What was your biggest stress factor when it came to filing your 2011 Taxes?  Was it how your paperwork was filed?  No matter whether you are filing physical papers or computer paperwork, it is important that you have a system that is easy for you to work in. 

Organizing your paperwork is not rocket science and I have found that most businesses make it much more complicated than it needs to be.  Before the first quarter of 2012 passes you by, make sure that you fine-tune your paperwork filing system and avoid the chaos and stress of years past.  Here are some quick and easy tools that can save you time:

First – Go through your files and purge, purge, purge!  Really, if you haven’t used it in years – get rid of it.  (Except your tax paperwork if you are a business owner).

Second – Look at what area caused you the most stress and how you can fix your problem.  Your solution doesn’t have to be complicated and have a ton of steps involved.  Keep your solution simple to ensure success.

Third – Take a second look at your filing system and find the missing piece or pieces that keep you from being totally organized. 

Fourth – What files do you use the most?  Keep them front and center on the top of your desk – or at least somewhere close by.  This will save you time from having to get up and down and into a filing cabinet.

Fifth – Only print out information that you absolutely need to print!  If it is something that you would like to refer to later file it away in an appropriate file on your computer.  Not only does printing everything out cause an abundance of paperwork that you may not be sure how to handle, but it is also costing you a ton of money in paper and ink every month!

It is 2012.  Now is the perfect time to get your act together and find systems that work for you and your personality.  There is no right or wrong way to organize your files.  Really!  The three basic systems are to file: Alphabetical order, Numerical Order or by Month.  None of these systems may be the right system for you though.  The decision about how to file and find your paperwork is very personal.  That is what I absolutely love about working with home-based businesses. 

Another thing to consider is that if you are having your taxes prepared by a CPA and you don’t have your paperwork organized, you are costing yourself and your business a ton of money every year!  I understand that as a business owner, it is imperative that you have a responsible and credible person take care of your taxes every year.  You don’t however, have to pay more than necessary.  When you hand over your files, paperwork and documentation in an orderly manner it will do three things:  make their job easier; save them time and, most importantly, save you money! 

Invest in yourself and your business this year.  Organize Your Paperwork now.                  

Linda Clevenger, Organization Direct     www.organizationdirect.com

Don’t Agonize – Organize