Paperwork!  We all have it.  But is how we deal with it that matters.

  1. Do you have lots of paperwork in lovely neat piles but in actual fact they not in any order?
  2. Perhaps you have a paperwork carpet where every pile is in order, but needs to be filed?
  3. Otherwise, you do not have any structure at all?

Which of the above 1-3 are you?


Use your IMAGINATION for just one minute – Imagine a streamlined, structured office where you could instantly lay your hands on any piece of paperwork you needed.

Are you imaging?
What does it feel like?



The first thing to do with any paperwork is to Create a Structure or a System which will work for you and your business.

Work out if it your preference is to work with Lever Arch Folders or hanging suspension files in a filing cabinet.

If Lever Arch Folders, make sure you have the space in your office to keep adding folders as your business and paperwork grow.  Organise in a systematic way, i.e. create folders for clients, folders for your accounts, folders for your admin such as logins, written procedures etc.  Use TAB Dividers to separate alphabetically or in date order.

If using a filing cabinet system, then have a drawer to relate to your clients, a drawer for your accounts etc.  Also, this can be divided alphabetically or in date order to suit your needs.



The second thing to do is set up a system for using this new filing Structure or System.

Your preference may be to do your filing as soon as it arrives on your desk OR put into a tray to be dealt with later that day and then filed OR set aside in a tray to be filed at the end of the week at a time scheduled by you.

Whichever the preference will depend on your individual circumstances but must be a procedure which is set up by you and adhered to so that your filing will never build up to a point that you are looking at piles all over your desk or all over your floor.



Finally, re-assess your filing every 3 months.

Don’t forget that your filing system will need to be re-assessed every 3 months.  Why?  Well this will ensure that any files which may no longer be relevant can be archived.

The easiest way to work through is file by file.  Are clients still relevant?  Has your BAS been done for the previous quarter?

Relevant questions to ask yourself.  Do not destroy these files – just archive.  Our next blog post deals with archiving.


If you can follow these simple steps your filing will be reduced as will your piles of paperwork and your stress levels.


Hazel Theocharous, Small Business Support Specialist and owner of Expert VA assists clients regularly with their paperwork overload and offers any readers of this post the opportunity to comment on their current paperwork overload.  By doing so, you can obtain a discount to take your paperwork from a disorganised state to an organised one.