Twelve Flexible File Storage Categories for Your Small Business

 

Categories for File Organization

Records storage may seem an incidental part of your small business operation. But flexibility in records management plays an important role in the scale of your business.  Just think of the smaller space of your offices and how a sudden surge in business means more paper records and the need to fill up your limited space with bulky filing cabinets. File boxes offer a more flexible option, as they can be stacked, stored and transported quickly and easily as your business needs change. Providing a box for each category of your business paperwork also creates a self-contained and highly organized file that can moved to a back office or to off-site storage with ease.

Here are twelve box categories to keep your business nimbly organized.

Accounting

Create and fill this box with sales and expense info including balance sheets and cash flow statements.

Banking

This box contains cancelled checks, bank statements, deposit slips and loan documents

Contracts

Keep all of your business contracts in this box including those for equipment leases and purchase agreements. You may also include work-for-hire contacts joint venture agreements.

Corporate Documents

If your business is incorporated you will need a box for articles of incorporation, bylaws and shareholder records such as minutes and consents.

Business Forms

This box is specially essential for accountants and attorneys who use standards forms daily. You may want to include sales agreements, tax forms, purchase order forms and employee applications here.

IPO

If you work with intellectual property, even on a small scale, you need to stay organized. A box containing trademark applications, patents,  licenses and non-disclosure agreements go in this file.

Marketing and Advertising

If you are promoting your business, you will need to keep records of your marketing brochures, past ads for print and web, press releases and other materials.  You may need to refer back to this file as you continue to market your company to see what produced the best ROI.

Permits and Licenses

The documentation to operate your business needs its own file. Use this box to keep operating permits, business licenses and other documents that you may need quick and easy access to for legal verification.

Are You Storing Half-Filled Boxes? How to Conduct a Box Audit

archiving-documents-with-bankers-box

Evaluating your records room needs, you may realize that many boxes taking up space may be half-filled or even empty. As records get moved around throughout the year, inefficiencies in records management can arise that can consume critical space that can be used by new files and Bankers Boxes. 

A simple box audit is a four step process that helps eliminate wasted records storage space.

Step 1: Separate boxes into two groups: those boxes that need to be retained and those that can be destroyed.

Step 2: Capture details at the file level. What files in the retained boxes are still relevant? The labeled box may need to be retained, but perhaps some of the files inside are no longer needed. Often a box is designated as retained, then at the file level, most of the folders inside end up being shredded, leaving you with an empty box.

Step 3: For files that are retained, consolidate and restructure. You may be able to organize a handful of files from a nearly empty box into a box that has some reserve space. This may require relabeling of retained storage boxes.

Step 4: Destroy all unneeded records.

Using this simple organizing method, one company was able to reduce the volume of records in storage from 7000 cubic feet to only 495 cubic feet!

Not sure how long you should keep records, the IRS has some tips: Records-Keeping for Taxes

Guide for Determining How Bankers Boxes You Need.

How Many Files Fit in a standard Banker’s Box?

Here’s the dimensions and capacity for a standard banker/copy box: 12.5′”W x 15.5′”D x 10.5′”H

Depending on the type of paper and the amount of file folders that you have in each box, you can fit approximately 2000 to 2500 sheets of paper.

 

How Many Bankers Boxes Fit in Storage?

To figure out how many boxes of documents you have, think about this:

If your documents aren’t packed tightly and you have 150 sheets per inch, then you need one standard banker’s box for every 13” to 16” of space on your shelves (round it down to a foot to make it easier).

If you can’t fit one more piece of paper on your shelf, you’re probably closer to 200 sheets per inch.  In that case, you’ll need one standard Banker’s Box for every 10” to 12” of space on your shelves.

How The Best Accountants Increase Productivity Through Organization

accountant with bankers box

 

Back Up Files on Paper

In our digital age, paper documents may seem unnecessary. But digital data can be lost or compromised with the push of a button.

You don’t need to lose office space to giant metal file cabinets. Simple, inexpensive drawer systems can do the job for any small accounting office.

You should keep one complete set of files for your vendors, another for general expenses, and a third for customers. In addition, create a  file for each asset and liability that shows up in your books. And of course, allot some records storage space for tax returns.

Easy Access to All Your Files

Easy access to important documents is essential for any accounting office.  Even if you are just starting out, and do not need the capacity of a drawer system. Easy access lift off lids boxes are an alternative. They can also be easily stacked and are easily accessible if the IRS comes calling.

Let’s say one of your small business clients is selected for audit. The IRS wants to see receipts for travel, meals, and entertainment for the year. Speedy access to backup documents can prevent part of the expense deduction from being disallowed. If this happens that means increases in taxable income, a new tax bill, along with penalties and interest. With the right organization system, those crucial documents are always on hand.

Bankers Box Drawer System.jpg

Drawer Systems Offer Space-Saving File Organization for Small Offices

Preventing Paperwork from Becoming Overwhelming

As your accounting business grows, so will your records storage. The tendency is to try and keep everything. But excess can lead to confusion and disorganization. Maintain a scheduled retention and destruction policy so that only the most essential documents are kept and dated documents destroyed.

Bankers Box Organization.jpg

Maintaining Tax Form Organization and Tax Code Handbooks

The regular use of tax forms means having to keep them both organized and accessible when with a client. File Sorters offer desktop convenience for form management. Magazine Files are also helpful offering easy storage and organization of tax code manuals.

Helpful Links

Document Retention Policy Guidelines

Records Storage for the Green Accounting Office