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As seen in the Dayton Daily News on September 23, 2017.

I had a client call me very distraught this past weekend. Her accountant informed her that he lost all of the documents she gave him to file her taxes. Are you cringing from reading that? I was speechless.

Previously, she and I worked together to create a filing system for her home. We filed her backlog of papers so she could easily find her documents. In the past, she always scrambled to find her paperwork. She was relieved that filing her taxes was going to be so much easier this year. Unfortunately, she is scrambling once again to recreate the papers that were lost.

Business owners, I beg you to get organized. Your clients are stressed, tired and struggling with other life situations. They are relying on you to help them solve their problems not create them.

Follow these steps in an effort to better serve your clients that are paying for your professionalism.

Ask for help. Many people put off calling me to help them get organized because they feel they should be able to get organized on their own. Most of you were never taught the skills necessary to get organized. There is no shame in asking someone to help you. You’ll be relieved to have systems in place to run your business more efficiently.

Think about the most organized person you know and ask them if they can help you. If they don’t have the time, hire a professional organizer that is accustomed to working with businesses.

Remove the unnecessary. Look around your office and get rid of things that don’t help you run your business. Let go of outdated office equipment and the surplus of office supplies that will never get used.

Don’t have an abundance of personal decorations. They just get in your way of finding things. Limit the amount of coffee mugs, water bottles and personal photos kept on your desk.

Shred or recycle junk mail, out-of-date catalogs and documents you no longer need. These items are keeping you from finding the documents that are important.

Create systems for managing documents. Have a meeting with your staff and let everyone give input on how to best create a filing system that everyone will comprehend. Great ideas come about when everyone is involved in the process. Create a system for filing paperwork and electronic documents.

Create a records retention schedule. Many of you are keeping documents longer than necessary because you don’t know the guidelines for how long they need to be saved. The person who prepares your taxes can advise you with the time frame.

Purchase a labeler. Once items are organized label them so everyone in the office can find things and put them away. You can label bins, drawers, shelves and file folders using a labeler. Purchase one that does not require a computer so it can be mobile and ready for any project.

If you do a good job helping a client, you’ll be lucky if they tell one person. If you disappoint them, they will tell many people.

Having an organized office will allow you to run your business efficiently. You want your clients singing your praises, not sharing stories of how you let them down.