The maintenance of an efficient filing system is a difficult task to every business office. The needs of filing system of one business office are differ from another. Therefore, there is no one good filing system and no one ideal filing equipment which will meet the needs of every record of any business office. Even though, a good filing system has the following characteristics.
Essentials (or) Characteristics of Good filing system
1. Compactness: The compact filing system should be adopted by every business office. It means that the filing system should not require any unnecessary space.
2. Simplicity: The filing system should be simple and not too elaborate. At the same time, the usefulness of the filing system cannot be sacrificed for the sack of simplicity.
3. Accessibility: A good filing system should be arranged in such a way that the records are easily available whenever required. The filing system should allow the insertion of additional documents without disturbing the existing order of files.
4. Economy: The filing system should be economical in time, space, money and operations. The cost of installation and operation of filling system should be as low as possible. The selected filing equipment should occupy minimum space but can accommodate maximum number of files.
The cost of filing equipment should be very low. The filing equipment save the time of operation i.e. locating, inserting and placing of documents and papers in a file. The unwanted records may be disposed of in order to economies space.
5. Flexibility: The filing system can be expanded if the volume of business transactions increased. An inflexible system is not useful after crossing a certain limit.
6. Classification: The filing system should be supported by a proper system of classification. Proper classification reduces the number of files to be maintained and helps in inserting as well as locating the documents in the files.
7. Safety: The filed documents and records should be in safe condition and available whenever required. The documents and records should be protected from insects, rain, dust, or mishandling.
8. Cross Reference: A cross reference should be given wherever a document can be filed more than one head to avoid confusion and facilitates easy location of files. It saves time and human resources.
9. Easy Location: Documents and records should be kept in such a way that they can be easily located whenever required with the minimum delay possible. At the same time, it does not require heavy expenditure to achieve this purpose.
10. Indexing: A well designed index is also used to supplement the filing system. It will help to locate the file quickly when it is required.
11. Retention: Every documents and records are maintained for a minimum period of time. Then, the dead records and documents can be discarded without too much disturbance. The remaining documents and records are retained even after a storage period.
12. Out guides: A reference is to be maintained in the files that the list of documents or records are withdrawn by the office staff or department and returned the documents with date. Rules and procedures can be framed and followed to prevent misfiling.
13. Minimum Misfiling: The main difficulty is not concerned with filing but in finding the documents. Misfiling causes delay in the location of desired document. Hence, the authorized staff alone is permitted to have access to files.