The author’s file-naming convention divides the file name into several parts. First comes the job number, which is usually the job address, followed by the document type — “I” is an invoice; “Q,” a quote; “D,” a draw request; “PO,” a purchase order; “CO,” a change order; and so on. Next comes the name of the vendor or sub, followed by an invoice number, or by a date that distinguishes between versions. In some cases, a keyword suffix is added to help narrow the search. Another suffix is added when a document is revised: Rev1, Rev2, etc.
The author’s file-naming convention divides the file name into several parts. First comes the job number, which is usually the job address, followed by the document type — “I” is an invoice; “Q,” a quote; “D,” a draw request; “PO,” a purchase order; “CO,” a change order; and so on. Next comes the name of the vendor or sub, followed by an invoice number, or by a date that distinguishes between versions. In some cases, a keyword suffix is added to help narrow the search. Another suffix is added when a document is revised: Rev1, Rev2, etc.

I am a custom home builder with a small office. We build only a handful of homes each year, but the average price is $3 million or higher, and each job generates 1,500 to 2,000 documents. I committed to the concept of a paperless office three years ago after a client asked to see all invoices for her job. After scurrying around making copies of 1,100 invoices, some which were missing or misfiled, we realized we needed a better system.

Today, we store 99.9% of our documents in digital format on our server or a cloud-based service. Stored documents include proposals, architectural drawings, contract documents, POs, invoices — almost everything affecting our jobs. We scan, label, and file all paper documents, but the fact is that more than 80% of all documents are now sent to us...

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