Help with filing

Filing is not an exciting topic. Many practitioners are now choosing to eradicate paper wherever possible, keeping all their documents digitally. 

However, if you do prefer to keep paper records, such as accounting information, copies of invoices and client notes, it’s vital to have a clear system in place. With good filing, you will be better organised. You’ll be able to lay your hands on exactly WHAT you need, WHEN you need it - saving time and money.

The law

As a business, you must comply with the Data Protection Act (2018) and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which came into effect in May 2018. You’ll no doubt have heard a lot about GDPR at the time. 

These laws are designed to protect the information of everyone that you deal with, in particular your clients. They trust you to keep your information secure and confidential, and the law lays out the ways in which you must do that. 

To find out more about Data Protection and how it affects therapy businesses, go here.

You may have paper copies of:

  • client names, addresses, medical records and treatment plans
  • bank and credit card statements
  • business and marketing plans and reports
  • records such as medico-legal reports
  • copies of emails or letters
  • receipts, bills and supplier invoices
  • meeting reports
  • accounting records
  • CPD records
  • employee details
  • details of accountants, bookkeepers, etc
  • copies of insurance cover

Security

There’s a huge choice of filing cabinets and storage solutions for the home office. The most important thing to remember is that they should be lockable, fireproof and sturdy. Security is an important aspect of the Data Protection Act. Ideally, filing cabinets should also be kept in a locked room.

Good filing practice

  • segment your files into areas, such as the ones described above
  • organise them alphabetically, or by date, whichever seems most appropriate for the type of file
  • clearly label each hanging file
  • don’t overfill hanging files - they’ll just break and spill their contents into the bottom of the filing cabinet
  • you will need to keep records for a certain number of years depending if they are financial records or client records

When to destroy paper records

Try not to hang onto paper records for the sake of it. Have a look at our article on document management for information about how to go digital.

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