How to Keep Business Records Organised - Useful Tools
Bookkeeping, although it may sound boring to some, especially if they’re not professional bookkeepers like we are, is crucial to your business’s success. No, it’s not an exaggeration. Yes, you need to keep your business records as a legal requirement and this may not sound very exciting, but proper bookkeeping is much more than only this.
➡️ How do you know where your money is being spent on?
➡️ How can you cut unnecessary costs if your business records aren’t organised?
➡️ How can you make right business decisions if you can’t see a big picture of your income and expenses?
➡️ How can you save on tax if you don’t have proof of your business transactions?
Proper bookkeeping can provide you with crucial information about your business and help you succeed. But what is the best way to keep business records that will at the same time not eat your precious time? Let’s look into this.
The basic rule about proper bookkeeping
There are different methods of record keeping in business. Don’t implement them all. Good bookkeeping practices don’t involve using as many great tools as possible. This is only going to confuse you and everyone in the business and will actually make things messier. Bookkeeping processes aren’t about the quantity; they’re about the quality and efficiency in the first place, so your focus should be here.
First of all, decide on a final destination for your business records. You need one place where all your business records will be stored. Don’t be tempted to keep them in several locations.
Places where you can store your business records:
- Your PC/laptop – This can only work if it’s only you in your business, it won’t work for teams. Also, make sure you do regular backups of your business records, otherwise you can lose them one day.
- Accounting software– Accounting software let you keep your business records as attachments with each transaction. For paper copies you would need to take photos on your phone and scan them. You can use accounting software apps to help you with this.
- Cloud storage– for example, Google Drive, Dropbox, One Drive. You can create a folder structure that will be easy to understand and navigate through. Make sure that you give access to these folders to the employees involved in the bookkeeping or to your bookkeeper.
- Document processing software– they can be integrated with your accounting software. A bit more about these will be explained later in this article.
Our expert bookkeepers in Oxford strongly advise against keeping your business records in a shoe box or something similar. They can be easily destroyed, lost while moving houses, and the ink on little receipts from shops just fades away and you can’t read them later anyway. Also, if you’re VAT registered, you actually have to keep digital records anyway under Making Tax Digital rules.
Once you decide on a final storage for your business records, you can implement tools that will help you with your bookkeeping processes.
Tools to help you keep business records organised
Xero accounting software
Xero accounting software has a section called Files where you can organise your business records. You can create a meaningful folders structure, so it’s easy for you to find documents. What is also great about Xero accounting software is that you can easily email your business records straight from your inbox. This works great when you receive digital invoices form your suppliers, because all you have to do is email them to your unique email address and they will appear in your Files in Xero. You can also set an auto-forward and these emails will be sent there automatically.
Hubdoc is something more than only a storage for your business records. It’s a document processing software. It’s a Xero product but it can be used with QuickBooks as well. You can email your business records to Hudboc similar to how Xero accounting software works. It also comes with an app you can use on your phone.
But- and here comes a big surprise- it can also read your documents! Yes, it can read the information like VAT rates, suppliers’ names, invoice dates etc and streamline your bookkeeping. You can then later review this information and with just one click publish it to your accounting software or use an auto-publish feature. Hubdoc then organises your documents into separate folders (one supplier is one folder).
That’s not everything. Hubdoc also lets you connect to other suppliers, subject to availability, and automatically fetch the invoices from them to your Hubdoc account. So for example, if you use GiffGaff or British Gas, you don’t have to log separately into these accounts to get your bills. All will be imported for you and then you can finish your bookkeeping.
Dext (old Receipt Bank)
Dext is another document processing software that works similarly to Hubdoc. It can store your business records, analyse them and automate your bookkeeping with automated rules. It also has an app you can download on your phone and take photos of your receipts and communicate via it with your bookkeeper.
Zapier isn’t a bookkeeping tool. It’s an automation tool that helps you integrate different software and minimise your manual input. It can be a very useful tool for your bookkeeping processes. You could, for example, create a connection between your email and your Google Drive and let Zapier save business records for you. There are lots of options here, so it’s worth trying it, as it can really help streamline bookkeeping in your business.
Joanna Bookkeeping can help you with implementing bookkeeping systems and processes. We support both Oxford businesses as well as businesses from other parts of the UK. Just get in touch with our professional bookkeepers in Oxford and have a friendly chat about bookkeeping services we can offer.
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