The beginning of the year is a good time to protect all your important business data before something changes and you lose it. Here are five places you’ve probably forgotten to look to backup that data.
1. Save PDF versions of year-end accounting reports
Accounting systems change, and data can be lost. In over 20 years with computers, I can’t even count how many different accounting systems I’ve used. To keep from losing key data permanently, you need data you can read no matter what system you use. That can be a paper print out that you store in a secure location or it can be a PDF readable even after you change software systems. Now most programs can print to PDF, making this easier than ever. Here are the reports to save:
- Profit and Loss, Jan 1 – Dec 31
- Balance Sheet, dated Dec 31
- Detail of every transaction, Jan 1 – Dec 31
- Payroll tax details for each employee, Jan 1 – Dec 31
2. Download online banking statements
If you use PayPal or online banking for business, make sure you have downloaded a PDF copy of all transactions for the year. Many online banking systems only keep records for a limited amount of time. For one of my banks, it’s just one year. After that, you can’t access older records online. PayPal also limits the amount of time you can access detailed records. Protect yourself now by downloading those statements.
3. Backup online documents
Using Google Docs is convenient. Evernote is terrific at remembering everything I can’t remember. Cloud services are wonderful, until they don’t work. Take time right now to export and save a copy of all important documents in your cloud services.
4. Search USB drives
Thumb drives are ubiquitous now. Chances are, you’ve used one to save important files or photos you’ve forgotten about. Take time now to search for those lost gems and get them backed up.
5. Backup your computer
Surely no one would overlook backing up their computer, would they? Well, yes. How long has it been since you backed up your key documents from your desktop or laptop? With online backup solutions and portable hard drives under $100, you’re running out of excuses.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.