Virtual Assistant Tips Series: Digital Filing vs Paper Filing


First of all, I like filing things!  It makes me happy.  And I am so serious!

I am currently waiting on getting a file cabinet for my home office and I. CANT. WAIT!

Before I give some tips on the difference between two types of filing, let me give you my opinion on why filing is so important.  Number one, we (as in us entrepreneurs) need to get more organized.  We have too many things to do and very little time to waste and finding that important piece of paper for filing taxes is a waste of time unless you have it filed in a proper place.  Number two, it just looks good.  I feel better when things in my office are organized, straightened and put in place.  Number 3, you look good to other people.  People for sure take me more serious when they walk in my office and its neat and clean versus when I am disorganized and papers are everywhere.  This is a tested and true fact that my emotions and ability to handle things is determined by how organized I am. (My own experiment of course, so don’t quote me on it!)

Okay so now that I have convinced you that you should file things ( I hope)

Lets talk about two significant differences in the world of filing

Paper filingbinders2

So this is the old school way of doing it, circa 1980s when computers were big bodied and seeming to not be a big deal.  Business and offices kept paper everything and even today sometimes keeping paper just makes us feel better.  There is something about being able to pull the paper itself out in contrast to having to find it on the computer and email or print it.  Paperwork filing most definitely gives us peace of mind

The other perk to paperwork filing is we can organize using folders, binders and/or file cabinets.

If you have been following my blog you know I love binders. (In case you haven’t read it) I use them in my business, mostly because it allows me to carry paper files around for my clients, especially start up paperwork like Name Reservations and Articles of Formation.  This is helpful when they need paperwork for opening up bank accounts and meeting needs.  Of course I could just print when needed, but printer ink is crazy expensive and my goal is to keep costs down.

Folders and file cabinets just make paperwork easy to find.  You create a Receipts folder and put it in there, its there and probably will be there for life (a little faded) unless there is a fire or someone steals it.

So the cons are of course that paperwork can get easily lost, stolen and/or destroyed.  Paper files take up A LOT of space, which can be annoying.  It can also cause you to be a paper hoarder which is bad, really bad, recover with me from this trap! (Haha!)  In other ways it is also harder to send than digital files, you may end up having to fax, snail mail and/or scan, which are all issues within themselves.  So let’s move on to digital filing so you can decide what is best for you!

Digital Filing

Digital filing is the new age way of doing business!  There are apps on top of apps on top of apps available to anyone for online storage of documents, pictures, videos and anything else you can think of! My favorite online storage apps are

Google Drive

One Drive


I will do reviews on those later but my favorite features about having digital filing is that it is SO concise.  I can access files with one click and I can easily send it out without spending a dime….well sort of because online storage will eventually cost you, especially when you are like me and have LOTS of things to store.  I am currently paying $45 a month to Dropbox to hold my files and my client’s files, so it comes with a pretty steep price.  At the end of the day, however, everything is even more so all in one place than my file cabinet which doesn’t require me to take files out, put them in a notebook a haul them around, I can just have my phone with me at all times.

The downfall is….IF this doggone computer crashes, it is a pain.  Which is why I have an external drive for back up and the plus is many of those apps I mentioned have back up capabilities as well.


So there you have it, a review of the obvious!  This may or may not be helpful, but either way you need to find a way to keep track of all of your documents because balled up at your feet is no longer an option.  I’m just saying, it stops today! Until next time