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Systems and Record Keeping - blog

Having it all close to hand

I recently talked about your need for keeping records for the tax department (Blog No 131 - Keeping Financial Records) but besides your legal requirements it is worth considering what other documents you may need to hang onto.  You might also want to think about whether you are keeping your records securely as protecting the privacy your staff, customers and suppliers is also a legal requirement.  Keeping some documents handy can also make your own life much easier.

I have what I term my company Bible (no disrespect intended).  It contains contact details for all of the current staff, what their work hours are, which sites they work at, contact details for all of our current customers including after hours contacts, details of our large insurances, pension fund details, company registration certificate copies.  I also keep a small chart on the wall next to my desk with staff birthdays, current pay rates,  job numbers and pension rates.  I use this book and chart at least once a day for work.  Having all of these things handy means that I don’t need to scramble around trying to find information to complete a payroll, contact a customer or supply insurance details for quotations.  It just makes my life easier.  Much of this information is available in other formats on my computer, my phone or in a file but, by having it all in one place means its a time saving device for me.  What you put in your own Company Bible is entirely reliant upon what sort of information you need to access frequently.  Maybe you need to include swatches of samples or supplier price lists and order codes.  Maybe you need more information about abbreviations or terminology for your particular business.  Maybe you need details of your wholesalers or sales reps.

Nearly all of our paperwork and administration is done by me but we still have an operational manual.  If I get sick or am not available for some reason there is at least an outline of what needs to be done.  If a customer hasn’t paid an invoice there are instructions about what we do to chase up the payment.  If we need to check our bank accounts there are details of the account numbers and how to access the information.  If we have any issues with suppliers there is an outline of how we handle disputes.  Keeping all of this information may seem unnecessary and much of the time it is (thankfully).  There may also be some things that you don’t need to do that often (like end of year tax information for your staff).  Annual jobs can be awkward because they’re not something you do routinely so having the details of what you remember can be such a time saver (and a sanity saver).  If you don’t have an operational manual its worth thinking about starting one.  Think about if you wanted someone to take over your job.  What sort of information would they need to know?  Keeping it all in your head may work for now but imagine what you could achieve if you could free up that space!

Till next time,

Sarah-Jane X

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