How To Organize Your Files

How you organize your files is more than useful since you can now work remotely and more importantly have access to files from any device anywhere. The organization does not come easy to all of us so I was prompted to write this article since I’m always helping a client to get them organized.

Structure It

Know your business universe has a structure is important to organizing your computer files to meet this structure in a hierarchy is very important. I typically show clients how to keep their accounting department files so let’s use this as an example but understand it would not be a first tier folder the first tier folder is the name of your company. The second tier will be the department in the company and one of those departments is your accounting department. The third tier you should have sections. Sections are important since it helps you to head in the right place for the document.

Jane Doe & Associates LLC (tier one folder)

Accounting (tier two folder)
Marketing (tier two folder)
Customers (tier two folder)

Financial Statements (tier three folder)
Tax Returns (tier three folder)
Signed W9 & W4 (tier three folder)

Naming Documents

Naming your documents is just as important as where you put them in your cloud or desktop drive. For a financial document, I recommend using the last four digits of the account with the institution’s name along with the type of document followed by the month and year to be a good file name.

Let’s break it down:

(1) 1234 is the account

(2) Chase is the institution

(3) BS means bank statement, CC means a credit card, LOC means line of credit, L means a loan

(4) Statement month and the statement year

For example: 1234_Chase_BS_0118

Putting this sequence allows all the statements to line up with the proper grouping by account number, institution, type statement, month and year. Keep in mind details matter since once I had a client who had a checking account and credit card with the same last four digits. While the odds a rare this could happen so the type statement came in handy in the event the anomaly appears.

Naming Receipts

Another important category to have is for large purchases. While software like QuickBooks online keeps a copy of your receipt with the actual transaction online, I like to have another copy on my cloud drive. So naming these files is just as important so you don’t have to go dumpster diving for them. Naming the receipt right keeps you from having to open the actual file. Here is the name thread recommended: month, day, year_store name_amount.

For example: 011918_Apple Store_$2101.45

A full visual detailed example if you were looking at your files in list format in the cloud or desktop:

Organized Files sample

Now keep in mind a technology advances there are numerous apps and software to help you keep your files organized. Some are more specific than others especially if they sync with our financial software and extend beyond that but your master cloud drive and or desktop file should look something like the above so you can find whatever you need when you need it because how you organize your files can make or break your level of productivity and efficiency. If you are looking for a cloud drive to use consider the options on our resource page.