A document management system allows you to organise important information, making it easy to access and share. A sound document management system is easy to use, secure and devoid of unnecessary files.
If you or your employees regularly access documents, creating an organised system is essential. This is especially true if multiple people add or save files to the system. Creating a standard digital filing system enables you to easily find older documents, gather related files quickly, and even train new employees faster.
Here are a few tips to make sure your document management process works well for your organisation:
5 Tips on How to Organise Your Document Management Process
- Create a single root folder for all files
- Use subfolders
- Be specific and descriptive
- File as you go and backup regularly
- Declutter files frequently
Create a single root folder for all files
Make sure all your files are saved in the same root folder. For most people, using Windows' "my documents" works fine. You can even create a "shared files" root folder if your company relies on access to information from multiple workstations. A single root folder ensures that your documents don't get lost on your computer.
Don't be shy about using folders. Add folders within folders for easier access. For example, your folders could look something like this:
Financial>, 2019, 2020, 2021>Invoices>A-H, I-P, Q-Z, Overdue
Creating subfolders makes it easier to find a specific document. Choose an organisation system that works best for your organisation and provide your employees with clear instructions to manage and maintain them.
Be specific and descriptive
When you're naming files, be descriptive and specific. When possible use names, dates and always the same structure. Calling the files with particular names will let you quickly scan the file names, so you don't have to open individual files to see if it's the one you need.
If you're sharing files, add extra detail to ensure anyone accessing the files knows what they're opening. For example: JaneSmith_invoice001_10-20_overdue. When someone sees this file, they'll know the customer's name, the invoice number, when the invoice was created, and that it's overdue.
Note: Organise your files in a way that's most convenient for you. Consider how you access the files, which folders you access most often and organise them so you can find the ones you need quickly.
File as you go and backup regularly
If your goal is to keep your workspace tidy, maintenance is critical. Put files where they belong as you go. Instead of saving many files to the desktop and then moving them to their proper place later, file them where they need to go right away. It might take an extra few seconds to do it right the first time, but it's a lot easier than filing 20 files in different locations at one time.
Declutter files frequently
Set aside a few minutes each week to look over your files and make sure everything is where it should be. Don't delete old business files unless you know you'll never need them again. Instead, create an inactive or archive folder where you can relocate old files. Keep the archive folder organised by topic and date so you can conveniently retrieve old information when needed. Consider this part of your weekly general administrative tasks.
You may find that you need to add or consolidate folders as time moves on. Regular upkeep will ensure this process only takes a few minutes.