File management is an important topic for any office environment and was touched upon recently in our article discussing 8 Tips to Office Organisation. As this is something which is imperative to an effective office, it is important to broach the subject of electronic and paper files in more detail.

1. Electronic Files

Many people fail to realise that having even a simple filing system on their computer will save time when referencing or creating similar documents for their business purposes. The simplest way to distinguish between files is to separate personal and business related documents and to have a standard method of saving each individual document for ease.

An effective way to set this up is to jot down the proposed system on paper to ascertain what will work best for your organisation. Try to keep the process as simple as possible without resorting to multi-level folders within folders which can become messy and time consuming. Whether you choose to file by year, client or specific title such as invoice or receipts is dependent on the type of business you run.

It is also imperative to have some kind of system for filing email messages within your email system. As business owners rely more and more on electronic mail, it is important to be able to quickly locate any important email for the information or documentation attached.

Archiving will also become necessary at some point and the same points will apply. Make sure you label and file the discs accordingly for easy retrieval.

2. Paper Files

Once you have determined the breakdown for your paper filing system, it is important to establish the type of system you are going to use.

Are you going to implement a filing system within a filing cabinet? Or do you prefer using a folder for the management of your documentation? It may be necessary to combine a quick desk system for day to day use and a filing cabinet for storage which does not have to be accessed as regularly. Again, make sure whatever system you use facilitates quick and easy document retrieval.

The most important factor when setting up a filing system, whether paper or electronic, is to remember the K.I.S. or K.I.S.S. principle which maintains that “Keeping It Simple” will often lead to a less complicated and time-saving system.

If you’re overwhelmed, struggling to get things done, or recognise you need some assistance, organise a call with me to discuss your business support needs.

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Founder and Director, Nicole has been working in the remote support, virtual assistant, outsourcing space since 2007. A professional with multiple certifications, and a specialist in virtual support and ecourse implementation, Nicole is passionate about supporting women-owned businesses in growth and development.