5 Ways to Simplify Your Bookkeeping

Stop the madness!

It’s a crazy busy time of year for most of us, including in your business. You probably find yourself doing everything except paying attention to your bookkeeping. While December is sometimes a slower month for consultants because people are focused on spending money on gifts instead of services, it’s a critical time for your accounting. You want to make sure your books are up to date before you do your taxes.

I get that the holidays create chaos in your life. They do in mine, too. If you’re like me, you’re juggling school events, family gatherings, gift buying, sorting through the endless mail, and, oh yeah, trying to remember to do your work somewhere in there, too. It can be exhausting!

Despite all the nuttiness, let’s sit down and talk about 5 ways your can simplify your bookkeeping in December and get you on track for year end.

1. Schedule your bookkeeping tasks

This probably seems obvious, but developing a set program for your daily, weekly and monthly bookkeeping ‘to do’s can be a huge help. You can get that guilt monkey off your back when you know that Mondays are for checking your cash accounts, Fridays are for getting out invoices, etc. I like to keep any eye on cash at least a couple of times a week to make sure there aren’t any unexpected glitches. Buying client gifts this month? Staying on top of your cash is even more important as year end approaches. Will you have a lot of write-offs this year? Checking your Accounts Receivable regularly will get you up to speed on your revenue projections.

2. Move to online platforms

I might be preaching to the choir here but I still have to say it. It’s time to ditch your green ledger book or that excel spreadsheet you spent so many hours lovingly building. While these bookkeeping systems work, they are time consuming and more prone to error than today’s solutions. There are tons of accounting options you can choose from that allow you immediate, secure access at any time, from anywhere in the world. Added bonus: many are fully integrated so you don’t have to manage multiple programs to know exactly where your business stands.

Want to spend a month in Thailand? Go for it! With subscription-based programs like QuickBooks Online (QBO) or Xero you can stay on top of your books while you’re enjoying your trip. You pay a reasonable monthly fee and never have to worry about shelling out thousands again in two years to stay up to date with tax tables. Upgrading your accounting to the 21st century will free up a ton of your time plus you’ll know it’s always protected.

3. Send invoices automatically

In today’s digital world, most people expect electronic communications. A great way to streamline your bookkeeping process is to set up your accounting system to automatically send out your invoices when you create them. It will put the burden of the transaction squarely on your client’s shoulders by placing it front and center of their inbox. You’ll also get to speed up your A/R to cash time frame. Who doesn’t love that? If your clients save their receipts electronically, emailing them your invoice will save them the step of scanning it back in to their system, too. Win-win!

Not sure how to send invoices and receipts electronically? If you’re using an online platform, chances are it’s easy to do. Just go to your help section if you get stuck.

4. Consolidate your receipt collection

Speaking of receipts…how are your keeping yours? If you’re anything like most of us, you have a variety of electronic information plus a bunch of paper documents, perhaps in a crumpled mess at the bottom of your bag. A great way to make your life way easier when it comes to keeping your receipts is to use a program like Hubdoc. You can organize your data so it’s easy to retrieve (super important) and you can even use it to create expense entries in your accounting system. I like it because you can get your receipts into the system in a variety of ways (email, snap a photo and upload, drag & drop from your desktop, etc.).

I sit down once a week, go through my emails and purse and upload everything. That way I know:

  1. I’ve captured all my receipts (important for the audit trail), and
  2. It gets automatically entered into my QBO system, so all I have to do is match everything up with my bank feeds.

If you haven’t started moving entirely to an electronic record system yet, now’s the time! Get yourself set up before year end and everything will be nice and organized for year end.

5. Utilize your mobility options

A fantastic way to further streamline your bookkeeping to dos is taking advantage of fully integrated systems that you can manage from your phone or tablet. Need to verify a receipt? Grab your smart phone and check that when it’s hitting your bank account. Wondering whether your tax return was processed? Jump onto your state or the federal system and take a look.

Taking a few minutes to think through your accounting process and setting up your mobile device with the proper apps or website links can save you a ton of time. Plus you get to enjoy the added benefit of doing business on the go!

Set up, plan, execute, & repeat!

Despite this hectic time, taking a few minutes to implement a few of these suggestions (or all of them!) will help keep your business on track during a busy time. I know you want your books to be ready to go for your accountant, so why not give them (and yourself by extension) a little love this season and start using great online tools and procedures to streamline your business?

There are so many great options out there these days. I’d love to talk with you about them! If you have any questions or comments, let me know below; I’ll get back to you right away.

Disclaimer: I am not receiving any incentives for the programs I reference. I use them with my clients and for my own business and have found them to be useful tools.

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