Businesses of any size can benefit from cleaning up their financial processes, and though you can do this any time of year, spring is the perfect time for a refresh. You may find ways to save, new methods for increasing revenue, and discover stronger morale. Let’s get started.
Take this week to sweep away the clutter of daily workflows. Day after day small tasks can be easily ignored, piling up physically, digitally, and mentally. Block out your calendar or assign another team member to help tackle some of these annoying issues that we perpetually push to the bottom of the to-do list.
1. Clean out your inbox
The average worker spends 13 hours a week on email. That’s 28% of their work time! – McKinsey Global Institute research
We know, we know. But cleaning out your email inbox will be easier than you think, and leave you feeling more empowered to clean up other aspects of your business.
Everyone uses their email differently. Maybe your role operates heavily through email, and maybe you integrate your personal emails with your work emails. No matter what you are working with, here are some techniques that can help you tackle that inbox zero goal.
Sign up for an email cleanup service
A great place to start is with an email cleanup service. Free services like Clean Email or Cleanfox can perform mass unsubscribes, apply filters, and even automate categorizations to narrow your approach. There are also paid services (you know, if you’re really desperate).
Folders & filters
Take a minute to think about how you use your email, and what would make finding certain emails easier. Build out an organization of filters and folders that clearly separate and categorize the types of emails you receive. Filters can automatically forward emails (like troubleshooting emails going straight to customer service rather than clogging up your inbox), or apply tags that make batching easier.
Go on a deleting rampage
Turn on your favorite playlist, chug some caffeine, and get ready to hunt. It’s time to take the deep dive into your inbox, and take no prisoners.
For every single email, drive it to a final solution. Delete what’s no longer necessary. Archive what you might need to track down in the future, but probably will never need again. Forward emails other people can deal with. Answer and complete any emails you’ve been neglecting.
It’ll feel good in the end—we promise.
Create an email workflow
In order to maintain this clean new inbox you’ve fought for, you need to develop your own personal system for managing new emails. The “Getting Things Done” method optimizes productivity through effective workflows. You can create your own email workflow that will cut the time and the clutter you accumulate there.
For example you might instantly sort your emails into folders or color-codes for:
- Delete: Is this email relevant to me?
- Delegate: Am I the best person to handle this?
- Respond: Can I respond in two minutes or less?
- Defer: Will this take longer than two minutes?
- Do: Can we complete the task in two minutes?
Once categorized, you can batch the groups for more effective email communication. Then sit back and enjoy a cleaner, stress-free inbox.
2. Update client records
Teamwork! For steps 2 and 3, utilize a team or an intern to tackle these large and (dare we say) dull efforts
Your CRM can descend into chaos rapidly, especially if it’s being utilized by a variety of groups within your company. But it’s more than just a messy eyesore—it could be losing you customers and allowing clients to fall through the cracks. Let’s get your client records under control.
Do you really need or even use all of the fields in your client record? Which elements are absolutely necessary? By removing certain fields you can prevent error messages, confusion, and lost time. Decide on your record conventions, document them, and publicize your CRM policy so everyone can work together to keep it sharp.
Sweep & delete
It’s common for clients to have duplicate records—one with their phone number, another with their email. Go through and consolidate the duplicates into a single, helpful record. Fake records may also exist, such as fake emails used to access gated content. Get rid of them.
As you go through your client records, you may discover conversations that went cold or leads that fell through the cracks. Now is the perfect time to accumulate a list of follow-up contacts and to try for a second chance.
3. Digitize & clear out paperwork
With those first two steps you’ll likely already feel like a whole new company. Just wait until you clear out those filing cabinets and drawers. This is an overwhelming step for some, but breaking it down into steps can make it easier to digest.
- Start with shredding and recycling unnecessary paperwork and forms.
- Determine naming conventions & storage of your digitized documents BEFORE starting the digitization process.
- Choose a document management system such as Microsoft SharePoint, Rubex, or Google Drive.
- The IRS recommends keeping the following business documents, preferably physical copies, for 4-7 years:
- Tax returns & supporting documents
- Employment tax records (Employer Identification Number, W2 information, etc)
- Property and asset records, including real estate and vehicles
- Official business records, such as articles of incorporation, trademarks, annual reports
- Bank statements (if you ever close the account you’ll lose access to electronic statements unless they’re downloaded or printed)
- HR Records
- Contracts & attorney correspondence
- Receipts for business expenses
There are very few papers for which you’ll need an actual, physical copy. When in doubt, file papers in clearly labeled folders and keep an inventory list on the side of your filing cabinet for easy access.
For pretty much everything else—scan, electronically file, and shred.
Small business organization
It may not feel like you have time to tackle these tasks right now—but when will you? As your business grows you’ll have more emails, more client records, more paperwork… and less time. Any effort toward organizing your small business will pay back dividends in efficiency, saved time, and possibly even increased revenue.
So the question is can you afford NOT to spring clean your small business finances?
Divvy helps you keep your finances neat and tidy by bringing all spend into one, digital place. And the best part? It’s free. Sign up today.