Online document storage is increasingly becoming an integral part of any company offering accounting and/or bookkeeping services. It offers a sense of security to the small business owner because hard copies can easily be damaged or misplaced, and a way to store files long term without having to invest in additional filing space for the physical files. But it’s not enough to just store all of the files in a database as it will cause problems when it comes time to review or retrieve them. Having a system in place to organize and archive files will prove to be a big help to businesses in the years to come.

Although it is becoming very easy to store accounting and bookkeeping related files online, it is important to store them properly in order to minimize the hassle of searching through archives when a file is needed. It is also important to know which files to have on hand. Here are some ideas to help provide a better understanding of proper file storage.

Avoid problems early on by implementing an organized Online Document Storage system where files can be easily stored, accessed, and collaborated on in one convenient location. A good place to start would be to understand which documents are required to be on hand as per the law, and follow up with an efficient organization strategy.

  • Required files will include any current year files and may include one or two years previous. It is a good idea to have data from recent periods on hand in case it is needed.
  • Get in the habit of saving or uploading files directly after they were used to avoid damaging or misplacing them. Give individual files distinct names and include a date for better reference.
  • Use folders for each contact or job in order to separate files. Using a Document Management System such as one offered by LedgerDocs would allow the creation of multiple folders in a single location for better organization.
  • Don’t worry about running out of space for filing; save everything from receipts to multi-paged reports if they were used in the course of business and do not delete old files because you think they are of no use. Instead archive them in the system so they can be accessed as needed.

Using a cloud storage system will allow access to files at any time or location, but without being organized it may be extremely difficult to retrieve all of the files required. This could lead to additional problems down the road when there is a need to retrieve files from a certain year or specific job. There are also the legal complications that may arise with respect to destroying records and documents. These problems can be avoided with the simple solution of archiving the files online, in and organized and efficient manner.

Justin Ryan is a freelance writer of accounting related topics and often contributes to LedgersOnline Inc. bookkeeping services blog and LedgerDocs.