It’s a month into a new decade, stop making your life difficult and do something different. If what you did last year, last week, yesterday, or even two-hours ago did not work well, do something different. As simple as this sounds, the act of varying our habits and patterns can be hard to do. But I bet that mounting anxiety over the pile of paperwork is uncomfortable as well. Don’t want to be anxious? This bears repeating… Stop making your life difficult and do something different.
Doing something different first starts with recognizing which end of the spectrum you fall on. You either like dealing with the financial/administrative aspects of your business or you don’t. If you do- you could do something as simple as creating a folder system for each category of receipts and records. If you don’t, you could do something more complex such as installing a financial tracking system and hiring a bookkeeper/accountant to manage your books for you. Whatever it is that you choose, make sure that it supports you and the way that you do business.
Create a System
Do not make this difficult because you will not stick with it. Start with where you are. Set aside time, figure out how you work and when you are best able to deal with the money aspects of your businesses. If you are looking at piles of receipts, invoices, paperwork and a financial record backlog from 2010, start by creating a color-coded folder or binder system. Create a tab for each category of expense and have a folder called “revenue” where you place all of your client contracts and invoices. As the paperwork comes up, put it in its proper place. The ideal situation is that you would enter the items in your tracking tool (such as FreshBooks) on a frequent basis. Another awesome option is to invest in a Neat Scanner and scan all of your receipts. The great thing about the Neat Scan is that it uses a special technology that will categorize your receipts based on your scan.
Get Some Help
If your business is making money and you feel that your time is better spent on what you are good at and/or you just don’t have the patience to deal with your paperwork, get some help. The best advice I give to clients, particularly if you have the resources to do so is to hire a part time or contract business manager. If money is a concern in terms of paying for assistance, here is how you can get premium help for a lower cost:
- Invest money in paying someone to set your business up on a system. This could be an accountant, a financial consultant or a really skilled bookkeeper. They exist. Ask for referrals from your business buddies.
- For the day-to-day maintenance, consider hiring an upper level undergraduate or graduate student (they can always use the extra money) OR reach out to a retired person. There are so many retirees out there who have GREAT skills and would love the opportunity to contribute to a fresh and growing business.
- At the end of the year, take all of your organized records, statements etc to your trusty tax preparer and have them complete your tax return. If you have employees, strike a deal to complete your monthly filings, quarterly statements and year-end returns.
Financial disorganization will make or keep you broke. In this New Year, make it a priority to mind your own business.
Evelyn Bandoh is the founder of EAB Creative Planning Services, LLC – a company that provides strategic, business and financial advising for creative businesses. EAB offers workshops, has a blog and has a nifty service called “Get Your Tax Together” which helps small businesses get their receipts & paperwork in order.