Invoices received from suppliers can be a little more difficult to organise. They each look different, the invoice numbers are in different formats and even the paper they are printed on can be different sizes and thicknesses making any file full of purchase invoices rather messy to look through.
There are several ways to organise them which will be dependent on the software you use to record them and how many you receive each month.
For low numbers of invoices you could use an A-Z divider in a lever arch file and file all invoices alphabetically throughout the whole year in one file. With this method when searching for an invoice that is several months old, you will just need to look under the correct letter to find the current year’s invoices for that customer. If you add the latest invoice to the top every time the invoices will also be filed by date so you will be able to easily find the one you are looking for.
If you are processing a larger number of invoices each month, you may need an entire file for each month, or maybe 2-3 months. In this instance keeping the invoices filed by month and then alphabetically could be more suitable. With this method when searching for an invoice that is several months old, you will need to know the date of the invoice. This information will be available on your accounts software.
For much larger numbers of invoices, that fill several files each month it could be more sensible to assign each invoice a reference number. You can purchase sequential number stamps which can be stamped onto each invoice and recorded as a reference in your accounts software when you record the purchase invoice – some accounts packages will handle this extra piece of information better than others so please check the capabilities of your chosen software before proceeding.
With this method, when trying to find an invoice that is several months old, you will need to find the assigned reference number in your accounts software first, once you have that number it is very quick to find the correct invoice in the file as they are all numbered sequentially and should be filed as such, with the lowest number at the back of the file and the highest number on top.
Another benefit for a sequential system is that it is much easier to see if an invoice has been removed from the file, and equally if an invoice is discovered in the wrong place it is easy to identify where it belongs and to also confirm on the system if it has been processed already.
In this modern age we should all be aiming for the “paperless” office, so if you only receive a small number of purchase invoices each month and most of them arrive electronically, don’t print them off! You can create identical filing systems as described above for your computer files instead of physical files. And ones that arrive through the post can be scanned in to the computer and added to this filing system and the original recycled, keeping your physical paperwork to a minimum.
Jamie has spent many years working in administrative roles, she has also spent time as a stay at home mum and now loves the flexibility of working from her home office and being available for her family whenever they need her.