Getting your office set up for the New Year

by Kathryn Fox, GippsDairy

Office organisation and processes are highly important in assisting you to complete efficient and effective farm business work. In the last issue of How Now Gippy Cow we covered physical office set up, prioritising tasks and office procedures. In this article we will be looking into tips and tricks for record keeping including email organisation and filing systems.

Every business is required to keep and maintain accurate records. Records are kept for a range of purposes including legislative obligations such as taxation law, quality assurance, seeking finance as well as analysing and monitoring farm business and production performance. The main types of business records are financial, physical and workforce information.


Emails are a great method of communication but they can get out of hand quickly if not managed well. Some handy tips to help manage your emails are:

  • Check emails regularly
  • Create folders or flag emails for action later
  • Delete or archive items immediately that have been dealt with and are no longer needed
  • Limit what you say and only type ‘thank you’ replies if that is all that is required
  • Only CC if necessary
  • Remove alerts/ notifications from social media and unsubscribe from unnecessary websites
  • Where possible, separate your business and personal emails – it may be handy to have a dedicated email address for the dairy farm accounts, eg.
  • File electronically or print emails that need to be kept and file these immediately

If there are important emails you would like to keep, consider setting up a folder system within your emails. An example of how you could structure this is with a three folder structure. This is a good way to keep across invoices/ bills to be paid, invoice/ bills paid and miscellaneous emails. It may also be helpful to create folders per calendar year, with subfolders using the three-folder system shown below.

2020 2019 
 Invoices Paid Invoices Paid
 Invoices Due Invoices Due
 Miscellaneous Miscellaneous

Whether it’s manual or electronic, a good filing system enables systematic storage of your business information & enables you to find information when you need it. The filing system is not limited to the final physical or electronic filing system, it also includes all areas where information or office equipment is stored including shelves, drawers, lever arch files and electronic devices. When thinking about a filing system consider the various materials to be filed and coordinate with other users.

One recommended filing system is by month within the financial year, using a sub-folder structure similar to the email organisation with a separate folder for HR and personnel.

Digital filing systems should be setup in the same way as your physical filing system. Setup folders and sub folders with the same names so the process is quick to convert. Simply save documents under the folder as you would normally, using a file name that is easy to identify and recall the file. Eg. Using the supplier name and invoice date. Using a date at the start of the file name can help to keep documents in date order and easier to find. The date format should be YYYYMMDD. Eg ‘20200630 Rural store statement’.

The benefits of having a digital filing system are:

  • Reduces paperwork and clutter in your office – especially for those with limited space
  • Easier to search for documents
  • Reduces waste – paper/ folders/ boxes etc.

Cloud based filing

A cloud-based storage system holds your information in a computer server based at their premises and it is accessible to you via the internet.

The benefits of cloud-based filing are:

  • Accessible no matter your location
  • Can be accessed via a range of devices
  • Fire and waterproof
  • Multiple people can be accessing documents at the same time

A few of the most popular cloud-based storage options include MS OneDrive, Google Drive and Dropbox. Having a well set up office is important to help you keep on top of all the tasks you need to complete to run a successful farm business and meet obligations. It all comes down to having things set up in a way that helps you do what you need to do confidently and to ultimately spend less time doing it.

For more information, tips & tricks on office organisation please contact the GippsDairy office.


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