The filing function should be organised in such a way that it helps in proper maintenance of records. It is important to note that the records should be made available whenever required. The office manager has to decide whether the filing should be centralized or decentralized Centralized Filing and Decentralized Filing both have their own merits and demerits.
1. Centralized Filing System:
It is a system where all records relating to the various departments of a concern are filed at one place or in the central office. In other words, individual departments or sections of an organization do not do the filing of records.
Merits of Centralized Filing System
1. It is put under the control of specialists and this facilitates more efficiency.
2. Space available is used economically.
3. There will be an effective control over them.
4. There will be no duplication of filing equipment and work (as in decentralized system) and as such there is economy in filing.
5. There is uniform standard to file the papers and to take them out. This enables speedy location of documents.
6. People, who do the same work again and again become specialists in their work. This adds to greater efficiency.
7. Papers will be filed the same day.
8. The location of missing files or papers is easily known (by the proper use of indicator).
Demerits of Centralized Filing System
1. When a departmental head is in urgent need of any letter, it will not reach him in time because of the long procedure. This is a main drawback.
2. Errors may creep in.
3. Much time is consumed if the filing department is located in distant rooms.
4. Rigid rules are there in giving and returning files. The rules become more important than the dealings.
5. Secrecy cannot be maintained.
2. Decentralized Filing System
Under this system, filing is done by different departments independently and not centrally in one place. Every department installs separate equipment and appoints staff to look after the filing work. This system is also known as departmental filing system.
Merits of Decentralized Filing System
1. Suitable, simple and easy methods can be adopted according to the convenience of the department.
2. The files are easily and quickly available.
3. Quick availability of file facilitates more efficiency.
4. Secrecy can be maintained.
5. Receiving clerk will file the letters without mistakes, because he has to deal with a few letters only.
Demerits of Decentralized Filing System
1. In one organization, in different departments, different methods of filing will be followed. As such no standard system will prevail.
2. The filing clerk has many other jobs; he cannot become a specialist in filing system.
3. Inter-department transfer of clerks will fail to understand the filing system of other departments.
4. If one document relates to two or more departments, there will be difficulty in filing the document.
5. Filing will be done at the convenience of a clerk, who has many other jobs to do along with the filing. As such he may misplace the letters or keep them in other registers or leave them unnoticed.