Here’s hoping one of Finance’s collective New Year’s Resolutions was to get (or stay) on top of filing. Because like it or not, there’s still a lot of paper floating around finance departments of all sizes.
We got some advice from the ultimate filing mavens: administrative professionals. They recently shared their best practices with our sister publication, Administrative Professionals Update.
And they’re worth passing along to all your staffers to make paperwork management less of a headache in 2013.
1. Make it fast
While the goal is to try and prune as much paper as possible from Finance, there are times when you or staffers will have to create files: new vendors, customers, employees, etc.
When you have to make a new file, aim to do it in a minute or less.
But not all files are created equal. Many admins have started saying sayonara to hanging files in favor manila folders (faster and easier to set up).
Hint: If your files need more support, try adding a piece of cardboard, like you’d find in a three-ring binder.
2. Put it on the calendar
Ideally, staffers file things as soon as they come in. Doesn’t always happen, especially since filing is few folks’ favorite tasks.
One smart idea: Designate a filing day.
You don’t have to devote a whole day, of course. But by blocking out 15 minutes every Wednesday afternoon, all those extra papers kicking around will get put away. And that to-file pile won’t have a chance to grow so tall it seems insurmountable.
3. Ditch the To-File Pile
Speaking of that ever-growing pile, you want to get rid of it pronto. But until that weekly window to file comes up, try keeping all to-be-filed paperwork in an alphabetical accordion file.
That way should someone need to access a certain doc that’s yet to be filed, you won’t waste time rummaging through a disorganized stack of papers.
Don’t put the packrats on your staff in charge of filing!
Yes, you must hang onto every document you need for your audit trail.
Here’s a gauge to help you know you might be hanging onto more than you need to: If a drawer is more than three-quarters full, you probably have some purging to do.
5. Create an index
It would be one thing if a specific finance staffer was the only person who needed a given file or record. But that’s rarely the case. There’s no shortage of people or even departments that need access to Finance files.
That’s why creating an index for your filing systems is a must.
But skip the paper this time – the experts say the index belongs on your computer.