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October 14 2014. Running a small business warrants huge responsibilities regarding client, employee, and entity paperwork and files. Losing order results in a loss of efficiency and business success.

Make a system of addressing your paperwork by considering the following. Create major categories broken into smaller sub groups, and maintain related paperwork in labeled folders.

Accounting and Bookkeeping

These documents, including sales and expense sheets, income statements, profit and loss balances, etc, need placement in a file or folder labeled ‘accounting and bookkeeping forms.’

Accounting and bookkeeping are everyday business requirements. Consider using online applications and accounting software that helps manage folders and gives multiple employees instant access to resources.


Small businesses need loans for added personnel and equipment. Banking records, including statements, deposit slips, reconciliation records, and related information, need placement in ‘banking’ folders.

Most bank relations take place digitally, yet business owners maintain important documents in-house in addition to using document translation services that privately turn physical documents into lasting digital resources.


Old, pending, existing, and new contracts address and outline client needs. Contracts include real estate licenses, purchase agreements, sales agreements, and joint venture contracts. Place such documents in ‘contract’ folders.

In addition to in-house personnel, leverage the assistance of a legal counselor or business lawyer who assures all legal obligations are met regarding business literature and contracts.

Corporate Records

Small outfits host partnership agreements and LLC licensing while larger corporations maintain bylaws, state filings, and records related to shareholder information and payouts. Such records need placement in ‘corporate records’ folders.

This is another area necessitating the assistance of legal counsel. Before you sell the first product or have a consumer sign a service agreement, you need to establish your business with the city, state, etc.

Employee Records

Completed applications, employee handbooks, attendance records, W-2 forms, and related documents belong in an ‘employee’ folder, ready for immediate retrieval, employee reviews, and human resources.

Smaller businesses don’t have the benefit of a human resources department, but may leverage third-party services or part-time employees with HR experience.

Intellectual Property Records

Your business may produce one-of-a-kind products and necessitate trademark applications, copyright filings, non-disclosure agreements, and more. These records need placement in ‘intellectual property records’ folders.

Find literature at the US patent and trademark office for more information. Filing gets complicated and meticulous, so ask someone with experience for additional help.

Filing and Labeling

Of course, placing the above documents in designated folders works well given an efficient labeling system. Whether using filing cabinets, mobile file folders, or a storage room, folders need clear labels for fast and easy retrieval.

The Dymo Label Writer 450 produces crystal-clear, legible labels in minutes without the expense of costly inks and toner. Folders are only as good as the overarching filing and label system.

In addition to a folder system and efficient way to label, the frequency of attending to maintaining order is essential. Designate an employee or allocate an hour or more of workweek time toward ensuring the categorization system is working at optimal capacity.

Jemma Bratton has several years of office management experience under her belt. An avid writer, she enjoys enlightening others by sharing her insights. You can find her helpful posts on many of today's business and office websites.

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