As you ponder your new year’s goals, are your files a hurdle to achieving your ambition? Does the annual experience of boxing files, ongoing filing, or “what to dos” to the files, have you grinding your teeth? With her many years of helping clients, Nancy Fierro, owner of BookKeeping Express, gives her insight on simplifying the procedure.
Fierro recommends filing be a daily or weekly routine, and has some quick tips on keeping files organized for the future:
1. Use color coding with your folders. Keeping the system simple will help you keep it maintained.
2. Determine main categories for labeling your folders.
3. File the papers in the folders and place in the appropriate categories.
4. Once the filing system is set up, do the filing at least once a week. Don’t allow the papers to continuously pile up. If everything is put in it’s place once a week, there won’t be large piles of papers to go through from time to time.
5. Get some help if possible from either a family member or hire a helper. If funds are available and/or the task at hand is very large, consider hiring an organizing consultant.
For keeping files safe, Fierro counsels on using fire safe file cabinets with locks. To save space and paper, go green by scanning all of your files. Use a back up drive to back up files. “Neatdesk Scanning device is a real neat tool that can help you keep your records stored.” Says Fierro.
The best way of disposing of files is definitely shredding them. “There are shredding service companies available for bulk shredding,” explains Fierro. Files should be kept for at least 7 years, the period of limitations that the return has run out. IRS reference for more information on how long files should be kept is: http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/article/0,,id=98513,00.html
“Along with having experience in the financial services, make sure the bookkeeper is insured and bonded,” Nancy Fierro advices on hiring a professional to help. For business owners she continues, “When picking out a bookkeeper, make sure they are willing to work with you, by keeping the business owners informed of their financials and understanding the company’s performance.”
Nancy Fierro has been a Controller for 15 years, has set up operation procedures and financials process for franchised hotels operated by various management company, such as Marriotts, Hiltons, Doubletree and the Sheratons. For more information on her services visit www.bookkeepingexpress.com
By Monica Pena
Austin Times Staff