What is a Knowledge File?
Well there are many types of knowledge files and a number of them will probably be mentioned at various times on the blog, but today I am talking about ‘on the job knowledge’ and things that you learn from research, industry news and more experienced members of staff.
I have built up shelves of knowledge files which I have categorized based on the type of work I am doing (particularly if it is not something I do day to day and might need to refer back to in the future).
So if this is a long-term practice – what prompted this post?
Last week I spent half an hour on the phone to HMRC being passed from department to department from helpline to helpline. I am not a tax expert or a tax advisor. I am not even great with numbers. However, an understanding tax is ancillary yet important to my job and while most of it is standard I keep a file of handy information that I might need to refer to in the future, particularly if I might need to double check the wording or requirements of a particular tax relief for example. Last week I reorganised my tax file.
An example using my Tax File:
My tax file (which is of course an ongoing project) is currently set up in a lever arch file with the following sections:
- Contact Details (Helplines and Addresses)
- Standard Procedures (Guide for dummies)
- HMRC Guidance Printouts (which are then split into sub-categories)
- HMRC Forms and Checklists including worked examples
- Training Materials (and other advice)
- Copies of Research (for more complex points)
- News and Updates including online articles (to keep up to date)
- Company Procedures
- Legislation and other guidance (from other sources not HMRC)
- Historic Material (outdated updates)
The file provides an easy reference when my boss or a client asks for more information and when I need to explore a tax point further in my day to day job. This file works for now, but I anticipate that I will need to expand so that I have different sections for different types of tax.
So yes, this type of file is specific to my job and what I do – but it makes a great and more importantly unique resource which makes my job so much easier as I don’t waste time checking the same point – and my boss knows he can ask.
Action Point: create knowledge files for your job.