This is the fourth December of the FileSlinger™ Backup Reminder. That leaves me wondering whether I can say anything new on the subject of making special end-of-year copies of your financial and business data to put with your tax archives. In any case, since not everyone has been reading since 2003, it won’t hurt to start with a little review.
If you already create yearly archives of your paper files for tax purposes, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what needs to go onto your year-end backup CD or DVD. (And remember: use brand-name media for anything that needs to last, and don’t use rewritable CDs or DVDs for archiving, especially if you’ve written and erased data from them before.) You can also keep year-end copies on a network drive or external hard drive, but it’s easier to put CDs into the same files as your paper. (Put them in jewel cases first to protect them from dust and scratches.)
In Quicken for Windows, this function is found under File|File Operations|Year-End Copy.
For more help with archiving financial data, see About Financial Software.
If you filed your 2005 taxes online or used tax-preparation software, be sure to put a copy of the returns onto a CD with your 2005 files.
You definitely want to keep copies of contracts. While old-fashioned contracts require signatures and usually manifest on paper, these days contracts often go back and forth as PDF files and e-mail messages can act as contracts. Make sure you have copies of these in case you need to refer to them or to re-negotiate them.
And that’s it for this week’s backup reminder. I do recommend making your year-end backups before the New Year’s Eve party, rather than after, at least if you plan to celebrate in the traditional manner. Computing under the influence may not be illegal, but it can be dangerous.