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Organizing Your e-Documents

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Make tracking your finances more efficient with an organized e-document filing system

With the quickly increasing shift to doing everything online, including banking and paying bills, it’s important to know how to keep all those e-statements and other electronic documents organized so you can access them as needed.

Katherine Murray of Microsoft (Microsoft.com) says, “An unorganized computer makes it more difficult to find information, and a computer that is cluttered with unnecessary files and email messages can be sluggish.”

Clearing out old files from your computer is Murray’s first tip toward organization. You can learn how old files in your computer are by hovering your mouse over the file to see when it was last modified. By right-clicking on the file and choosing “Properties,” you can find even more specific information about when the file was created. If you are still unsure of what the file is, open it and review it before deleting it.

“Organizing electronic files is important because much of the information we handle these days has become electronic. Even though the paperless office is still a long way off, setting up a system for organizing electronic files is very important,” stated professional organizer Ramona Creel. With just a few simple steps, you can create an accessible system to store and view all your important files on your computer:

Start with broad categories: Just as you would do with paper files, it’s beneficial to organize your e-files into broad categories and then break those down into subcategories. For example, a folder named “Finances” can hold subfolders for your online banking statements, online bill-pay receipts, etc.

Work with a naming system: If you are storing multiple drafts of the same document, include the date of last review in each filename, like bank_statement_8-12-12.

Don’t click “Print”: The whole purpose of e-documents is to eliminate a paper system, so avoid printing a file if you don’t have a specific reason to do so.

Don’t get buried: Just as Murray suggests, make a point of cleaning out your folders regularly—at least once or twice a year. Get rid of any computer files that are outdated, irrelevant or obsolete. Also, try asking yourself why before you go to save a file— determine whether you will really need it in the future.

Take precautions: When storing important documents on your computer, it’s imperative that you keep a backup of those files. Save all files to an external hard drive, disk or online backup service at least once a week.

Using these simple tips to set up your own e-document filing system can help you stay organized and keep track of your finances more efficiently. For more information about online banking, stop by today.

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