Confidentiality agreements or non-disclosure agreements (“NDAs”), as they are often called, play an important role in protecting your company’s trade secrets. When used in business-to-business collaboration they can lead to new product development and other opportunities for profit and growth. When used with employees, they make your trade secrets less portable when your employees decide to join a competitor or set up shop on their own.
Keeping it confidential not only protects your valuable information, but also third party information that is entrusted to you. That’s why “keeping it confidential” is one of my 12 Rules for Avoiding Smoking Guns.
Employees may not realize, for example, how quickly a confidential “tweet” on Twitter about an exciting project at work can turn into a smoking gun document and a lawsuit. Training can therefore go a long way towards making NDAs more robust and keeping your business safe.
For more information see www.legalliteracy.com.
Hopefully you’re not keeping receipts in a shoebox and have to scrounge around at tax time to get everything in order. And I hope you won’t have to pay your accountant for the extra hours it’ll take to get everything organized.
When I started my business almost 11 years ago, as part of the Accounting section of my filing system, I had a folder for each vendor I spent money with regularly (e.g., gas, light, Office Depot, etc.). When I found myself sticking receipts in a To Be Filed folder, I knew my system was too tedious. Because I was procrastinating about filing everything, I knew I needed to simplify my system.
Here is a simple solution that works for me.
This system is simple so it’s easy to maintain.
One thing though, I had to figure out a way to quickly find receipts for higher-priced products in case I needed repair, etc. I created a contact in Outlook called “Big Ticket Items.” In the text area of the contact I have a 2-column table that is similar to the one below. If I ever need to find a receipt, I’ll know which month/year bank statement to pull. (To create the table: if you use Outlook as your email editor, create the table in Word and paste it into the text area of the contact. Once it’s there, you can click inside the cells and type as you normally would. When you need a new row, click inside the last cell of the table and tab. Once this table fills up, you can quickly find what you need by using Find. Open the Big Ticket Items contact, click anywhere in the body, then press F4. Type whatever you’re looking for in the resulting Find what box and press Enter.)
|5/15/2008||HP Laptop, Best Buy|
|5/29/2008||Office Telephone, Office Depot – ATT|
|8/6/2008||Luggage at TJ Maxx|
|8/23/2008||Headset for ATT phone, Office Depot|
|8/29/2008||Took iPhone back and got BlackBerry, AT&T|
What system have you developed that works for you? Let us know.