First published on the ABN Her Business Blog
In order to keep on top of your business paperwork, you need a system for keeping it organised all of the time; a maintenance program.
Maintenance must occur regularly, preferably weekly, regardless of who is doing it. Schedule a regular appointment with yourself (or your bookkeeper) to get it all sorted. Let’s say every Wednesday at 10am. Wednesday is selected because you have to pay employees anyway so you may as well do it all at once!
So what is required to maintain your paperwork?
1. Your paperwork needs a home before it’s entered into your accounting software. For this example we’ll assume that you enter all supplier invoices before being paid.
2. This means you need a home for:
a. Supplier invoices to be entered
b. Supplier invoices paid
c. Supplier statements
d. Customer invoicing information (if invoiced after the fact) OR
e. Daily register and EFTPOS receipts (for retail)
f. Bank statements
3. I have always found that manilla files work well for a, b, c and d above. Bank statements should be kept in your financials folder.
4. With daily register and EFTPOS receipts from a cash register (or POS) I recommend an envelope to keep them in one place. Just write the date on the top left hand corner. This can usually be kept near your register so that at the end of each week, that week’s envelopes can be transferred to your office after completing the reconciling process.
5. When Wednesday comes around take your manilla files and:
a. Enter your supplier invoices
b. Apply payments made to supplier invoices
c. Process customer invoices or cash register sales information
d. Reconcile bank and credit card statements
e. Make payments to suppliers – you should always have a day that you pay them
f. Pay your employees (if you have any)
6. Now, how does that feel? Great, doesn’t it? All sorted and empty manilla files! You do have to repeat the process next week but if you follow this method it is much easier to keep on top of your paperwork.
7. On a monthly basis you will need to check your supplier statements against your system. You will also need to reconcile your bank, loan and credit card accounts (this could be done weekly).
8. The maintenance program above will only work if you’re willing to commit to the process. If you’re not willing to do it then look around for someone to do this for you and get them to commit to this weekly process. Really be honest with yourself here – let’s face it, you can probably earn a lot more money doing what you do best than spending your time doing a job that a bookkeeper can do much quicker and probably much cheaper than your hourly rate.