Keep Bookkeeping Nightmares At Bay With These Best Practices

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October 19, 2017
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Spreadsheets. Funny, how such a little word can send huge shivers down the spine. Nobody disputes the value of digital organisation. The horror stems from Excel’s strong association with bookkeeping – a process most business owners find bland, repetitive and stressful.

But like the washing-up or ironing, bookkeeping is, unfortunately, a very necessary chore. Nonetheless, its reputation as a turgid task is more to do with how people approach it, rather than what’s actually involved. By adopting smarter practices, bookkeeping actually becomes much more manageable. Here’s how to keep number-related nightmares at bay…

Assign bookkeeping time to your calendar

When your alarm jingles, you clamber out of bed. When the clock strikes 1pm, you grab some lunch. When work is complete, you pack your bag and head to the gym. Some habits are so deeply ingrained we barely have to think about them. When something becomes part of a routine, we tend to do it automatically.

By integrating just 30 minutes of bookkeeping time into your schedule, you’ll avoid a mad, frustrating rush at the end of the month. Set a daily alarm to remind yourself. Soon enough, bookkeeping will become a habit.

Upload your receipts digitally

On a good day, we revel in little money miracles, like finding a fiver stuffed away in a jacket pocket. But perhaps the greatest wonder of all is when you successfully store (and account for) all your paper receipts for the week.

The simple fact is this: paper receipts are too messy to manage on your own. Assigning a receipt spike or storage space is a sound idea, but even then they have a habit of going walkabout. From today, start uploading your purchases in a digital format. This will store them alongside all your other finance docs, improving organisation and accuracy.

Track tax liabilities

As a freelancer, you’ll almost certainly experience a situation whereby you’ll need to pay a particular party (be it HMRC or someone else) at a later date. Naturally, it’s easy to forget these debts exist – especially when you’re chasing your own clients for payments and signing off on bills and expenses.

However, tracking financial liabilities right now puts you in pole position when the taxman (or whoever) rightfully decides to ask for what you owe. Note down future payments as soon as you’re aware of them. This will allow you to put the necessary money aside, and amend your books accordingly.

Use the top tools and teams

For complete, stress-free bookkeeping solutions, we highly recommend FreeAgent. Many bookkeeping platforms exist, but this mobile-friendly software is by far the best. Ideal for freelancers, contractors or SMEs, FreeAgent lets you store all your documents in one convenient place online, allowing you to run your business and tidy your accounts from anywhere in the world.

If you’d like to learn more about freelance/contractor accounting, don’t hesitate to contact Bright Ideas on 0161 951 5305. We will do everything we can to address your concerns and help you stay on top of your finances.

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