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Get organized! Creating SOP manual is easier than you think

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training,Office Management,Office Organizer,Records Retention

If Angie Fuller hadn’t discovered the Standard Operating Procedure manual her predecessor left, she wouldn’t have known how to do her job.

“My predecessor left the day I started,” says Fuller, who is the community outreach and development coordinator at the Allen Foundation. “It was like being thrown into the fire. I didn’t know what my responsibilities were.”

Once she’d settled into her new position, she began updating the SOP manual to accurately reflect her evolving role. That way, if she ever left her job—even for a weeklong vacation—someone else could easily take over.

Poor records management can cost you time, deplete your profits and expose your organization to compliance actions and legal liability. Develop a sound records management strategy with the step-by-step instructions you'll find in
Taming the Paper Monster: Records Management, Compliance and File Security

Follow Fuller’s tips to create an SOP manual for your role:

Use an existing format.
“Not having a format to start with is a barrier,” she says. “A fear exists—‘What if I do this wrong?’—so people don’t start at all. I was lucky: Some of the pages had already been done when I started.”

Jot down tasks you do during a typical day, week, month, quarter and year, as you think of them.“Then, just take one at a time and type out what you do to complete the task. When finished, start a new one,” Fuller suggests.

Tip: If time is an issue, mark which tasks on your list are more important and do those first.

In Taming the Paper Monster you'll get:
  • Guidelines to develop a management plan for your company's records.
  • Charts listing government recordkeeping requirements your organization must comply with.
  • Resources for organizing your company's records.
  • A complete record retention schedule telling you what to keep and for how long, based on the type of business you conduct.
Taming the Paper Monster: Records Management, Compliance and File Security

Create separate pages for each duty you perform, listing how often to do it, what steps to take, who can answer questions and where to find any necessary documents.

Include even small tasks. Example: Fuller says, “I think it’s second nature to get the mail each day, but my co-workers depend on me delivering and receiving the items from the mail room twice a day at certain times, so I included the times in my procedure manual.”

Be more detailed than you think you need to be. “It will benefit your replacement,” she says. For example, in Fuller’s manual, pages that cover fundraising procedures and data entry are extremely detailed.

“A tip that was given to me once was that if a 12-year-old could follow the instructions and do a task right, then it was detailed enough,” she says.

Tip: For each task document you create, have a co-worker follow your instructions. If he can do the task flawlessly, you’ve done your job.

Use it to manage workload. Fuller says the manual has “saved a ton of headaches for me. I know I can go on vacation, and the critical jobs will be done without me, and I won’t have stacks of work when I return.”

Every company needs a records management system that works from them. With Taming the Paper Monster, you'll be able to develop the right system for your organization. Learn:
  • Which records your company must retain indefinitely.
  • Which documents you should NOT keep on file.
  • How to establish a recordkeeping policy that your company can live with.
  • How to reduce file storage by 90% or more!
  • New high-tech storage options that can save you space, time and money.
Taming the Paper Monster: Records Management, Compliance and File Security

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

BMD Editors June 6, 2012 at 2:21 pm
Desiree May 29, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Can I get the link to the SOP Manual. It looks like people have been able to get it via these comments, but I don’t see a link in them anywhere. Thank you!


BMD Editors March 23, 2012 at 2:52 pm

We are offering a FREE download of our SOP manual in honor of Administrative Professionals Week. Please visit


Linda Verner March 20, 2012 at 11:44 am

Unable to access the SOP Manual link and would appreciate your forwarding me the download.


Carol March 22, 2012 at 9:14 am

Could you please send me the SOP link?


Linda De Leon February 21, 2012 at 7:37 pm

No link for the downloadable SOP


Windy Halsey February 20, 2012 at 11:49 am

The link for SOP manual does not take you to the location to download a copy.


Debbie Lyons January 17, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Unable to access the manual as referenced in Administrative Professional Today. Please send the link.

Thank you.


Becky Chwialkowski January 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Still haven’t received the downloadable SOP. Please send. Thank you!


Tauriainen Engineering and Testing December 16, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Cannot access the manual either. I would like the correct link to access this manual. Thank you!


Michele December 2, 2011 at 9:15 am

Thanks for the link!!


Suella December 1, 2011 at 12:54 pm

It was noted in a newsletter I subscribe to:


Bobbie McDowell November 30, 2011 at 6:12 pm

Cannot access Fuller’s SOP manual with the link listed in the article. Would you please send me the correct link. Thank you.


Michele November 29, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Cannot access the SOP manual either. Would love to see it. Please send correct link. Thanks!


Margaret November 28, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Ditto! Cannot access Fuller’s SOP manual with the link listed in the article. Please advise.
Thank You.


Becky Chwialkowski November 28, 2011 at 10:49 am

The link for SOP Manual does not take you to the location to download a copy of Fuller’s SOP manual as noted in your Administrative Professional Today magazine. Please send the correct link. Thank you!


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