The following document categories are what small businesses must manage, with various storage options available.
Written correspondence has largely given way to electronic messages, including emails. Still, your business attorney may advise you to transmit your legal documents by hard copy and storing same in traditional file cabinets.
You can also electronically copy your documents, using a photocopier to scan and save this information to a hard drive or disk as a back up. Keep this secondary information off site, in a safe place where your copy is not compromised.
Every business has reports to file beginning with the letters of incorporation that were used to form your business. When you filed these documents with the secretary of state, you received a stamped copy in return. These documents are critical to your business and should be readily available to senior management and your accountant.
Among the popular financial reports identified by the AllBusiness.com website are income statements, statement of capital, balance statement and a cash-flow statement. These reports are typically available in both print and electronic form, the latter for easy cloud storage and access online via the company’s website.
Send any message out by email and you have a copy of that document stored on your computer. Many companies have turned to third-party providers such as Google’s Gmail to manage such files.
With GMail and other hosted email services, email messages are stored in the cloud. No need to expand company servers and to expend excess money here. Stored cloud documents are secure and can be retrieved anywhere and at anytime from around the world.
Invoices and Receipts
Paperwork management becomes even more challenging when transactional documents such as invoices and receipts are added to the mix. Quite easily, you are paying bills, filing invoices and offering and receiving receipts on a daily basis.
Record-keeping involving transactional documents can pose a huge challenge to companies of all sizes. One way to ameliorate the problem is to work with your bank to house statements and receipts through the bank’s system. If you run a small shop, such as a convenience store, customer receipts can be stored electronically and retrieved as needed. Contracts can be kept on the premises with electronic backup also made and cloud storage employed.
Your business pays taxes and record of those payments are kept with your accountant. Copies of tax returns, quarterly tax payments and payroll tax statements are also important to your business.
While copies of your documents are kept by your accountant, you can also make electronic backups and store this information in the cloud.
Required documents should be easily retrievable when you need them. Hard copies may be required for most documents, while electronic copies may be sufficient on a case-by-case base. Develop a secure, off-site storage solution, one that makes use of cloud computing for easy documentation retention and retrieval.
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