Crack open those cabinets and see if your finance filing system is as efficient as it could be.
Paperless office? Probably not.
For most companies — and finance departments specifically — there’s still plenty of physical paper in that paper trail.
No matter how much paper populates your department, there’s a great reason to keep it as organized as possible:
- The average businessperson wastes over 150 hours per year just looking for lost information! That’s just under three hours a week.
- Assuming an average salary of $22 per hour, you could be losing $3,300 per year, per person!
Of course, every company has its own unique ways that work for them when it comes to filing.
Still, there are some best practices that keep efficiency up and lost paperwork to a minimum.
Think about your own filing setup and answer these six questions:
- How stuffed are your filing cabinets? Hopefully you don’t have to pry cabinets open with a crowbar.
Best practice: A file drawer should be filled to no more than 90% of its capacity. Otherwise it takes too long to both file and find papers.
- How “thick” are your file headings? Too many headings crowd cabinets.
Best practice: Use headings that cover a substantial amount of material (up to 2 inches of paper).
- What do your folder tabs look like? Inconsistency slows everyone down.
Best practice: All file tabs should be typed.
- How many file guides do you have? Too few and you lose your organization; too many and you clutter your cabinets.
Best practice: All active files should have a guide every 10 to 15 folders.
- How do you cross-reference files? You can use a database or even a spreadsheet, but no matter what your tool of choice, it’s a good idea to cross-reference your files on the computer.
Best practice: ID as many keywords as you can for each file. That will help everyone put their finger on the right piece of paper fast.
- How do you follow the file? Odds are different people (and maybe even different departments) need what you have in Finance’s files.
Best practice: So something critical never goes missing, create a set of “file in use” slips that can be slid in folders. Must-have info: user, date taken, date to be returned.
Have a best practice of your own for better Finance filing? Share it here.