Do you want a clean and easy electronic filing system for your business?
The right electronic filing system can save a lot of time and frustration, but if not done well, electronic filing can bring massive headaches and seriously hinder the processes it is supposed to help.
How organised is your system?
These five tips will help you create an electronic filing system as streamlined and useful as possible.,
1- Analyse your records before you start
Right off the block, you need to figure out what kind of filing system will suit your needs. Consider the different types of information you would like to be included, and the variables each type of information holds. For instance, how often are certain files needed? Who needs to be able to access them? How long do they remain valid for? When you have covered all the types of information you need to take care of, see how it can be organised into folders, including logical sub-folders.
2- Use simple file names
Make sure your file names are easy to understand and easy to remember. You, and others who require access, should be able to know at a glance what they will find when they open any given file. Using nicknames or codes is not recommended, as it can impede searches, and what is memorable now might not be in several months or years. Consider if it is useful to include dates in the file name too.
3- Back up files regularly
Even the perfect system is useless if it is lost or incomplete. Backing up new data at least every few weeks is absolutely essential in order to protect valuable information. There are many very affordable online systems that will automatically back up your data without you having to think about it. This could be your best option.
4- Include dates in your data
Even if it is not held in the file names, it is important that dates are attached to every file on record. Always include day, month and year so a complete chronology of files can be arranged if necessary. This is especially important if you do regular work for clients because sometimes files can have similar names. When you want to look for the latest version, a date is a lifesaver.
5- Review your system regularly
Set a timeline for reviewing your electronic filing system, so if it needs an overhaul down the line, it gets one. Keep your system and your records up to date in order to keep them as useful as possible. Now, I know this isn’t the most exciting task but it is critical. Because it’s the task many of us put off, I recommend scheduling a regular time to do this. For example, check and review your system on the first Monday of every month.
By following this simple advice, you will be in control of the structure and contents of your electronic filing system, and know beyond doubt that it will be useful and efficient.