For many people, bookkeeping is a loathsome duty. Few people are good at it, and even fewer people actually enjoy it.
If you’re not one of those few, here are five easy-to-implement changes that can make your bookkeeping process more efficient:
- Only handle a piece of paper once, twice at the most. Don’t keep shuffling your papers. Develop a system where you only move every piece of paper once or twice.For example, if you have a receipt or an invoice, record it in your books and file it immediately. Or have a temporary place to store your more common papers, and then set aside a day of the week to record and file them all at once.
- Don’t try to go it alone. It’s okay to look for help. If you’re likely to do more harm than good when it comes to your company’s books, it may be more efficient for you to hire a bookkeeper or to outsource that function to a contractor. It’s worth the extra investment up front in order to have your books both up to date and organized when it comes time to file your tax return. Your accountant will spend less time completing your taxes, which in turn will cost you less.
- Don’t procrastinate. Getting behind on bookkeeping is one of the worst things you can do. Make it a priority.The chaos that accumulates on your desk will discourage you from getting organized. Set aside a certain amount of time each day or each week to stay on top of all your papers. By keeping your books up to date, you’ll also have a better picture of your company’s financial health.
- Use an accounting software package to help keep you organized. Most programs can also help you with your billing and banking needs. Several examples are QuickBooks, Xero, Wave, Outright, and WorkingPoint.
- Scan receipts. You should keep each and every receipt, both for your own tax preparation purposes and in case you get audited in the future.If the idea of storing receipts for several years doesn’t appeal to you, consider scanning your receipts. You can scan each receipt and file them into clearly labeled folders – “Office Expenses” or “Advertising,” for example. You can also use a device that will scan and read your receipt, making it easier to find what you need. NeatReceipts markets a software that extracts necessary information from receipts.
Simplifying your bookkeeping process is absolutely necessary. If the process is complicated, you are less likely to do it. Spend a little time on it every day, and you will be organized in no time at all.
Amy Kirkegaard is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics, including social media, online reputation management, and processing credit cards. She previously worked in marketing and human resources for an oilfield equipment manufacturer.