It’s Administrative Professionals Week! What better time to take a tip from these masters of organization?
Most admins possess almost super-human paperwork management skills. And considering how much paperwork passes through — and resides in — Finance, it could help to get some tips from the experts.
Answer these five questions to see whether your department is following filing best practices:
- How full are your filing cabinets? Can you barely get a hand in them to retrieve a file? Or is it so stuffed you can barely pry the drawer open? Best practice: For maximum efficiency, each drawer should be no more than three-quarters full. That gives you and your staffers the ability to pull out files easily and without tearing any important documents.
- How many file folders are in each hanging file? Unless your answer is one, you’re running the risk over overcrowding your Finance records. A one-to-one folder to file ratio makes paper easy to retrieve. Hint: Try keeping extra hanging folders close by, so it’s easy for staffers to add a new one, rather than jam a second file in the same folder.
- How are your files labeled? Handwritten? Stickers over old stickers? One wise investment: a label marker. Clearly typed, uniformly labeled files make paperwork easy to find and increases the odds files will be returned to their proper homes (good especially for records that multiple departments access).
- Do you cross-index? Is ABC Shipping actually Alpha Beta Carriers Shipping? If the way your systems dictates you file something contradicts how many people would look for them, be sure to put a note in the spot where most will go looking to direct them to the proper place. Or if you have certain companies that require sales tax exemption forms, cross index the file that holds those forms.
- How do you handle files in use? Maybe a purchaser needed a peek at a specific vendor’s file or another member of your team is looking something up. Not only is it smart to have a sign-out sheet for all records, but you also want a placeholder card to put in the space where the file belongs. That way staffers won’t waste valuable time thinking a file’s been misfiled when it’s on a co-workers’s desk.