Trade Hacks: How To Prepare, Maintain And Manage Important Documents

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When managing a business, there are countless things you need to balance all at once. One of the easiest parts of work to let slide is documentation. The idea that there will be time to catch up on the paperwork later is a common one, but it’s almost always false. The following will explore some tips and tricks for handling documentation.

Financial Documents

When it comes to creating and storing documents, financially-related records are some of the most important for a business. Not only do financial records allow business managers to study growth and success and make appropriate changes when needed to help encourage growth and prosperity, but they also are crucial come tax season. Getting caught up in audits and struggling to ensure that you’re covering all your legal bases can be a nightmare if proper precautions are not taken.

Most businesses hire accounting help and also work with a program or software designed to keep everything of this nature together. The most popular software for this is probably Quickbooks, but there are a few options available depending on what industry you’re in. The benefits of Quickbooks and similar programs start with the sheer mass of features, including:

  • Bill management
  • Bill payments
  • Business funding
  • Time/hours tracking
  • Estimates
  • Expenses (batched options available)
  • Invoices (batched options available)
  • Payroll
  • Live bookkeeping
  • Project profitability
  • Advanced reports
  • Tax deductions
  • Tagged transactions
  • Cash flow records
  • Income and expenses
  • Sales and sales tax
  • Mileage tracking
  • Contractors management

All of these elements of your business impact each other, so having software where you can line them up and compare them and make changes in one area and see changes in another allow you to be a responsive and flexible manager, which is needed for a thriving business. Moreover, it makes tax season much easier for everyone involved.

Customer Data

Another important topic for today’s business managers is the collection, storage, and use of customer data. More and more businesses are collecting more and more information on their clients and customers. This data can help them determine target markets, as well as integrate new products and services easily by informing existing customers about new options. Simultaneously, customers are learning more and more about data security and privacy. You might think your business is immune to hackers as you have nothing of interest to cybercriminals, but you would be wrong. Data hacks are everywhere, and they’re only growing in size. Whatever programs or platforms you use to collect this data, however, you organize it, and wherever you store it, security needs to be your number one focus. Even something like a customer’s phone number being stolen could result in that number being sold to scam call centers and that customer being hounded for months on end (or worse, falling for the scam and losing out on more money than they can afford to lose out on). If you’re collecting people’s data, each step of the process needs to be audited for security quarterly. Cybercriminals are always learning and adapting, which means you need to be continually learning and adapting too. It is your responsibility to keep the information you collect safe.

Unify And Consolidate

One of the more frustrating things when it comes to documentation is not being able to find the things you need within the ocean of files you have to sort through. One of the best ways to mitigate this sort of struggle is to unify and consolidate your paperwork on a semi-regular basis. This means combing through the files you have, making sure things are named and stored correctly, and ensuring there are no unnecessary duplicates. Try to eliminate superfluous documents whenever you notice their existence.

Consider Going Paperless

We now have the technology to store things in a digital manner. Not only are digitally stored documents easier to access (anyone with security clearance to reach them can get a hold of them when needed instead of having to send an email and wait for a fax or email with an attachment or whatever, they can get them instantly), but they also are safer from physical damage. Things like fires, floods, earthquakes, and even spilled coffee can result in trouble for physical paperwork. Beyond this, going paperless reduces your impact on the environment and requires less on-site storage space, which means your work environment is less cluttered, which helps soothe anxiety. Going paperless doesn’t have to be an overnight event; it can be a process that takes place over several months as you move one type of document over at a time.

The above tips should help you better manage the documents you need to keep your business thriving. It is also a good idea to speak to those who handle documents on a regular basis about what would make their lives easier.

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