We all know how important good record-keeping is. It prevents problems down the road, and can also help us be more efficient and organized right now in the present.
The only problem? It takes time and effort to set up a system that works for your business. And somehow it always seems like there are more pressing things to get done.
When there are sales to make, orders to fill, and emails to send, those tasks tend to capture our attention and take up our time. Record-keeping gets shoved to the back burner, where it can simmer for far longer than it should.
But getting your paperwork in order isn’t a task that should be overlooked for long. Because the truth is your business will run better once you take this very important step.
Purge What You Don’t Need
The first step in creating an organized office is to get rid of anything and everything that you don’t need, including items that have not been used in the last year, receipts that you have an electronic copy of, notes you no longer need, non-functioning equipment, and even old emails and voicemails.
By clearing out the things you don’t need, you’ll spend less time searching for the things you actually do use. Plus, your office will be less cluttered and offer a calmer work environment for you and your employees.
How to Organize Your Business Paperwork
One way to keep things organized is to make sure you can easily access any records you need. Practically speaking, that usually means setting up a good filing system.
Specifics will vary depending on your business, but these categories are a good starting point:
• Accounting and book-keeping records
• Bank records, including any loan-related information
• Corporate records, including by-laws and minutes from corporate meetings
• Employee records
• Forms, such as applications and sales agreements
• Intellectual property records
• Stock records, if applicable
• Permits and licensees
• Marketing materials
• Tax records
Meet with a Tax Advisor, if Needed
Depending on your own level of expertise, there are some record-keeping items you might need help with. Don’t waste time struggling to figure something out yourself when a quick appointment with a professional can quickly get you on the right track. By doing so, you’ll save time, which means you’ll also save money.
How Long Must I Keep Paperwork?
When you get right down to it, there is no short cut here. Either paperwork must be kept or it can be discarded. Most experts say you need to keep your records for at least seven years in the event you are audited, while others say you should keep them for 21 years.
What’s more, there are some records that should be kept forever. These include end-of-year financial statements, deeds, mortgages, and bills of sale.
That’s a lot of paperwork, we know. After all, there is only so much room to store all of those files and boxes. Luckily, there is a solution—and it doesn’t involve renting a bigger space or paying for an expansion or new building!
How to Organize Business Files and StorageMart
Getting organized is a critical step for any business to take. But the problem is, especially with new businesses, there simply isn’t always the space to store all of those boxes. So they end up in hallways, in the breakroom, and even in your own home or garage.
The great news is you don’t need a larger office or warehouse to solve this problem—at least, not right now. Self storage units can give you the breathing room—and flexibility—you need to grow without committing to a larger space until you’re sure you’re ready.