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How Can I Keep Records In Order?

How Can I Keep Records In Order?

Keep careful records for both business purposes and personal reference. Whether you store records on paper or by electronic means, organize the information clearly and neatly, and in such a way that you can easily refer to it.

Setting Up a Filing System
Arrange information into general categories. If necessary, subdivide the information in each category. For example, subdivide a banking ile by each account that you have. Enter all information in chronological order, with the most recent items at the front of a file.

Labeling & Grouping

• Identifying contents Label files dearly with a general subject and the different categories within the subject.
• Color-coding files Use a different-colored file for each subject, so that you can identify files at a glance.
• Labeling shelves If you keep magazines or pamphlets that do not show their titles on their spines, group the items by title, and label the shelves underneath each title.

Making a Container For Hanging Files

Find a wooden box that will hold hanging files. Mark the width of a file on the front and back of the box, near the top edges. Drill holes at the marks, and cut these into slots. Fit lengths of dowel into them.

Place the files in the box so that they hang from the dowels. Leave the box open for easy access, or add a cover to protect the files. Label the front of the box clearly to indicate the contents.

Organizing Data
• Grouping data for vehicles Keep a file for each vehicle. At the front, insert a sheet of paper giving the make, age, registration number, and date of purchase. Include all tax and insurance documents, and receipts for repairs.
• Keeping data for pets Keep a photograph of each pet, and record its breed, identification marks, and distinctive physical features. Include insurance documents, veterinary data, and any breed certificates.
• Labelling floppy disks Attach an adhesive label to each disk. Note the general category of information on the disk and, if there is room, the name of each file or folder.

Filing On A Computer
• Cleaning a hard drive Check your hard drive regularly, and remove any files and software programs that you do not use. This will free up memory for recent or important data.
• Tidying folders Delete all unnecessary documents. If you wish to keep copies, print them out and file them with the rest of your papers.
• Recording file names If you use coded names for files, keep a list of the codes and real names in a safe place.
• Storing letters Do not keep copies of letters on your hard disk. For maximum space on the computer, photocopy the printed letter once you have signed it, and file the copy.

Keeping Important Data
Protect information such as financial records, legal documents, and confidential business data. Organize files and information carefully so that you have easy access to all of the material. Keep the most sensitive information in a secure place such as a coded file, a safe, or a bank.

Storing On Paper
• Storing receipts Keep files to hold receipts for valuable items. Set up one file for office equipment, and make another for household objects. You can then refer to the receipts if you need to value an object or prove your ownership. File any guarantees together with the relevant receipts.
• Keeping hard copies File a hard copy of every important document on your computer, in case the machine breaks down or is stolen and you cannot retrieve the documents.
• Using an address book List people in an address book or card index using only their initials and surnames. This will protect people’s privacy if the information is lost or stolen.

Using Floppy Disks
Keeping copies of files Store copies of essential files on floppy disks. Put die disks in a lockable box. Keep the box in a secure place, away from heat and magnetic sources that could damage the disks.

Collect business cards in a small photograph album for quick and easy reference. Either file them alphabetically by surname or company name or categorize them by profession.

Record Keeping-

Keeping Data Secure
• Storing vital facts Make a list of data such as the numbers and expiration dates of your credit cards and the numbers of your bank accounts and insurance policies. File the list in a secure place.
• Encoding data To keep information safe from other people, encode it in a way that you will easily understand.
• Storing copies Keep two copies of essential documents in separate safe places. This way, you will always have a backup if the original, or one of the copies, is lost.
• Depositing with a lawyer Leave important information, such as the location of your will and the combination of a safe, with your lawyer.

Ensuring Maximum Security
Keep valuable business and legal documents in a highly secure place such as a safe or a bank. Keep a list of any items that you store in such places.
• Choosing a personal safe If you wish to have easy access to documents or objects, install a safe in your home or office. Choose a safe that is not small enough to be stolen easily, and attach it securely into a wall or floor.
• Storing in a bank Use a safe-deposit box in a bank if you need documents or objects to be well guarded and safe from fire. Your access to them will be limited to the bank’s working hours, so check these in advance. You should take identification, such as a passport, with you.

Organizing Finance
• Monitoring your budget Keep up-to-date files of your recent spending and allocate space for planning ahead.
• Keeping receipts Save receipts for credit cards and carbons for deposit slips so that you can check them against bank statements.
• Studying statements When a bank statement arrives, check each entry against your credit card receipts, checkbook, and carbons for deposit slips. Notify the bank immediately if you find any errors.
• Saving money Open separate savings accounts for different purposes. For example, have one for emergencies and one for treats such as vacations.
• Managing financial matters Take a bookkeeping course to learn how to organize your accounts and deal with taxes.

Safeguard Tip
When you receive a replacement credit card, cut the old one into small pieces immediately. Throw the pieces into different garbage cans to make sure that the card cannot be reconstructed. Always sign a new credit card as soon as you receive it.

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Category: Planning And Organizing

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