No matter what your business does, your business will be generating paperwork. And while some of that paperwork can be destroyed as soon as it’s used, a lot of it will need to be kept for legal reasons. Like pretty much anything produced by your accounts department. Some paperwork will even need to be kept for over six years for HMRC so it’s important for you to understand where that paperwork is, and how you would find it if you needed to. And for that, you need to archive. For businesses, there are three main ways you can handle your archiving, each with its benefits and drawbacks:
An absolute classic, the traditional filing cabinet is still favoured by thousands of businesses as the go-to way of archiving and storing paperwork. And we all know what one is – it’s a big (or small) metal box, with drawers that are fitted with dividers so that everything can be organised in case you ever need it again. And some people use filing cabinets very well. Others, sadly, do not. When it comes to filing cabinets, it’s really down to the people putting the documents in as to how good it is. We have seen some companies who take up to an hour to locate a single document, simply because their archiving has ‘built up a bit’, or they aren’t sure where to find what they’re looking for. Which isn’t surprising, given that the average five-drawer filing cabinet can hold up to 21,875 pieces of paper. So if your average 250 person business wanted to use a filing cabinet to store every single piece of paper they produce, they would need 114 cabinets. So while it might seem like a lot of storage space, it does have its limits. It’s also not the cheapest option in terms of office space economy, which is something many businesses forget about. But if you’re paying £55 per square foot of space (which is the average price of London office space), then a single filing cabinet will cost you around £390 a month to keep. But, if they are organised and used properly, they can be a huge boon in terms of time and record keeping.
Record box files are always an interesting topic, mainly because their effectiveness as an archiving solution widely varies depending on who’s using them. For example, some businesses finish their end of year accounts and then dump everything unceremoniously into a box, labelled with the year. Other businesses use them as a way to organise their client data or to separate out and sort through project information. But there are upsides and downsides. Box files are great for keeping lots of paper and receipts together in one place, but it can be difficult to find one specific document in them without going through them all. So if you’re only looking for a way to store documents for long periods without referring to them (like year-end accounts paperwork), then box files are a great way to go.
And then, of course, there’s the digital solution. As concern for our environmental impact grows, many businesses are going down the digital archiving route in an attempt to save paper. New products and methods are being developed all the time, tailored to the specific archiving needs of different industries, Digital archiving effectively eliminates your reliance on paper by storing all of your documents in a central repository. That doesn’t mean you’ll need to scan in all of your paperwork (which in the beginning can resemble a massive chore) and file it away wherever you want it. It also allows you to access it quickly and easily and provides digital audit trails for future reference. As far as solutions go, the idea is sound – it’s just a case of price and being ready for the technology.
But if you’re sticking with paper archiving – where do you keep it all? Sure, if you’ve only been going on a small scale for a year or two, then it might be ok just piling up in a cupboard somewhere. But when it starts to pile up, you need a solution.
At Blue Box Storage, we provide business archive storage in all shapes and sizes, so that you can free up space in your office. Our storage solutions can be as small as a school locker and as big as a double garage, so you can be sure that your archive space will grow with your business, without the need to move offices. We can even rent or sell you any racking you may need. To find out more about our business storage solutions, just get in touch with your nearest branch today.