Small Office Procedures

Office image by Yvonne Bogdanski from <a href=''></a>

Having a small business often means that fewer people are available, they have less time and they often must do several different tasks at once. Having set office procedures can save time, stress and money for all involved. Standard procedure means that all parties know how to proceed in their daily activities and where final responsibility lies.

Human Resource Issues

Human resources is one area in which predetermined policies and procedures can most eliminate confusion and conflict. There should be clear procedures on absences, phone use, sick pay, vacation requests, health insurance matters and workspace safety. It is often a good idea to compile a manual, no matter how small, to provide answers for various issues in advance of problems. Employee conflicts, theft, harassment, violence in the workplace and other important issues can be headed off with clear policies and procedures for managing these situations. Employee reviews and warnings can be covered as well as benefit package dates and other questions.

Job Duties

Small offices in particular may have difficulties outlining the exact job duties of personnel. Confusion can be eliminated by making sure that employees know what their jobs entail and what additional duties they may be called upon to cover. This may require organizational charts that indicate who takes over when others are out of the office on sick days or vacation time. Clear outlining of who has the final say in specific areas can go a long way toward preventing confusion and hard feelings within the office network. According to, the office manager is most likely to be the one to take one additional duties like human resources, purchasing and information technology concerns that go beyond traditional clerical duties.

Financial Procedures

Costs can quickly get out of hand when running a small business, so a user-friendly office accounting program is crucial to good office procedures. Accounts payable and receivable operations on a day-to-day basis can be easily accessed to make sure the business in running within budget constraints. Access to financial data can be limited to those who need to know. Procedures for managing cash and small purchases should be clear with easy record-keeping. Forms should be standardized for purchasing, inventory, invoicing and maintenance issues.