The time to realize how important home business organization is to your overall success is not when you need to find important tax papers or income statements quickly. To avoid problems in the long run, take some time and devise a workable organization and filing system now.
Get a sturdy lockable file cabinet and durable hanging folders. Buy manila folders to tuck inside the hanging folders, and make sure you’ve also got several manila envelopes on hand that you can tuck receipts into and label easily.
Organize your financial papers chronologically, and divide them by types. Sort all your financial papers into piles and stack them chronologically. Be sure you have folders for bank statements, credit information, bill stubs, paycheck stubs, receipts, tax information, real estate papers, investment papers, insurance policies and statements, loan agreements and any other financial papers in separate hanging folders. Further divide your tax information by year. Include tax returns, receipts, copies of W-2s, 1099s and other pertinent tax information. Divide the bill stubs by the companies they represent and divide real estate papers by mortgage documents, home improvement receipts, second mortgages and so forth.
Important documents such as savings and certificate of deposit passbooks, car titles, stock certificates and yearly Individual Retirement Account, pension and profit-sharing statements should be kept in a safe deposit box, along with any vital records and valuables.
Make sure to keep on top of your inbox, especially your bills that need to be paid. Put them in a separate place where they are easily seen and handy.
When purging documents from your filing system, be sure to hang on to tax paperwork for at least seven years, and other financial documents for three years.
Financial planning software for your computer is available, and most are very user-friendly. Some include online banking functions. If you decide to utilize this, be sure to back up your data on a regular basis.
If you make a commitment to keep on top of your filing and organization system continually, you’ll benefit when the time comes to locate those important documents necessary for your continued success. If you don’t, the paperwork monster will easily overwhelm you again and could mean trouble for your business.