I always bang on about how important it is to keep track of your business income, expenses and receipts, so today I'm going to share three ways you can organise your bookkeeping records to comply with HMRC rules and make them easily accessible.
Whichever method you use, I recommend backing your records up separately on a hard drive as well, just in case something happens to them.
On your computer
This is how I personally prefer to store my bookkeeping records.
As you know, I use a spreadsheet to keep track of my business income and expenses, so this method works well to keep all my info together.
I have a folder on my computer just for admin, and in there is my bookkeeping folder, which has a folder for each tax year. Then inside, I'll have my income and expenses spreadsheet for that year and a folder for each month of the year where I saw all my invoices, receipts and bank statements.
I find that this works best for me because it makes it really easy to stay organised and access my records if I need them.
In a file
If you prefer to have hard copies of your records, the best way to keep a big old lever arch file for the tax year with a tab/separator for each month, print a copy of your income and expenses transactions each month and put all related documents in a plastic wallet behind it (or if you want to be super organised, you could split your invoices, expenses receipts etc. and statements into separate plastic wallets, too).
The issue with this method is that you need to keep your business bookkeeping records for about six years, so it isn't ideal in terms of space and you need to keep in mind that receipts tend to fade and become illegible after a while, so it's worth scanning them and having copies on your computer, too.
Accounting software is something I'm often asked about, and I am planning on writing a full blog post on which ones I recommend using and whether they're worth the cost.
Anyway, most accounting software will allow you to connect your bank account and automatically updates your records for you, which is amazing and will save you some time (although I recommend double-checking that everything is correct, as there can be glitches).
You can also upload your receipts and actually create your invoices using most software, and some have great mobile apps which allow you to do it on the go so you aren't carrying around loads of receipts until the next time you're at your desk.
In fact, some even track your mileage for you.
Keeping your bookkeeping records on accounting software works well as it takes minimal effort to stay organised and you can access your books from pretty much anywhere as most of them are cloud-based.
How do you organise your bookkeeping records?
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