I recently set up QB for a client and over the course of entering and reconciling a years worth of data I found that 40% of the information I entered was found on bank statements. She thought she was a great hoarder of receipts, but that was not the case. The main culprit was online transactions.
We live in an electronic era. Not all of us get around to printing out the email or invoice related to the online transaction. The good news is that there is a paper trail related to these transactions on your bank and credit card statements. The key is to link these transactions to expense categories when your statements come in to maximize on tax write-offs. One of my clients provides me with annotated credit card and bank statements so I can match up the transactions with an expense category. It’s worked pretty well so far.
Another unsolved mystery to work through is cash transactions. In this case we aren’t so lucky. There is no back up system to figure out the difference between cash earned and cash deposited when you don’t keep track. If you are bad at keeping receipts, make a point of depositing your cash ASAP. Use your business credit or debit card instead of cash.
It’s hard to remember when to do what when you are self-employed. There’s no boss telling you what your daily/weekly assignment is.
I find it’s best to keep a to-do list that has dates assigned to tasks (I use google calendar’s task feature. I can access it on the web and on my phone). I also use monthly happenings like the day that bills/bank statements arrive in the mail or specific days of the week as a reminder.
I try and make time to do bank reconciliations in QuickBooks the day that I get my bank statement. USAA sends me reminders via email. If I can’t get to it that day, I will star the email and leave it in my inbox as an action item.
My business week ends on Monday. On Tuesdays I take care things in QuickBooks. I enter in my mileage for the week, along with entering the receipts from my business wallet (I keep a 2nd wallet in my purse for business transactions). I also go through and take care of deposits, figuring out what invoices are over due, etc…
Since my business is service based, I try and get to projects in the order that they were received, unless there is a specified deadline involved. Rather than invoice on a specific day. I invoice customers as I go and notify them that their project has been completed. If I wait around, there is a high probability that I will forget to invoice them.