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How to file paperwork properly

Offices today rely on computers and electronic storage more than ever before. However, regardless of this, there will always be paperwork to file. Receipts, bills, contracts, manuals, legal documents, and tax files should all be organized and filed properly.
Filing paperwork properly is important for a number of reasons. When your papers and documents are organized, you know exactly where to go to find them in the event you need to pull them up. It also eliminates the need for rummaging through stacks of papers and desk drawers to find what it is you're looking for. In addition, it is also important for security purposes-social security numbers, account numbers, and other information could be compromised if not filed properly and securely.

The following tips will help you to get your paperwork organized and filed correctly:
1. Get a filing cabinet. If you don't already have one, purchase a filing cabinet. You can get them in vary sizes, from just one or two drawers to five or six. Consider space restrictions and the ease of moving before you purchase one: when they're filled with files, filing cabinets are much heavier than they look. The filing cabinet should also have a lock system in place, with either a key or preferably a code for unlocking it.

2. Organize drawers and folders. For papers that require a lot of space, such as patient profiles, designate an entire drawer or cabinet for that. From there, file each chart or profile alphabetically. You could also organize your folders alphabetically by client, and then have subfolders in each of those. It's also a good idea to have folders for accounting, bookkeeping, contracts, memos, and other pertinent information.
3. Keep baskets. An In Basket and Out Basket is a good way to organize paperwork that needs to be addressed. Put items waiting for review or approval, bills, or anything else that needs your attention in the in basket. Everything to be filed should be put in the out basket. If you deal with a lot of paperwork or if your IN Box is becoming too cluttered, you may even have a basket for To be Filed items as well.
4. Use a shredder. If a document needs to be discarded, make sure you use a shredder instead of just tossing it in the wastebasket or recycle bin. This is much more secure than putting documents into a wastebasket or recycle bin.
5. Back up your files. It's still a good idea to back up your files electronically, in the event of water or fire damage or any other type of loss or accident. It may be a tedious task, but if you make it a habit to scan all documents into the computer and then save them as you get them, it will be less daunting than trying to scan and save a stack of papers later. In addition, you will also want to organize your computer files into folders and subfolders. It's also a good idea to back up these files onto a CD or flash drive, particularly important documents or legal documents.

No matter what your line of work is, paperwork is just part of the job. Keeping an organized system of filing in place is both responsible and necessary. You never know when you might need to pull a file, so it's important to have a proper filing system in place.

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