How to maintain good and effective filing system in your office ?

The word record denotes any written data that are made for possible future use. Filing is a form of record keeping process. Filing provides a means for preservation of business records. The systematic arrangement and keeping of business correspondence and records so that these may be found and delivered when needed for future reference, is called1 filing. According to Leffing Well "Filing is the process of so arranging and sorting original records or copies of them, that they can be readily located when required." The word record keeping and filing should not be viewed synonymous. The former is concerned with maintenance of books of accounts, proper sorting of records and easy availability of records. Thus record keeping is a comprehensive term and include filing.

Filing is very important for a business firm because sometimes due to certain legal restrictions certain documents are preserved, sometimes a reference is made to previous records and letters. All the future planning is done on the basis of past records. Because of all these reasons a systematic preservation of records becomes necessary.

Essentials of Good Filing

A filing system is termed as good filing system when the wants of the organization from it is accomplished. There is no ideal system of filing. However a good filing system possesses the following characteristics :

1. Minimum Misfiling

This is an important feature of good filing system because the chief difficulty is not in filing but in finding. Misfiling causes delay in locating the desired document and hence follow up steps will be taken to prevent misfiling.

2. Compactness

The filing system should be compact as far as practicable and it should make best utilization of the available floor space because now-a-days office space is costly.

3. Simple

The system of filing should be simple so that it can be easily understood. It should not involve elaborate procedure and complicated functions.

4. Economical

Filing system should be economical in time, space, money and operation. Use of special equipment sometimes brings economical in the use of space. Filing and locating letters should take less time.

5. Flexible

The filing system should be elastic and as such it can meet the future expansion and contraction. There should be sufficient scope for expansion of filing system. When the records of the business increases, the filing system should have the capacity of future expansion,

6. Safely

A good filing system should ensure proper safety of the documents. Safety of documents from insects and fire is of greatest importance to the organization.

7. Easy location

A good filing system should ensure easy location of records at the time of need. Location of records should not involve much expenditure and delay in finding.

8. Classification

A good filing system should be accompanied by a proper system of classification otherwise the primary purpose of filing will be lost.

9. Cross reference

A good filing system should facilitate cross reference of letters.

10. Retention

A good filing system is one which maintain live records for a particular period of time and dead records destroyed. So a good filing system should have a sound retention policy.