Starting a business is one of the biggest leaps of faith anyone will ever take. The excitement of running a business for something you are passionate about is amazing and nothing can compete with elation felt when you receive that first lead or sale. Naturally this is just the beginning and any business owner wants to keep the momentum going.
When the excitement has subsided and the reality of running a business starts to creep in you will begin to hear whispers of “tax returns” or “self-assessment” from your fellow business owners. Your mind starts to wonder towards that ever-mounting pile of paperwork and receipts that have been staring at you from across the room. You know you have neglected them, they are waiting for you to pay them some form of attention.
It is at this point most people start to panic!
So here are our top tips to help you prosper with your paperwork:
Yes you heard us, sort everything in to piles. Stack your paperwork in orderly piles determined by the date. Organising your paperwork into monthly sections will help you break down what seems like a massive chore into bite size pieces.
Get more piles
Yes you heard us again. Split each month's pile into two piles; one for income and one for expenses. Keep your incoming and outgoings separate so that they are easier to process.
Digitalise your piles
Spreadsheets with their formulas and intelligent functionality can take the hard work out of tracking all your incomings and outgoings. Create a tab for each month and create a column for your income and a column for your expenses.
You could get all fancy with your spreadsheet but ultimately this is all the information you will need to provide to your accountant to be able to compile your accounts. If you are lucky, your bookkeeper or accountant may have a template you can use.
File your piles
Whilst some people will be more than happy to work in a fortress of piled up paperwork, living on the edge with the risk that at any point their leaning tower of paperwork could be knocked down at any moment... others are not.
We advise you to use a concertina file. Every month as you log the incomings and outgoings onto your spreadsheet, file the paper copy away in the corresponding month section of the file.
Don’t get lazy
Taking these small steps to organise your paperwork on a regular basis will in the long run save you a huge amount of time, and money.
How did does this save money we hear you ask?
The answer is simple. By being a little more organised, filing as you go along and keeping on top of your paperwork, you will ultimately save on bookkeeping and accounting costs. The average bookkeeper costs a minimum of £25 per hour, so do the maths and see how much you can save.
We know, pushing paper is not the most exciting task in the world and anything can be used as an excuse to put it off but we promise you, set aside a little time each month to catch up on paperwork and it will be worth it. That mad panic to try and get your accounts in order at year end will be a thing of the past!