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Manage Your Startup Admin Efficiently

papers It is surprising just how much admin is involved in running a company, especially one-man operations where the budget is simply not there to employ a secretary. The owner simply drowns in paperwork, failing to keep on top of invoices and bills and often incurs hefty fines for non-payment due to a mislaid tax form. All too many new businesses fail because of this sort of problem. If startup businesses are to succeed, good administration management is essential from the word go. If too much time is being spent rummaging around a messy desk, it's not a cleaner or a secretary that is required, but rather some good quality, up-to-date document management software. These computer programs are business essentials and invaluable time savers, as everything is stored digitally in a logical order that makes all files just a search click away.

Just scan and save.

Rather than storing documents the traditional way on paper, document management software enables a business to scan them as they arrive on the company desk and then save them electronically. The document files are easy to find because they're organized logically and saved in a digital format. The “paperless office” may sound like an urban myth, but it's not only the environment that benefits from less paperwork. Organizing files digitally on a computer saves not only on printer ink and storage space, it also saves time, as finding a file on a computer is far quicker than flipping through mountains of paper or worrying about spilling coffee over that all-important bulletin. Another advantage of storing files electronically is that the person working with them does not need to be physically present in the office or take stacks of files home with them. All they have to do is log into the system; it's possible to access the documents from anywhere – even on holiday.

Which software package is best for your business?

There are a number of excellent document management software packages on the market these days, many of which allow the user to scan physical documents and import digital files quickly and painlessly. The price of the software depends on how many people need to have access to it as well as how many documents need to be stored, but the investment will pay off in the future as money is saved on paper, ink, space, and of course time. Before any document management software is ordered, however, it is necessary to figure out exactly what is required of the management system. With so many different products on the market, each with their own specific pros and cons, which one is right depends on the task at hand. If there are several employees in the company, those who take care of most of the filing and other administrative tasks should be consulted, as they are the people who will be most affected by the changeover to digital management. Find out how they currently keep records and do the books, and learn what specific tools would best help them save time and increase efficiency. Don't make them feel like they need to learn heaps of new things or that the way they are doing things now is wrong – use the software as a tool to make existing practices more efficient. The computer program should be tailored to fit the company's needs, not the other way around.

Get organized.

Good software doesn't entirely get rid of admin tasks – it might help reduce paperwork, but it is still necessary to spend some time doing the books. It is important to know which of these jobs need to be done and how often, and to organize a plan. For example, all the invoices could be sent out once a week, and an hour or two could be set aside for this purpose; likewise with other financial and bookkeeping jobs. It is important to know all the deadlines for filling out tax forms – never wait until the last minute to get them done.

What hardware is needed?

With a document management program eliminating the need for an ugly filing cabinet, the average startup business will need little more than a PC, software and a document scanner. As the business starts to expand, however, it will be worth considering a centralized system where everyone has access to shared data. This means investing either in a server to store data centrally, or using a cloud computing service, which means that IT resources are available online via the Internet.

This is an article contributed to Young Upstarts and published or republished here with permission. All rights of this work belong to the authors named in the article above.

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