Invoices and receipts. We know we need to keep hold of them for every business purchase, but sometimes it can be difficult when dealing with a whole bunch of other things at the same time.
Nevertheless, your accountant needs every single one of them in order to account for every penny that has been spent. It’s entirely for your benefit as your accountant wants to ensure that there is a clear paper trail to support your accounts.
To anyone not familiar with how accountants work through accounts and need supporting evidence for every business purchase, it can seem like a tedious practice.
For those of us who are unfamiliar with the various ins and outs of accountancy, keeping hold of every single invoice and receipt can seem like a good idea, but not one that we need to observe assiduously. For the accountants in our lives, however, it is vital in order for them to list all transactions that need to be evidenced by an indisputable invoice.
With that in mind we have compiled 3 handy hints to help you to track your invoices and have them to hand when your accountant wants them.
1. Online Transactions = Online Invoices
It is no secret that these days we’re all doing more and more of our shopping online. Increasingly we are shopping for things other than the usual products from stores.
Now we are increasingly using the internet to order from our suppliers regardless of whether they have an actual premises, or just a warehouse. If you have an online account with a supplier, the chances are good that you will be able to track previous and current orders through it.
If you are using a better known platform, such as Amazon or eBay, you’ll already be familiar with the billing process and how you can view your invoices. There are third party platforms that handle the payment process for you. For instance, with eBay, you can use PayPal.
All this can sound confusing, but once you get the hang of the different platforms and how they are laid out you’ll soon find that accessing your invoices online is much easier than offline collections.
2. Go Digital
You may be used to having hard copies (printed out) of all your invoices which you keep in a folder, or some other method. Try this, instead. Rather than printing out each and every invoice and receipt and putting them aside in a dusty folder which only sees the light of day once a year when it’s taken to your accountant, don’t. That’s right, don’t. Instead just save them as PDFs and gather them together in a folder on your computer.
Not only will you save time, energy and ink by not printing them out, but you can share the folder with your accountant who will then be able to access all the invoices as needed. If cloud computing isn’t your thing you can always just email the PDF documents to your accountant when it gets to that time of year.
Once you begin to collect together your PDFs you’ll need a safe place to store them. As mentioned already, you can use a folder on your computer’s hard drive. Call it “Invoices” and you’ll be in no doubt as to what should be in there later on when you’re looking for your paperwork.
If you need to use them on different computers, and you’re not yet using cloud computing for documents, you can store them on a USB stick, also known as a “thumb drive”.
When the time comes you should be able to send your accountant the files without much hassle. As mentioned already, you can share the folder with them, or email the files across. Alternatively, if you are using a USB stick you can simply walk it over to them at their office.
There are lots of different ways to create a PDF document from your invoices, regardless of the format. Most software packages will allow you to convert the file to PDF from within its dropdown menu system.
Either use the “Save As” option to convert to PDF, or hit “Print” and select “Save As PDF” instead of selecting a printer. You should then be presented with a box asking you to choose where you want the file to be saved.
3. Record Everything!
Sounds simple, but it’s amazing how often we forget to do the simplest things. No matter how small the transaction may seem at the time it is crucial that you have some kind of written record of it.
Remember that even small transactions will add up over time and can create a large sum that will be unaccounted for if your accountant does not have the supporting documents.
If you don’t receive a formal invoice you can just note it on a piece of paper with the date, transaction amount and basic details of what it was for. Send it to yourself as an email and you’ll even have a digital copy for yourself. Ideally if you get it signed by everybody you shouldn’t have a problem later on.
A handyman, for example, might just come to fix something simple that only takes them half an hour, so they might not think it necessary to issue an invoice. However, for your records you should make a note of it on something like the back of their business card so you have something to present to your accountant.
Able Accountants provide a blog of helpful tips and tricks for accounting, finance and tax matters.