The word filing simply denotes keeping of the records in files. Keeping letters in the file is considered to be one of the most important function of record management. Filing is the process of keeping the records of a business for future reference. It is the systematic arrangement and keeping of business correspondence and records so that these may be found and delivered when needed for future reference. It brief the word filing denotes sorting, arranging and storing records to ensure their quick location.
The success of a business largely depend on the good filing system because it acts as a tool in the hands of the management. A good filing system is not only concerned with storing of records but also concerned with their systematic arrangement so that these can be used for future reference. A good filing system increases efficiency in operation, helps in formulating company policies and provides a protection to valuable records.
Methodical and scientific arrangement of files becomes necessary for quick location of file broadly, there are two methods of classification of records like
(a) Chronological classification.
(b) Subject matter classification.
Under this method of classification of records, records are arranged chronologically. This gives emphasis on arrangement of records on the basis of happening of events or occurrence. It does not bring together the information of similar nature and thus gained less importance on classification of records. This method of classification is known as time-based classification.
Under this method of classification letters are filed on the basis of subject. Subject-wise classification may be of two types like classification on the basis of main subject and classification on the basis of minor subject. Since subject-wise classification bring together the information of a letter, this method of filing is mostly used.
Besides the above classification, a number of methods of classification are inforce of the present time.
1. Alphabetical Classification
Under alphabetical method, documents are classified on the basis of first letter -of the name. Sometimes files are maintained on the basis of first letter of the surname. When the name or surname is taken into account it is called filing by name.
2. Numerical Classification
Under this each letter or document received is allotted a number and all the letters on the said number are placed on that file. For example, if X a customer of the business is allotted a number ‘100’. So all the letters received from X will be kept in file number 100. Numerical filing is maintained under three ways :
(a) Consecutive filing
(b) Deway decimal system
(c) Terminal digit system
Under consecutive filing, files are arranged in strict numerical sequences that is from 1 onwards. Under deway decimal system each number indicates one subject. This method is mostly in operation in libraries. Under terminal digit system the first terminal digit is taken to be digit in unit place and second terminal digit is tens place and numbers are here read from right to left. For instance one wants to locate folder number 30100 reference will be made to 00 then 01 and 3.
3. Alpha-Numerical Filing
This method is a combination of alphabetical and numerical classification. Under this documents are filed alphabetically by name or subject. Each file is allotted a number to give exact location of the file.
4. Geographical Classification
Geographical classification is applied where the perational area of the business is large. Under this files are arranged on the basis of geographical territories served. So this system of classification takes into account the geographical territories along with areas of the correspondent. It may be done state- wise, district-wise or territory-wise.