4 File Management Best Practices For A Small Business

Small businesses will generate and use documents that should be stored for internal operations, compliance with laws and regulations, or reference by clients. Traditionally, file management involved several filing cabinets. But as technology continues to evolve, file management methods also have improved in the past years. 

Implementing the best file management practices is crucial to ensure that documents remain accessible, secure, and adaptable to your business’s needs. Most importantly, file management plays a vital role in the efficiency of your employees. The more effective your file management methods are, the lesser time and effort employees have to spend finding documents. 

Read more about four file management best practices for small businesses. 

  1. Digitize Documents Using An Office Document Scanner 

Although the use of paper documents might seem cheap upfront, this method might hurt your business in the long run. Continuing to use paper documents will increase your business’s risks to different threats, namely natural disasters, theft, and improper disposal.  

Hence, you may improve your business’s file management by digitizing documents using office document scanners. This practice allows your business to create and maintain a digital archive of confidential files and documents that’s easily accessible when the need arises. Digitizing documents is also eco-friendly, reduces costs, and enhances data security.  

Depending on the number of documents your business generates, you can scan documents the moment they’re received or are being processed. You can also assign someone to scan documents in batches daily, monthly, or annually.  

  1. Follow A System When Organizing Digitized Documents 

Once your documents are digitized, you need to make sure that they’re easy to retrieve. Just as you don’t want to go through several filing cabinets to find one document, you wouldn’t want to exert too much time and effort looking into a cluttered digital archive. 

There are numerous options when it comes to organizing digitized documents. If your documents involve projects by the client’s or company names, you can organize your documents by name. This method is less ambiguous than other organizing methods and will make it easier for you to find the right folder once the client reaches out to you.  

On the other hand, if your business deals with large amounts of documents tied to a certain time, it’s best to organize digitized documents by date, namely per quarter or year. For instance, the documents at hand involve several departments such as a project manager, graphic designer, and writer collaborating on one project. If this is the case, you could start organizing your documents according to projects.  

  1. Communicate Your System To All Of Your Employees 

Carefully organizing all of your documents by date or using the client’s name will be useless if you’re the only person doing it. It might be impossible to maintain organization if most of your staff uses other methods in organizing digitized documents. If this is the case, you might not be able to easily find and access documents. 

Ensure the efficacy of your file management by communicating it to your employees. This usually means holding a company-wide meeting to discuss the system and train employees on how to use it. This is critical, especially if your business has never had any file management system in the past.  

Maximize the meeting as an opportunity to ask for input from your employees. Let them know about how you plan on organizing digitized documents, whether you want to organize them using the client’s name or the date of the project. Also, inquire if this system will work for them.  

After the system is set in place, hold another meeting to train employees on the chosen file management system. Whenever your business welcomes new hires, ensure that they’re trained to use the system, as well. Your file management system will have better chances of succeeding if everyone in the business is on the same page.  

  1. Prioritize The Security Of Your Files 

Thousands of companies suffer from data breaches every year. This incident can happen in minutes but its consequences to businesses are long-term.  

Being a victim of data breaches means loss of intellectual property and revenue for your business. Data breaches can also damage your branding, making it challenging for you to haul in customers and earn profits in the long run.  

Prioritizing the security of your digitized documents should be part of your file management system. If your budget allows it, consider investing in a software program that comes with configurable firewalls, Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology, active directory authentication, and user access permissions.  

Don’t also forget to regularly conduct employee security awareness training. Hackers are harnessing the advancement of technology to steal data easily, and your employees can become a victim if their education on digital security is outdated.  

Improve Your File Management Today 

File management is important for small businesses, so make sure you implement the tips mentioned in this article. Surely incorporating new practices into your small business might be a steep learning curve, but the results will be worth it. 

June McGown