When it comes to keeping better records, it usually boils down to a few things: Cutting through the clutter and simplifying the process. In this post I am sharing five steps to move you through getting the records organized and making them easy to access.
Resource 1: Scanner
One piece of equipment that every entrepreneur should have if they want to be more productive is a scanner. A scanner is essential to saving time in bookkeeping. A convenient feature that many manufacturers have now is the option to save scans as pdf. This format is ideal because you can open it with the free Adobe Reader. If this program is not already on your computer you can download it here.
Resource 2: Memory Device
There are several ways to save scans. One way is to scan to your computer by connecting with a USB cord. Depending on the type of scanner you have, another option may be scan to a network folder (see your scanner,s instruction manual for details). If you are using a newer model then you likely have the option to scan to a flash drive. This is my favorite time saving feature because there are no wires, internet connection, or software involved.
Resource 3: Filing System
Once you have the source documents scanned, you are ready to organize the information. Save time by organizing the folders on your computer hard drive so that it mirrors the folders in your physical filing system. Some categories that you can include are: Customer Invoices and Sales Receipts, Vendor Bills and Payments, Banking, Credit Cards, and Loan Statements.
Resource 4: Online Storage
Next you will need an online storage account. Here is where you upload and store the copies of your scans. When you are ready for the accounting to begin send a link to your online folder with your accountant.
Tip: There are many online storage providers but I like Dropbox best because of how simple and convenient it is for non-techies to use.
Resource 5: Due Date Reminders
Last, but not least, set a standing appointment on your calendar each month with your accountant. An online tool that works well for helping you to remember is called Remember The Milk. In my practice, for example, I recommend setting due date alerts for when to scan documents, when to share folders, and to alert me that they are complete. By using these recurring reminders it takes a lot of the pressure off of decreases the amount of time that clients fall behind in work.
As with anything in life, having routines in business can improve follow-through. Do you have a regular routine for record-keeping that truly rocks?
Leave a comment and share your best record-keeping tips below.