Running even a small business means managing a lot of sensitive business records.
Many of these are legally mandated and must be kept for a certain amount of time, while there are others you may question whether or not you need to keep at all or destroy immediately. Day to day memos are a good example. The tips below will help keep your small business records organized.
There is a movement to keep documents electronically whenever possible.
This is not only more efficient in terms of searching for the documents you need at a moment’s notice but also for back up in case of loss, fire, or other disaster that would mean paper documents are destroyed forever.
Concerns are often raised about the safety and security of documents that are stored electronically but there are many IT security measures available to ensure your private business documents stay private.
Electronic storage is especially helpful if you have employees that work remotely or often travel and need access to your important business records.
Once these files are no longer needed, or you upgrade systems, it’s of vital importance to properly destroy these electronic storage devices.
There are many types of originals that, for many reasons, you may want to keep the original hard copies of.
Anything that requires a signature may need to be kept such as contracts for business or employment, at least until the project is complete.
Litigation over any number of possible issues during a project may require contract originals.
Employee paperwork like applications, employment contracts, or tax paperwork should be kept while the employees are on staff and up to 5 years thereafter. This may be mandated by your state’s department of labor or your own internal company policies.
Depending on the type of business you are in, you may have OSHA record keeping requirements that must be met while conducting business including safety logs, MSDS sheets, and on the job injury reports.
Not knowing about these requirements could lead to fines if and when these organizations come to check out your business or if there is some kind incident that requires an investigation.
Storage for hard copy originals should be just as organized as their electronic counterparts, keeping them easily accessible when necessary but secure from prying eyes.
Properly destroying your originals and other hard copy documents when it comes time is also an important step in the document handling, storage and destruction process.
Receipts and Invoices
If your company requires any of your employees to travel, they likely have a whole slew of expense receipts at the end of a trip.
The old fashioned way of turning in receipts can be not only frustrating, but a bit daunting and time consuming for your employees and office staff.
There are many apps and programs available that make this easier and more efficient for you and your employees.
Business records related to travel are easy to organize with the technology available.
If there is ever a question of payments or financials, it is vital to have copies of the invoices and payments made to help answer any questions and ensure all your books are on point!
Technology is an amazing thing and can help with many of the issues you may be having with business record organization.
Expensify is a great free app to help with receipts and expenses. It helps to create the expense report for you so there is less mundane paperwork to complete.
Vault is a more complex way to help with drawing revisions if your business revolves around drawings of projects or custom products that require knowledge of when revisions are made, who made them, and what they were.
There are many apps available to track contract revisions that may come in handy for other documents as well. The technology you ultimately choose depends on your needs and what works best for you and your business.
Keeping your small business records organized is an important part of running a successful business, and with today’s technology, it has never been easier! Contact us today to see how we can help with any record destruction needs!