Paperwork is a necessary evil of running a business. Handling documents has become an industry of its own.
The document management services industry is worth around $6.5 billion.
Yet there are ways to handle your business documents yourself. You can stay organized and always have the right document to hand.
Read on for our top 5 tips to get your paperwork in order.
1. Organize Your Business Documents
Don’t let company documents pile up or things will get lost. Separate your documents into files according to what they are.
Keep legal documents in one folder, and human resources documents in another. You can label each folder and keep them in a designated filing cabinet.
That way, people can find documents if they need them when you’re not there. You can also save yourself time by knowing where to find them if you need them in a hurry.
2. Label All Documents With Their Status
When you get supplier invoices in the mail, it’s easy to lose track of them. When did they arrive and have you paid them?
A simple way to manage these documents is to label them. Use different rubber stamps according to their status.
You might use one to add the date the invoice arrived. Then use another to show it’s been paid.
You can find some great rubber stamps online.
3. Create Digital Back-Ups
Scanning your business documents to create digital copies has two benefits. You can file them electronically, making them easier to find using the ‘search’ function on your operating system.
It also means you have copies you can refer back to in case you lose the originals.
Having digital copies also makes life easier if you still have staff working remotely. They can access all the documents they need from home without needing the paper originals.
4. Ensure the Right Level of Access
Not everyone in your office needs to access all of your documents. Project-related documents should be accessible to the project team. Yet financial or legal documents should only be accessible to those who need them.
This ties in with our first point. Create spaces in your workplace for different types of documents. This makes it easier for the right staff to access the right documents.
For example, you might keep financial and legal documents in a locked cabinet in your office. Yet project-specific documents can be in the main office.
Use password protection to restrict access to digital versions.
5. Archive What You Don’t Need
You need to keep some documents for a certain length of time. For example, the IRS can go back six years into your tax records. You need to keep accident and injury records for five years.
What do you do with them when that time is up? Put them into an archive. This means you don’t need to give up space for them in your office.
It also means you can retrieve them if you need them at all. Make digital backups before you archive them so you still have a record on your server.
Follow These Tips for Success
These are the best ways to handle business documents so you don’t lose anything. The tips will save you time in finding what you need.
Once you set up your organization and access, handling documents on a daily basis becomes easier.
Check out our business articles for more tips and tricks.