Bonfire, Cold Storage or the Clouds? Client File Management

Open File CabinetWhich choice is best for those old client files?  No one wants bad memories hanging around! Old client files can be a reminder of a loss and take up valuable space.  So what do you do with those old client files that are sitting around your office?  No, you can’t just throw them out… as much as you might want to!  You do need to keep the files for tax and legal reasons for a few years.  For more tax information click on the link to the IRS website.

Here are some things you can do move those old client files from a prime location and to lessen the space they take up. Whether you make the decision to store a paper file or scan and keep the information in an electronic file (in the cloud), there are some steps that need to be taken:

  1. Determine what types of things need to be kept:
    1. Signed contracts and other legal documents
    2. Emails/letters to and from the client
    3. Notes from meetings and/or conversations
    4. Invoices/Statements
    5. Anything that might be needed if there are legal issues in the future
    6. Remove what you don’t need from the client file, then toss it in the shredding or recycle bin. (Be sure to protect client confidential information and privacy by shredding)
  2. Prepare the file for the method of storage you will be using:
    1. Keeping paper files:
      1. Box up the files by the year and clearly mark the box. Include the date that the file box can be shredded.
      2. Put the box in a secure location that is dry and protected from dirt/rodents/pets.
      3. Keep a running list of what is in the boxes and their disposal dates.
    2. Converting paper files to electronic:
      1. Scan each client file into a well labeled electronic file folder.
      2. Make backup files of the electronic files or have off-site electronic secure storage in case of theft or fire/flood.
      3. Have a system for deleting files once they are no longer needed.

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About susan

Virtual Assistant and Social Media Manager - Reducing the Chaos of business and social media management.
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