The art of placing information in a logical order, more prosaically called organization, is key to the efficiency of your business, which can in turn increase productivity. Fortunately, you can master the art of organization by making habits out of simple techniques. Here are suggestions.
- Organize your tax records. Create a filing system to collect the documentation needed to take advantage of tax breaks, such as credits for hiring certain workers and accelerated depreciation methods for business assets. For example, for asset purchases, retain receipts, and make sure the details include the type of equipment, the date and amount of the purchase, the date you began using the equipment, and a schedule of additional related costs, such as set-up costs, that might be eligible for capitalizing. For ordinary deductible business expenses, such as car expenses, travel costs, professional magazines, meeting and association fees, and seminar and training expenses, establish an electronic or paper filing system to store receipts.
- Organize your electronic records. Is your email cluttered with so many messages you don’t know where to look for what you need? Aim to make your inbox hold only the current day’s emails. Delete non-critical emails. Electronically sort critical messages into folders to eliminate time-wasting searches. To reduce the daily deluge, cancel automatic messages that are no longer useful.
- Organize your paper records. Are your file cabinets – the ones that hold real paper – stuffed to overflowing? Review and shred outdated documents. If the information might be needed later, scan it into computer files. Consider using document management software. Organize your desk by shredding documents with sensitive information and scanning older papers into computer files. The most efficient method is to scan, file, and shred as soon as you are finished with a document. If you don’t have time, consider assigning document organization to specific employees and making it a task to be completed on a daily basis.
- Organize your future. Address succession planning for your critical employees well before a crisis occurs. Document daily responsibilities, skills needed to complete essential tasks, and the location of all paper and electronic files. Appoint and cross-train backup staff.
You’re already busy, and you may believe that organizing your records will take more time than you have. But think about why you feel as though your day is overloaded. Is one reason because you’re spending your efforts searching through a disorganized office? In that case, mastering the art of organization may save you not only time, but money as well. Contact us for more suggestions.