The computer filing system is a great alternative to a physical filing system.
It is the best way to file and store all business documents, or as a personal filing system.
Paperless is popular.
Here I focus on how to use a digital or online system to store all documents relating to the bookkeeping of a business.
The system for saving onto your computer’s hard drive, or saving to an online storage facility are the same – the only thing different is the location.
You will need a scanner for all the physical documents you receive so you can scan and save them onto your digital system.
For smaller receipts you can take a photo of them with your smartphone and load or email them to your computer or online storage provider such as Dropbox, OneDrive or pCloud.
A computer filing system (on your hard-drive or online) contains folders like in this graphic – no doubt you’ve seen them already.
Inside these folders, you can open more folders, and inside those, more folders – so you can have several layers or tiers of folders all with their own names and within those folders you will store your documents, photos and videos.
You can be super organized!
The diagram at the top of this page is a good visual for explaining the computer filing system specifically aimed at organizing your blogging or business financials.
This computer filing system is based exactly on how your data is laid out in bookkeeping software and makes it very easy to find any document you or your bookkeeper require really fast.
So now we get started.
Keep in mind that the example folders provided here are just that... examples, and there is no restriction to how many folders you can open.
Setup your Main folder. Give it a name, perhaps the name of your business.
To open a new folder, start in your Storage location of choice, right click your mouse and click on New > Folder - then name it.
Double click on your new Main folder to get inside it.
Inside the main folder open the following three folders:
Inside the Bookkeeping Documents folder open these five folders:-
Inside these five main bookkeeping folders we need to open more folders - starting to dive deep into this filing system now:-
List folders in alphabetical order – see deductible business expenses for an example listing, and then in those folders file each document using the name of the vendor/supplier.
If you have a big load of expense documents you can manage them more easily by opening files for each month within each expense folder and store the vendor documents in month order.
If you enter invoices into your bookkeeping software using the date of the invoice, file the documents in that same month.
If you enter them into your bookkeeping software at the date you pay them, then enter them into the computer filing system in the month you paid.
Inside the Reports folder you can open sub-folders for whatever reports you will need – the main ones are:
In the General folder you could have folders where you keep:
….. whatever relates to your business that does not directly affect your financial data (meaning whatever is not entered into the bookkeeping software).
Now your computer filing system is ready.
What remains is for you to move your scanned or emailed documents into the folders after you have entered the necessary information into the bookkeeping software.
A computer filing system makes it very quick and easy to search for a document you need.
You simply enter the name of the document you require into the search bar and hit enter on the keyboard.
Your results window should be populated with a list of similar named documents for you to choose from.
As long as you have filed each document with an appropriate name, you will find what you need a lot faster than rifling through a physical/paper business filing system.
You can also check out our business filing system tips for more information on filing papers.