How good is your office filing system?

I once went imessy office2nto an office and noticed a pile of paper a meter high next to a desk. I asked the accounts lady “what’s this?”. Oh she answered “that’s my filing! – I only do it once a year”…

If this is you then sort it! Eastlight folders (or similar) are essential for your office to properly function. Shoeboxes won’t do. A messy office wastes time, decreases accuracy and costs money. Plus the IRD would have a field day if they came to visit you to do an audit.

You will need 9 folders as follows:-

1 Sales invoices

It is not essential to keep a copy of your sales invoices so long as you can always reprint them on demand. If you do keep a copy, do it in invoice number order with the latest on top or A-Z by customer (lastest on top).

2 Suppliers invoices (unpaids)

File these in alphabetical order by supplier name. Include all unpaid invoices no matter how old they are.

3 Paid Invoices

Once invoices are paid, file these first in alphabetical order by supplier name, then by date, with the latest paid invoices for each supplier always on top.

4 Bank & Credit Card Statements

File these in date order with the latest on top. Use dividers to separate each bank account. Always print and file your bank reconciliations with the bank statement it refers to. You could keep copies of all bank statements and reconciliations. We suggest you create a folder for each financial year.

5 PAYE (Pay as you Earn)

File a copy of your employer monthly schedule and remittance in date order, with the latest one on top.


File a copy of the return with supporting reports and work papers, in date order, with the latest one on top.

7 Income Tax

File any IRD statements and related correspondence from your accountant or the IRD , in date order, with the latest on top.

8 Hire Purchase and Loans

Use file dividers to separate documents relating to each HP or loan

9 Business expenses paid with owner/shareholder’s personal funds

File these receipts in the months they were paid, with the latest on top until you write a business cheque to pay yourself back. Then move them to the paids above.

Tip: At the end of each financial year box up the records and store for 7 years.

Lynley Averis

Lynley is an MYOB Certified Consultant & has been involved in training in New Zealand since 1985. She's written various accounting & MYOB workbooks including co-authoring “Bookkeeping for Dummies”. She has consulted on all versions of MYOB Accounting, Retail and Payroll over the past 18 years and has previously worked for MYOB. She currently consults to NZ businesses on all aspects of business systems - her mission for clients is for them to spend as little time as possible doing accounting!