It’s the end of the year, and it’s time to take a closer look at your files, projects, and important documents and close out the old year with a bang.
One of the best ways to cut down on clutter and avoid the avalanche of papers we seem to accumulate throughout the year is to schedule a yearly file purge (if you’re ambitious, you might even consider doing this more often!). Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Review active files and projects. Your active files should contain items such as current contracts, current projects you are working on and other important information you keep on your clients or customers. Make sure everything is up-to-date and, if not, you have a process to renew contracts or other agreements for the coming year.
- Clean out your email files. You’ve kept a lot of correspondence throughout the year. Now it’s time to go back and delete or archive all those emails that are no longer relevant to your current projects. (I humbly admit that I don’t do this as often as I should, but I am still encouraging you to get it done!)
- Delete duplicate electronic files. Chances are you have several copies or iterations of various documents as the progressed from “draft” to “final” stages. Those earlier versions are just taking up space and most likely are no longer necessary to keep. It’s time to hit the “delete” button!
- Collect all relevant tax and business documentation. You know tax season is right around the corner. Now is the time to start pulling all that information together. Remember, too, that you will need to keep many of these documents for at least 7 years – just in case the IRS decides to audit your business.
- Archive and store older files. To cut down on office clutter, consider archiving those files of customers or clients you haven’t worked with for over a year. You may want to put those files into 2 categories: old projects that were “one and done” and the project is completed, and projects that are intermittent/dormant but could be revived in the coming year.
- Back up your computer and email files. While this is something that you should be doing all year long, now is an excellent time to take one final backup and store the files for safe keeping. It will give you a great snapshot of your business and will be a good starting point should anything happen.
One last step…
Now that you’ve purged your files and are ready for 2019, take the time to set up an efficient filing system for the coming year. This includes labeling physical folders and files as well as setting yourself up for success electronically. If you do it now, you will save time during your next file purge!
Need help sharpening your Business Edge in 2019? Give us a call at 732.859.8419.