end of each year, shred or recycle the latest year in the archive file, add a new year carried over from your active files, and carry on from year to year.

Toss the Incoming Mail

Most incoming mail is junk, so toss it! Allot one perceptive and tidy individual to sort the incoming mail each day and toss everything that is not relevant to your business. Anything within question, send up the ladder to the appropriate person. A good rule of thumb here is to read it and if you can use it right away, keep it. If not, toss it. Remember, it is pretty easy to find information again these days, with the internet and all.

File Every Day

Never ever leave stacks of files out overnight! Not only is it messy, it could pose a serious security risk for your business. Make a habit of filing every day. Choose the time that fits your office workflow the best and stick to it. In fact, it works even better to have several set times that you file materials, especially if you use your files a lot. Before lunch and before closing are obvious choices that work well for most office settings.

Assign a Filing Specialist

Many people are surprisingly poor at filing alphabetically. This is amazingly inconvenient, and leads to missing documents and long retrieval times. Consider having one person assigned to do all the filing for your office. That way, things will stay consistent and organized and you’ll have one reference person to ask whenever you need help finding something.
We could go on a long time about filing! If you need filing cabinets and other organizational essentials, take a look at our products online or give us a quick call. We offer a wide variety of filing cabinets and office furniture that can make your office run smoothly.
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