What is Office Filing Procedure?
Office filing procedure refers to the set of well-defined practices which are followed all over the organization in filling documents and other key papers. It is simply a procedure that is followed in order to preserve and manage paper work in office. Procedure of office filling differs from organization to organization as it is dependent upon the volume and complexity of records as well as requirements of service. A properly structured procedure of office filing is essential and needed for each and every business organization for effective functioning. Wrongly-designed documents may result in massive miscommunication and discrepancies among working departments within an organization. These procedures guides employees working within the office that what action should they take in case of distinct likely and unlikely situations. Job descriptions of employee, workplace etiquettes and certain other confidentiality protocols are some of the elements included in office filing procedure.
Steps Involved in Office Filing Procedure
Order to file
Every set of paper within the office is not equally important and therefore it is not necessary to file each of the document. A responsible officer should properly decide which record should be preserved and which one not. There is no scope of filing unrequired documents. Documents shall be filed only on order of official who write the order, sign it and put date on it. Only such order which are approved by official should be filed.
The record clerk while preparation of record filing shall properly read the papers for ascertaining their filing classification. Every set of related papers should be attached to main record. For fastening the papers into file or folder, they need to be punched. The record for the purpose of classification is marked with color pencil or by encircling key numbers or words on record. A cross reference is also done on record in case if it is necessary.
Sorting and filing
Once the coding, indexing and cross-referencing of papers is done then their right classification is done. The folders are removed in case if any need arises and should be opened flat such that records which are latest are kept on top. The staff finds it quite easy in locating the documents in case of future reference if chronological order is followed.
Follow up slip
The follow up action is needed for documents such as instance purchase orders, bill for payment etc. Instructions for follow up should be noted by the concerned executive. After that a follow up slip need to be prepared and attached to relevant paper on files by the filing clerk. An extra copy of such slip should be maintained in follow up file that act as a reminder such that it can be send to concerned officer on specified date by filing clerk.
A file is removed from cabinet by executive for any reference only when he sends a written requisition. A filing clerk need to prepare a “out card” or “Out guide” on receipt of such requisition. On out-card, a notation is made regarding withdrawal date, name of file withdrawer and date by which file will be returned. Out-card is place in folder until the file or paper is returned back. A regular verification of records on periodic basis should be done and a proper list of overdue records shall be prepared. The concerned officials keeping the files are informed to return them by sending a request to them.
A rotational policy of organization is followed for keeping the documents in a file. Documents are not frequently required once their active life is all over. They are destroyed when their life gets over permanently or no longer needed. However, documents which are not needed frequently but are alive should be transferred and stored in a clean dust proof manner.
There are some documents which need to be retained for a long period due to their active use or legal requirements. A definite policy related to retention and destruction of records needed to be designed by the management.