Staying organized as a small-business owner doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It may seem like hundreds of papers cross your desk or tons of emails bombard your inbox every week, but if you put a system in place, keeping your business organized doesn’t have to be an unmanageable chore!
Clear the Papers
The first step of organizing your business is to go through all the paperwork on your desk, in folders, in cabinets, or where ever else you may have stored papers. Organize them by type such as: vendor receipts, tax information, sales and income reports, Illinois gaming or liquor license, payroll etc. Once the papers are organized by type, go through and keep the papers you need and toss or shred the ones that are no longer needed. If you are worried you might one day need a quote from a potential vendor, or notes from a meeting, then scan the originals and throw out the paper files to make more room.
Receipts can be a hassle and can easily pile up, especially for bar and restaurant owners. Find a receipt management scanner or app for your phone to help with the process. Make sure that your choice allows you to export the scanned items to your business’ choice of expense reporting/accounting software. It is important to note that the IRS accepts electronic copies of receipts, so keep that in mind when organizing and scanning receipts. Create an expense folder to hold all your business-related receipts. Carry a small receipt envelope along with you when you're out so that you can keep your business receipts together before filing them in a central location in your office.
Organize your file cabinet so that it can hold your important files in an orderly and efficient file system. Establish larger categories for different types of paperwork that is pertinent to your business. You can then label a large hanging folder for each of these categories. Place individual forms in file folders, label them and then order them in a way that works best for you. For example, for a hanging folder containing invoices, create separate file folders for each vendor name. If you are not present in your establishment every day, share this system with employees and management to help with continuity of your new system!
Save the Date
A critical part of staying organized is keeping important dates straight. Choosing a calendar for your business often comes down to personal preference. It can be a paper calendar hanging on the wall or in a planner, or a digital calendar on your computer or phone. The key to using a calendar efficiently is to keep it updated, ALWAYS. Writing down everything from IGB inspections, to meetings, or when bills and payroll are due will save you headache of sending follow-up emails or reminders, or worse, forgetting to pay a vendor or miss an appointment.
Clean-Up your Digital Organization
It is easy for your desktop to quickly become cluttered with icons for various “important” files and documents. If your documents or downloads are full of nonsense named files, it’s impossible to find what you need when you need it. Cleaning up your computer can be a tedious process, but don’t be discouraged! It will be worth it! Find a way to organize electronic files that works best for you.
One option would to be to completely clear your desktop icons. Remember: All your files live on your computer, icons on your desktop are usually just shortcuts. Another option is to create new folders to help collect similar files and documents for ease of use later. No matter what you do, make sure all business data and files are backed up! You can use a cloud-based service or use an external hard drive or USB drive that you plug into the computer. There are plenty of options online for cloud-based services or ask other small business owners if they have any suggestions for their backup processes!
Organizing your Illinois Gaming Paperwork
It is best practice to keep all your Illinois Gaming Board paperwork in one folder for ease of use. When an Illinois Gaming Board agent visits, it is critical to have all paper on hand. The Go-Live Binder is a great tool Accel Entertainment provides its locations with upon your gaming go live appointment. Everything that the IGB requires businesses to have is in there, as well as some helpful guides for the location owner and their employees. The go live binder is a great resource because everything you may need is in one place. Accel’s Relationship Managers fill the binder with proper documents and updated licenses prior to the location go live, along with labeled folders/sleeves for each document.
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