The Basics of Small Business Record Keeping

The Basics of Small Business Record Keeping


In my experience working with entrepreneurs
there seem to be two main camps of people: those that save absolutely everything forever
and those that couldn’t show you yesterday’s receipts if their lives depended on it. Clearly,
neither of these is an effective way of keeping records within your business, so what do you
really need to hang onto and what should you get rid of in an effort to de-clutter and
get organized? Firstly, you absolutely must keep the basics
on hand because you’re required by law to have them. The basics include your primary
business documents such as the articles of incorporation, by laws, and any permits you’re
required to have, your financial and tax information, any business agreements such as contracts
with suppliers or customers or employment agreements with your staff, and legal documents
such as board meeting minutes and records of any decision making and anything else to
prove you’ve met legal or regulatory requirements that apply to you. For everything else that you’re not legally
required to keep on hand, it can get a little trickier to decide what should be saved and
what should be tossed but there are a few times when you definitely need to keep the
files. If you’re involved in any litigation of any type, kep anything that may be relevant
until that litigation is concluded. If your business still relies on the information,
obviously keep it around until it’s no longer useful. If there are regulatory actions underway
that could affect your business or what you need to have around, stay on the safe side
and keep it. After you’ve put a system in place for keeping
track of your records, make sure you’re also doing what’s necessary to keep those records
safe. If you’re holding records that fall under specific categories and need extra care,
like medical records, which must follow HIPAA standards, for example, obviously make sure
to abide by those regulations. For everything else, you should still be sure that your records
are properly secure from things like flood and fire and from theft or just wandering
eyes. If the records are especially important and are in hard-copy form, it’s probably advisable
to make e-copies of everything and make sure that everything is backed up so that you will
never really lose those records should something happen at your office that wipes out the physical
documents and destroys your computer. By carefully crafting a document control strategy,
you’ll be in a much better position with your business in terms of both legal compliance
and organization and efficiency. The sooner you implement such a strategy, the better
off you will be, so don’t wait to get organized or you may find yourself in hot water. A lot of the information for this video came
from an article by Dave Clarke over at the Intuit blog and you can grab the link below
the video if you want it. Now I want to hear from you. What’s your system
for organizing the documents that you need to keep and getting rid of the rest? Are you
super organized or is your record-keeping a mess? Weigh in in the comments section below
and if you’re not already at catecosta.com watching, make sure to head over to the website
to get in on the conversation and sign up for my newsletter so that you never miss any
information that could help your business grow. If you found this video helpful, please spread
the love and like it and share it with anyone who might be interested.

2 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *