This weeks post is another guest post from the awesome Carrie of localledgersllc.com! She is giving all of us actionable tips to make sure we are not making our bookkeepers and accountants pull their hair out when tax season rolls around, which for most of us is right now!
Does bookkeeping for your business make you panic, hyperventilate and even feel a little nauseous? Believe it or not, it doesn’t have to be that way?
Hopefully these 4 simple steps will give you a framework to follow so that you can provide your bookkeeper what he or she needs to do their main job, free up your time. Say Good-bye to number stress!
STEP ONE-Separate Bank Accounts
Separate your two spaces, business and personal. Open a business checking account and business credit card account that is only used for business. This is the most important step since all of your business transactions flow through your bank account. If all of your business transactions are in one account, you never have to sort out expenses, try to figure out what is what or stress about missing valuable deductions. Keeping it separate, eliminates that stressful step of having to decide if it was business or personal because that decision was made at the time of purchase.
STEP TWO-Keep Receipts
Keep and organize receipts. This may sound daunting and overwhelming but if you follow a few simple steps with each and every receipt, your bookkeeping will be a breeze.
- Create 4 folders on your Google Drive with Q1 2017, Q2 2017, Q3 2017 and Q4 2017 (this could also be done with Dropbox) You can do this for each month if your bookkeeping is done monthly.
- Label 4 file folders them Q1 2017, Q2 2017, Q3 2017 and Q4 2017
- When you make an in person business purchase, take a photo of receipt.
- Immediately send the photo directly from your phone along with any necessary notes- like who was at the meal and what was discussed, what was purchased - to your Google Drive and into your receipts folder for the current Quarter
- Online receipts should be sent to the Google Drive folders as well
- Put physical receipts in your file folders marked for Q1-4 2017 ( you will need these in case of an audit)
STEP THREE-Stay on top of money owed to you.
Stay on top of who owes you money. No matter what your invoicing system is, make sure that your clients/customers pay you. The older the invoice the less chance they are to pay. If an invoice is past due, send a quick email reminder to them. In most cases, paying the invoice just slipped their mind. Your reminder will most likely get a quick payment. If that doesn’t work, give them a quick phone call. Collections Tip: be sure to keep it positive when you are reminding them to pay. We don’t want to offend or embarrass anyone. “Dear Client; I hope all is well with you. I just noticed that I have not received payment on our last invoice #xxx. Did you have any questions on the invoice? Thank you,” I also put Past Due invoice in the subject line.
STEP FOUR-Set a reminder due date to send to bookkeeper
Close out your Quarter as quickly as possible. If you send your data to your bookkeeper quarterly, set a reminder; on the 5th day of the month after the quarter ends to send information to bookkeeper. As soon as you send it off to your bookkeeper it is off your “to do” list. Your bookkeeping can be sent off to your bookkeeper in less than 15 minutes:
- download bank statements for the quarter to your Google Drive Q1 folder
- download credit card statements for the quarter to your Google Drive Q1 folder
- share Q1 folder on your Google Drive with your bookkeeper.
DONE, Bam, Celebrate!
Everyone’s businesses are different and their bookkeeping needs are different. Some business owners prefer to have someone take complete charge of all of their bookkeeping from invoicing, to paying bills to running custom reports and some just want someone to classify their expenses and give them a spreadsheet. Bookkeepers should be flexible to meet your needs and provide services that fit best with you and your business. There are also several software accounting programs that business owners can use to help them with their own bookkeeping. I recommend QBO (Quickbooks Online-$15 per month), Wave (Free) and Xero ($9).
Not sure about where to start with your bookkeeping needs? Let’s chat and find the best solution for you. Not ready to hire a bookkeeper? I am launching some bookkeeping tutorials and trainings this summer on general bookkeeping, QB-online, Xero and Wave. Sign up for my email list at localledgersllc.com to learn more.
Carrie is a bookkeeper with a passion for small businesses. During her time owning a restaurant, she really came to appreciate how important it is to support local companies and the impact that it has on everyone. Helping small business owners calm the chaos and make sense of their numbers makes her smile.