1.1: Why Should A Business Have A Good Filing System?
Filing means keeping documents in a safe place and being able to find them easily and quickly. Documents that are cared for will not easily tear, get lost or dirty. A filing system is the central record-keeping system for a business. It helps you to be organised, systematic, efficient and transparent. It also helps all people who should be able to access information to do so easily.
It is always a pleasure when someone looks for something and is able to find it without difficulties. In a business you work in groups. You receive and send out documents on different subjects. You need to keep these documents for future reference. If these documents are not cared for, you cannot account for all your business’s activities. Everyone who needs to use documents should know where to get them.
Important things to know about paper based documentation filing:
What do you file?
You file documents that are sent to you by other people or businesses. You also file records of all your business’s activities. These can be letters, memos, reports, financial records,policy documents, etc.
When do you file?
This depends on how busy your office is. In very busy businesses filing is done at least every day and usually first thing in the morning. In a small or less busy office you could file once or twice a week.
Equipment used for filing
- Filing Cabinet.
- it is used to keep flat files and suspension or hanging files.
- Steel Cabinet.
- It is used to keep big files that need to be locked up.
- Date Stamp.
- It is used to date stamp documents that are received on daily basis so that they are filed in chronological order and so you have a record of when you received the document.
- It is used to record files taken out and files returned.
- Filing shelves.
- It is used to file box files.
- Box file.
- This is a big file that is used to keep big documents that cannot go into a filing cabinet. They are kept in shelves.
What files are used and how are they used?
- Clip folders.
- They are used for documents that need to be taken out very often; they hold documents tightly so that they do not fall out.
- Paper or cardboard folders are used to keep loose documents together. The folders are placed inside suspension or box files.
- Suspension file.
- The suspension files are used to keep documents in filing cabinets. The files are put into the drawers upright. The suspension files hang down from the cradle. These files always remain in the cabinets but folders inside them can be taken out.
- Box files.
- They are used to keep big documents including magazines and books.
- Lever arch files.
- Documents are kept firm in these files and allow one to look at documents without taking them out of the file.
Methods of filing: There are 5 methods of filing:
- Filing by subject/category e.g. invoices, contracts.
- Filing in alphabetical order, e.g. a ,b, c, …
- Filing by numbers/numerical order, 101/2/3, 1.2.3.
- Filing by places/geographical order, e.g. Gauteng, Rosebank, Wynberg, etc.
- Filing by dates/chronological order, e.g. 1 Jan, 1998.
- These ways of filing is called classification and means organising things that are alike, together. You can, however, combine some of these methods. according to date order.
- For example, files that are kept together according to what they are about are subject filing but inside each file the documents could be filed
Paper based documentation is classified, sorted and recorded according to established requirements. information is stored in the correct location and sequence and the learner understands the effect that misfiled documentation has on an organisation.