Keeping records of your receipts can feel soooo tedious.
Can’t I just bin them dammit, I hear you cry!
All those bits of paper in my purse, wallet, pockets, handbag, everywhere!
[Tweet “Receipts are a core part of your records & you’re legally obliged to keep them”]
Receipts are a core part of your records and you’re legally obliged to keep them.
There’s no escaping it.
Even if you have a virtual assistant or bookkeeper helping you there is still some you need to do yourself.
The good news?
What you can do is save your time and save your sanity and make the task as quick and simple as possible, even with automated backups.
How’s that for awesomeness?
Use these tips and tricks to save yourself hours of hassle.
1. Ask For A Receipt
Most purchases give you a receipt or confirmation of payment automatically. Create a habit of asking for every business related purchase when you may not automatically receive one.
Cafes and pubs are a good example. My local cafe owners are now trained to give me a receipt and I don’t need to ask any more.
Keep electronic receipts in an email folder and set up filters for regular purchases and Paypal.
Keep paper receipts until you get home/your office and then immediately transfer them to an envelope, or however you keep them (Evernote is a great way and I teach clients how to automate most of the process).
2. Keep It Business Only
Segregate personal purchases from business purchases.
Be the person who has 2 transactions and 2 receipts and irritates everyone by holding up the queue.
Believe me, once you’ve spent the few hours separating out the figures when you do your spreadsheet, you won’t want to be doing that again. Time not well wasted, you need The Poke for that (or cat videos).
If you’re online, put in 2 orders.
There are always occasions when this isn’t possible and don’t stress about those. We know you’re perfect but your receipts can’t always be.
3. Annotate! Annotate! Annotate!
Don’t get exterminated by the Receipt Dalek.
At the time or as soon as you can, write on the receipt:
– what it’s for, who you met, why e.g. travel to meet One Man Band Accounting for coaching (I love me a subtle hint)
– if date/price/who you paid/how you paid isn’t included, add those details
It’s easy to do at the time, it can take a lot longer 6 months later.
You need enough detail so you can prove it was a business expense and whether it’s tax deductible (if it is). It takes 30 seconds to do and can save hours later.
Sometimes you need to add details to receipts that appear complete. I wasted 2 hours one tax year because Premier Inn hadn’t put the name of the hotel I stayed at on the receipt, just a number and they took a few emails and phone calls before I wangled it out of them. Google can’t do everything.
Are you one of those people who has lots of pockets of ‘dead’ time?
This task is perfect for that. I’m talking about waiting for your daughter to finish Brownies, waiting at the doctor’s, waiting for your boyfriend to finish in the bathroom so you can finally go out.
Have you read Getting Things Done by David Allen? Add this to your list to feel super productive and smug.
4. Automated Backup
HMRC require you to have a minimum of one back up and at least 2 backups if you scan and then destroy paper records.
[Tweet “Automate your accounts records with Dropbox & Evernote”]
Automate your accounts records with Dropbox & Evernote and your phone.
It’s not difficult, especially if you have a helpful supportive person to talk you through the process of what you need to do, what you don’t need to do, and how it will work for you and your business, and not some generic solution you spend ages trying to figure out (again, that’ll be me doing the helping. I’m really ace at it).
Set up an automated back up of your email for electronic receipts (you back up your email yes?). If you have a virtual assistant or bookkeeper you can give them access so they can do it for you.
Putting your receipts into a spreadsheet or accounting software is data entry.
It can be deeply tedious and I admit this is the one element of my accounts that I procrastinate badly about! Yes, I do it too.
I get the task done by scheduling procrastination time in my diary and then scheduling Receipts Time With Cake. That’s when me and my receipts and some cake have some personal time together.
Together cake and I transform receipt caterpillars eating their way through my energy (and pooing all over my productivity) into a beautiful spreadsheet butterfly.
[Tweet “Write 5 Ways To Save Time Doing Your Receipts on an index card & put it on your desk”]
Write 5 Ways To Save Time Doing Your Receipts on an index card and put it on your desk.
Add a doodle of a piece of cake or a glass of wine to remind you why you’re doing this (and cause you need to, and it gives you the opportunity to make kick ass spending decisions).
Email me if you’d like to explore creating a record-keeping system that works and how you can personalise saving time doing receipts and get a kick ass work financial work flow going.
How do you save time doing your receipts?
Update with what’s happening with me:
We’re all well and moving on after my father in law’s death in August and dealing with all the things that need to happen after a bereavement.
I spoke at CEO Mums this month and founder and business coach Nicola spoke about quality of life. It was well timed for me and I’ll be taking time for the worksheets she shared to clarify my desires and goals for myself and my business. I was really happy that I was an 8 out of 10 when she asked the group what our quality of life is. I couldn’t have been that clear a few months ago, I was too stressed. I will continue to take more time for myself and less time for ‘busy’ work from now on. Busy work, you know the things you do that don’t get you anywhere and you do because you must be doing something?
I have some fabulous guest posts coming up in the next few months from some new names you may not have heard of, and some of the bigger names. I wanted to share with you real stories from real businesses, warts and all, so whether you’re yet to take the leap to self employment, are new or established, it’s so valuable to read and relate to others like us. I don’t usually have guest posts on my blog and taking time out to rebalance after 2 years of intense stress is a wonderful opportunity to do this for you.
Finally, I am so stoked that I’ve been recommended by one of Gina DeVee’s Academy members in her programme, which is incredible considering I’m already recommended in Marie Forleo’s B-School by members there. Wow!
(and I haven’t made a fuss about it yet but between you and me, I’m one of Marianne Cantwell’s Free Range Humans experts in her Mini MBA!)
What have you been doing that amazes you how this dream actually happened? 😀