We try to keep things as simple as possible for our clients – we want their lives to run smoothly when it comes to their finances, so here are three very gentle suggestions that we think might help our folks when it comes to how to keep good records – for you, and for us.
- 1. Set up a system!
Let us repeat that: set up a system for yourself! What kind of system? It doesn’t matter! You can use a special account book, a piece of software, an app, one credit card for all expenses, a place for all receipts – or! – you can come ask us for advice on different systems to use; we’ve got tons of ideas! The only important thing is – just get a system, any kind of system – and follow it! Even the good old “shoebox system” is better than nothing. Believe us, as your accountants/bookkeepers, we’re just grateful for any help we get!
- 2. Keep records throughout the year!
You would be astonished at how well documented February and March tend to be for most people! It’s like they don’t exist the rest of the year, but suddenly – around the end of January they come to life and suddenly start recording what they spend, bring in, etc. As you accountants/bookkeepers, we beg of you – do that for the other 10 months of the year as well! If you ask us – we’ll even remind you on a regular basis as part of our accounting services to you!
- 3. Keep your records for as long as required!
For bookkeepers and accounts, there are really only three kinds of people in the world: A) those who actually remember how long to keep records and actually keep them that long – e.g., 7 years – to indefinitely for tax returns. B) those who “forget” and throw away their receipts, W-2’s, last year’s tax returns etc. on a regular basis, and C) those who keep every shred of paper they every received in their lives; deposit slips from their first savings account opened in the 4th grade, receipts for baby items for children now in college, complete tax returns from the first year they ever filed taxes – at 16. Guess which ones are our favorite kinds of people?!