There are a million and one things to think about when you start up a new business, and one of the furthest from many business owner's minds is the subject of document storage. In an increasing reliance on technology, some companies chose to store their documents online. But, for reasons discussed shortly, a physical document storage will suit you better when starting out. As a new business owner who wants some guidance on where to start when it comes to records management, consider the following three points.
Document Storage From Day One Of Business Trading
It does not matter whether you are starting your business as a sole trader, or if you already have employees lined up ready to work for you. When it comes to document storage, it is imperative you have a system decided upon from the day you start trading.
From the moment you start paying expenses and earning money in your company's name, you have entered the financial tax year. This means you must now make regular returns and declarations to the Australian Taxation Office. While an accountant can help you with these returns, they need accurate information to complete them.
A document storage system means that when it is time to provide this information to your accountant, you know exactly where to find it. Lodging a return without being able to validate the numbers is a costly mistake if you ever come up for a tax audit. Bear in mind too it is an ATO requirement records are kept for five years, so you need a place to keep all this information safe.
What Records Do You Need To Store?
When it comes to deciding what type of records you need to store, basically you need to keep track of anything related to income or expense for your new business. Bank records, invoices sent to customers and wage sheets are all examples of documents that need to be kept ready for the next financial return.
One of the simplest ways to get started here is to purchase some archive boxes. You can get these from stationery stores, the post office and any document storage facility. Label each box with the storage starting date and what is in it. For example, May 2016 to (leave blank) customer invoices. You can then put items into each box once a month, and they are easy to find when it is time to take the information to your accountant.
There are two reasons why this manual storage method is better than an electronic system in the beginning. Firstly, when you store documents manually, you always know where everything is when you physically need to lay your hands on it. Electronically, if the website is down, your computer is playing up, or there's a power cut, you have to wait for access. Who needs this stress when starting a new business? Secondly, it's a cheap storage method. You don't need to outlay for a scanning system or new software for your computer to record the paperwork. All you need is some archive boxes and a place to put them.
Where To Store
Where you physically store your documents is another thought point right now. Will you stack them in your home office? Or, are you better off moving them offsite? The answer depends on how secure your home office is. Do you have young kids who might wander in, rip the lid off your boxes and climb inside? Do you have dogs that just love to shred paper in your home? Do you have limited space and need somewhere safer to keep all these important documents?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, then you need to get yourself a document storage space to house your records. They are far too valuable to be kept anywhere else. Document storage housing is easily organised by paying a visit to your closest document storage facility and signing up for a small storage unit.
These three pointers give you the advice you need to make sure your documents are kept safe and together from day one. Now, it is just up to you to put this information to good use.Share