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How to organise your shoebox of receipts

bookkeeping in caulfield

Organising your taxes can be stressful.  Deadlines are looming and the accountant is starting to put pressure on you to get him the paperwork he needs. You haven't got yourself organised. The paperwork is in a drawer, maybe inside an bulging envelope. The panic starts to build up. Sounds familiar?

So how to start getting all this paperwork in a semblance that makes sense and reduces the time you need to spend processing it?

Start simple. As a bookkeeper, I've had this task to perform more than once.

Step 1 - Sort documents
My first task is to grab that envelope and tip out the contents. Separate invoices, receipts and anything else and put them in piles separated by month. 

Step 2 depends on how automated you are
The next step depends on how advanced your bookkeeping system is.  If your bookkeeping software automatically sync's the receipts, then all you really need to do is file each document in the relevant hard folder for future reference – particularly for tax office audit purposes.

For extra certainty you might like to check the receipt (etc) is in your system and if so, mark, stamp or tick it to indicate it correlates with your record within the software.

If you don’t yet have this level of automation, open a spreadsheet like Excel and create a worksheet for each month. In column A, enter each transaction's date, in column B, the name of Supplier, in column C, what was purchased, in column D the amount of the transaction, in column E, the GST component, in column F, the Account to allocate the expense to.

Consolidating your records
That's a very good start. It may be time consuming – particularly if using the latter method - but by the end of the sorting, you have a very good idea what you spent for the financial year. I would then gather the bank statements for the year, credit card statements if you've made business purchases from the credit card. If you have loans for cars or business equipment or anything associated with your business, then gather the loan statements.

If you use accounting software, most of the information you require is already in the system. If not, hand it over to your accountant, or preferably a bookkeeper. This is but one way of starting the process to organise your books. I'm sure other business owners have their own methods. If you would like further tips on how get organised this time of year, please let me know. I'd only be too happy to assist you.

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