We’ve all seen oodles of posts in the lead up to end of financial year – the mad rush to get your records sorted by end of June. But for little old me, I have three things that I do consistently all year that have me not doing the mad rush to get my financials under control and ensures I’m ready to submit that tax return on 1 July if I really wanted to (which usually you don’t as a small business owner – but for the calm knowing I’m sorted it’s worth it). Also, I don’t have a bookkeeper – I do all of my finances myself – but when the time comes to bring on some help with bookkeeping these three things will help the process to no end. And I’ll just highlight it here – I am NOT an accountant or bookkeeper, I’m just sharing what works for me as a small business owner.
And what’s interesting is these three actions I do here not only apply to your financials (because I really don’t like numbers and accounting and financials) but they are pillars for you to keep on top of various areas of admin within your business too!
So, what do I do you ask? Well here goes!
1. Save every invoice/receipt immediately to my electronic filing system
So many I know complete this task retrospectively after their accountant/bookkeeper comes looking for it. Trawling emails, digging through drawers, putting them through the scanner when you finally do find it. Me – none of that – every single time an invoice or a receipt comes through my email, I immediately save it to my Google Drive. Receipts for coffee with clients or too much stationery from an Officeworks trip – take a photo as soon as I get in the car with my mobile and save it to my Google Drive. Just this simple step takes away the oh where did I put that? And if you lose the paper copy, then it’s immediately backed up electronically in my Google Drive.
2. Reconcile my bank feeds weekly
Did I mention I hate accounting and numbers? Yes? Just wanted to make sure. So this step isn’t my favourite which is why I stick to my weekly appointment with myself to log in to my financial software and make sure I reconcile my bank feed and allocate any transactions that have gone in or out of the account and attach the copies of the receipts to the transactions (because I know where all of them are per step 1). Keeping on top of this weekly enables me to know how funds are looking at the current point in time and make any payments that need to be made or chase any invoices that are outstanding to be paid by clients.
3. Record my other expenses weekly
There are a number of expenses that aren’t captured in my accounting software directly (I use Wave but I believe Xero has the capability to record this information). Such things are recording kilometers for travelling to meetings and events (which are with my personal vehicle), tolls and parking (that are attached to my personal accounts) and other small expenses that are paid for out of my pocket that are classed as business claimable expenses. I have a Google Sheet that I keep a log of all of these items are recorded that I update each week so that I don’t have to sit down with my diary/calendar at the end of financial year and rack my brains to remember and record come tax time. This is done in conjunction with my bank feeds reconciliations so that I’m only having to remember the previous week’s activities and expenses.
That’s it, it’s those three habits that I have trained myself to do consistently throughout the year which enables me to book my appointment with my accountant 1 July every year if I want to. It gives me clarity around my business finances and removes all of the stress and anxiety around the end of financial year juggle that so many business owners find themselves in.
And as I mentioned – the same concepts apply to other parts of my business – marketing, document management, emails. Small manageable steps consistently throughout my year makes the big picture items all that much more manageable.
I’d love to hear from you if you have any hacks or tips you use to keep your financial records and accounting under control in your small business.