Five super doable tips to make updating your financial records MUCH easier!

Written by  //  October 14, 2013  //  Daily Juice  //  6 Comments

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I know a lot of people really don’t like updating their financial records (bookkeeping etc). I’m not a huge fan either. It takes time and I’d rather be doing something else. But the information you get from it IS super-useful. Plus many of us just HAVE to do it, for tax reasons and the like.

If you’re not very organized the most painful part of the whole financial-records thing is finding the bloomin’ information. Especially info for stuff you’ve PAID for!

Here are some really simple things that I do to make THAT a bit easier.

1. Pay for as many things as possible by credit card, EFT or Paypal

I do this so that I have a record of all my purchases! That way I don’t forget anything! Plus if you use online accounting software like SAASU or Xero you can just import all your transactions with the push of a button or two.

2. Take a photo of cash payments

Sometimes you can’t avoid making a cash payment (‘tho I do try!). I’m still fearful of losing the invoice and forgetting the payment so I take a PHOTO  of it!

Here are some tips for doing the photo-thing:

A. As soon as you get your invoice/receipt give it a reference number. That way when you pop it in your financial records you’ll be able to trace back to the photo (and the original invoice – see later!). In an ideal world I’d just number my cash payments consecutively but I can never remember where I am up to so I use a system with dates in it. Today it’s 14 October 2013 so I’d number the first one 131014A and any more I do today would be 131014B etc. It’s a bit cumbersome but it works.

B. If I think I might forget what the invoice was for I also write that down on it too!

C. Once you’ve given the invoice a reference number take a photo of the it! I find it easiest to just store the photo in an album of “cash payments”. Though I sometimes get a little more organized and move them to an Evernote notebook.  Whatever you do with the photo my tip is to make it really easy! The more steps/logins etc you have the less likely you are to do it.

photo (24)

D. You can get an App to do this. I’ve tried a few but honestly I find my homemade little way easier.

3. Pop all your (referenced) cash receipts in a bag

Once a week I open my wallet and decant all my (referenced) cash receipts into a ziplock food bag. I usually have a bag for each month – just to save it from getting too full.

photo (25)

4. Credit card payments, paper invoice

You still need to keep the invoices for stuff you pay by credit card. So a housekeeping tip – you can use a ziplock bag for these too! Again I keep one for each month.

5. Electronic invoices

Any invoice that comes in an email I file in an email folder. I just call my folder FY14 (For financial year 2014). I start a new folder for each financial year. And that’s fine – you don’t need one for every month!

And that’s all the payment info I need, stored EASILY!

Yes, I could be more organized and store the invoices directly into neat A4 lever arch files. But you know what? I wouldn’t do it! I need super-simple! This way I have a record of all my payments and I have a simple way if storing my invoices ready for inputting into my accounting software.

When it comes to doing my monthly (or quarterly if I’m feeling lazy) accounts I know that I can just grab my photo album of cash Invoices and that will have all my cash payments in it. And  I can use my Credit Card/Bank Statements/Paypal for everything else. Nothing missing! If I need to go back to the original invoice to get some details I can, as they are all in my ziplock bags or email inbox!

This really SIMPLE , really DOABLE technique makes for a much calmer start to bookkeeping!

What are YOUR tips?!

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6 Comments on "Five super doable tips to make updating your financial records MUCH easier!"

  1. Jen Brown March 29, 2014 at 1:02 pm · Reply

    Oooh I love the zip lock bag idea. I’ve been stapling them inside a folder but it annoys me. I’ll give it a try from the start of April – thank you!

    • Diane Dick November 8, 2014 at 1:07 pm · Reply

      I love the sound of this zip lock bag. Easy and will make things more organised. At the moment I just keep all the cash receipts in one box and file them away when the box is too full!!

      Another habit I try to do is to enter my invoices/tax receipts daily into my accounting system, which means any that I need to run up credit cards for gets paid to my account by the next day. Also I send off receipts by email, and then everyone is happy.

  2. Louise September 23, 2014 at 7:52 am · Reply

    I like those ideas, photographing is easier than scanning which is what I do when I remember 🙂

    • Julia Bickerstaff September 23, 2014 at 8:18 am · Reply

      I’m so bad at remembering to scan too! Photos MUCH easier 🙂

  3. Suzanne December 1, 2014 at 6:36 pm · Reply

    I have a concertina folder numbered 1 – 14. Each section stores a month of paper reciepts. If I have made an electronic payment, I just put a note in.

    At the end of each month, I go through them, scan them and add them to my computer folder with all the email reciepts.

    I then add them to my accounting programme, and the paper receipts go into a polypocket in an A4 Folder, ready for the accountant. He gets a disc with the computer files too.

    The 2 spare pockets are used for things that need reviewing eg insurance, website fees, etc. I collect all the quotes and then review them. Or if I need new equipment, I write a note of the relevant spec so I can review it all together. (I used to bookmark web pages but found I had to wade through all the info each time I looked at it – this way, I just need to review the bits I’vehighlighted. I just put a temporary flag on them so I don’t miss the the date.

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