5 Strategic Tips When Your Bookkeeping Gets Out Of Control

We all have that feeling.  

Your business is bringing in clients, you're doing the work.  It's Friday and you're looking forward to a little bit of downtime this weekend.

...but that stack on the corner of your workspace, in a shoe box, or in a pile on the floor (please no) is looking at you. 

It's not money.  

Darn.

Aaannnnnd...you look away.

But somewhere in the pit of your stomach, you know you need to get a grip on those receipts and bank statements.  There's nothing like being behind, especially with your bookkeeping.  Knowing if you are making or losing money is critical to your success in business.

To simplify your task at hand, let me give you a couple of tips to overcome out of control bookkeeping:

Plan ahead.

You don't need to have it all caught up tomorrow.  You DO want to get this out of the way asap so you are not struggling at the end of the year, or tax time next year.  You should have completed financial records to hand off to your tax pro BEFORE the tax filing deadline.  I’m not saying you need a balance sheet, cash flow statement, etc.  Or a double-entry journal of every transaction ever.  Don’t make it harder than it has to be.  I’m talking accurate, detailed totals for all your sales and expenses for the year, with a solid paper trail to substantiate those totals too.

Be realistic with your time.

Assign yourself small blocks of time each week to tackle your bookkeeping.  Start with a half hour.  Remember, your goal is to catch up in the least stressful way possible!  That means breaking up ALL the work you need to do in manageable chunks of time.  Pencil in a little bit of work each week, and you’ll get everything done well ahead of your tax deadline. Nobody wants to cram in weeks and months worth of bookkeeping in a weekend.

Write it out.

Seriously...like on paper. If you write out your catch up schedule in advance, you are more likely to stick to it. Plus you’ll have a visual reminder of when you’ve fallen behind. My printable bookkeeping planning playbook includes tools to help you schedule out your bookkeeping work with a tiny steps daily checklist and blank monthly calendars for the next three months to help you organize your catch-up work.

With a little bit of “catch up” bookkeeping each day, even if it’s just 5 minutes, you’re making progress.

Come up with a fresh plan of attack.

If you’re really behind, take a moment during the planning phase to come up with a “catch up” plan that makes the most sense for your work style and your business. Here are a few examples:

  • Divide it up by source: Week 1 – tackle the stack and separate paperwork into categories: receipts, statements, bills due, bills paid, etc.  Week 2 – tally up expenses by month, Week 3 – enter all expenses into bookkeeping system, etc.
  • Divide it up chronologically: Week 1 – enter receipts and expenses from January, Week 2 – enter all receipts and expenses from February, etc.

Keep current-starting today.  

Don't fall behind.  Even with your stack of bookkeeping to catch up on, start today with a new system going forward...and stick to it.  There are so many ways to automate your receipts so you can easily track them into your bookkeeping system.  In case you need receipt management options, programs are available to make organizing your files and receipts so much easier.  A couple of receipt apps that might fit your needs are ReceiptsExpensify and Neat.  For a filing app, check out FileThis, Shoeboxed or Evernote.  Double Down Tip: Evernote and Receipts are connected so you can organize and host your files and receipts in one location.

If you're freaking out, I have a couple of things to help you.

If you’re really ready to dive in and want some extra hand holding from a bookkeeper who’s been there, check out the StartUP Academy. This is like my action steps checklist on overdrive. This new learning opportunity is designed to get you through the catch-up and keeping-current process in the least stressful way possible in small, doable steps.  StartUP Academy includes the following:

  • Your monthly bookkeeping subscription with Quickbooks Online.
  • An easy to use Bookkeeping Planning Playbook to keep you current.
  • Monthly bookkeeping checklist.
  • Individualized video tutorials to walk you through how to quickly perform every step you need to do (how to integrate your bank and credit card accounts, where and how to customize your chart of accounts, set up vendors and clients, etc.). It’s like a very specific guide map to save you the time and energy of figuring out how to do each of these things on your own.
  • Private membership to ask questions as you go.

In the meantime, make sure you grab the free simplified spreadsheet by clicking the image below to get your bookkeeping started and in gear for the end of the year.  While you're at it, join my free Facebook community for business owners and entrepreneurs!