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What are the Different Types of Business Filing Systems?

Business filing systems are essential for organization and efficiency. They range from traditional paper-based methods to advanced digital solutions. Vertical and lateral filing cabinets, alphabetical, numerical, and subject-based systems are common. Digital options include cloud storage and electronic databases, offering accessibility and security. How does your current system measure up, and could a new method revolutionize your office's workflow? Let's explore further.
Tess C. Taylor
Tess C. Taylor

Thanks to advances in office technology, there are many types of business filing systems to choose from when trying to keep important files organized and secure. Filing is one of the most common ways that businesses store records, keep track of important forms, access information quickly, and protect data that must be available often for years. The types of business filing system one chooses depends mainly on the format that the files will be in, how they are to be accessed, and what the storage capabilities of the business are.

The most commonly thought-of business filing systems are stand-alone pieces of office furniture such as filing cabinets and drawers. These are generally made of metal or wood, and contain large sliding drawers that are big enough to hold many hundreds of folders and paper files. From small businesses to large corporate offices, physical business filing systems are found in all shapes and sizes to accommodate any type of hard-copy file that needs to be stored securely.

An external hard drive.
An external hard drive.

Other commonly used types of business filing systems are electronic file storage systems. Computer operating systems have electronic filing capabilities built into the software to make this a convenient way to protect files of many sizes and types. Files can include text documents, graphics and images, software, or web-based files. Whenever a new file is created or shared, the data can be stored securely in a virtual file folder that can sit on an individual computer hard drive, be carried around in an external hard drive, or stored on an Internet-accessed virtual drive.

Hard copies of business documents should be organized then stored in a filing cabinet.
Hard copies of business documents should be organized then stored in a filing cabinet.

Other business filing systems that are often part of the electronic realm of filing are customer- and vendor-management systems. Companies that have large numbers of customers and vendors to keep track of manage this is by storing customer and vendor information in a hard copy or electronic format in a special customer resource management (CRM) or vendor management (VM) setup. This allows a wide variety of files to be stored by client or vendor, for quick access on demand.

Filing cabinets are essential pieces of furniture in any office environment.
Filing cabinets are essential pieces of furniture in any office environment.

With technology improving the processes of many businesses, other types of business filing systems include mobile technologies such as smart phones and hand-held computers. Business executives on the go can create, upload, and share large data files by using these devices. Information can then be transferred electronically via email or by connecting via the Internet or direct cables to home or office computers. This makes it much more convenient to store and access files virtually from anywhere in the world.

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Discussion Comments

profess

I worked as an administrative assistant for several large corporations at the beginning of my career. I just got a new job with a small contracting firm and I realized that a lot of the filing systems I used at huge companies don't translate so well to a company of this size.

Can someone give me some tips about small business filing systems? What is the best way to implement a filing system that is small enough to be manageable, but flexible enough to grow with the company and respond to changing circumstances? Thanks so much!

nextcorrea
I reun my own business and I am terrible about filing. I have let the problem go way too long and now I have literally thousands and thousands of documents that need to be organized. Frankly, I don't have the time to take care of it all myself. Is there someone I could hire to come in and set up a filing system for me and put all of my loose papers into it? Without someones help I don't know how this mess is going to get sorted out.
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    • An external hard drive.
      An external hard drive.
    • Hard copies of business documents should be organized then stored in a filing cabinet.
      By: pixelrobot
      Hard copies of business documents should be organized then stored in a filing cabinet.
    • Filing cabinets are essential pieces of furniture in any office environment.
      By: Sashkin
      Filing cabinets are essential pieces of furniture in any office environment.
    • File cabinet racks are placed into the drawers of the cabinet to hold the files.
      By: Marc Dietrich
      File cabinet racks are placed into the drawers of the cabinet to hold the files.