business success

The post in which I mention bookkeeping & fun in the same sentence

ipad-and-receipts

Okay, so I may have a warped sense of what constitutes fun – but hear me out on this one.  If you find bookkeeping a pain in the butt and a necessary evil in order to keep the taxman happy, then take 5 minutes to read my:

6 ways to make bookkeeping fun!

  1. Get creative! Jazz up your accounts files with some nice labels or replace your folders with colour co-ordinated ones.  There are some really nice colours out there now, and you can colour co-ordinate your whole office.
  2. Every time you finish your bookkeeping tasks for the week, reward yourself with a little of something that puts a smile on your face. (Did somebody say chocolate?)
  3. Take time out to meet other business owners and attend a bookkeeping workshop. As well as picking up some hints and getting you enthused about getting back to your bookkeeping you’ll probably get a morning or afternoon tea thrown in as well.  There are workshops that cover debt collection, payroll, tax, software, cloud computing and lots more.
  4. Have your favourite music playing quietly in the background, grab a glass of wine (or maybe just half in my case or else my accounts would be a shambles) and enjoy the time to yourself.
  5. Get organised. Have a spring clean of your accounts documents and files and feel good about how organised you are.  I’ll be writing more on accounts organisation a little down the track (try this post here).
  6. Follow a blog that motivates you in your quest for business or career success.  A couple of goods ones are:
    http://under30ceo.com
    http://flyingsolo.com.au

If none of these ideas really appeal to you, you could always pay someone else to do it while you go out and have your kind of fun!

Some other bookkeeping posts you might like:

How do you keep motivated to do your essential bookkeeping tasks? Let me know in the comments below.

Happy bookkeeping…

 

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5 reasons using Excel may be holding your business back

Laptop Xero

Excel is a great tool for business.  I like to use it to manually check payroll calculations, particularly when setting up new accounting software for a client.  However, it’s not always the best choice for business bookkeeping.

Here are 5 reasons that it might be time to move on from Excel:

1.  Doubling-up of transactions

In Excel you don’t get a warning if you try to enter the same bill number or invoice number twice, whereas you would if you used accounting software. Doubling up on accounting transactions can get you into a real mess.

2.  Time consuming

It is time consuming to set up a detailed, useful spreadsheet.  You need to have the end result in mind before you even start and then work out a design that will get you that end result.  A lot of time is wasted if you are part way through setting up a spreadsheet only to realise that it can only do half the job you need it to do.  For example, you might be able to set up a spreadsheet that tracks all of your income and expenses, but it is tricky and time consuming to set it up to track tax codes for your Business Activity Statement as well.

3.  No audit trail

If more than one person is entering information into a spreadsheet it is difficult to tell who has entered or changed information.  This leaves the door wide open for fraud to occur.

4.  Costly errors

Excel spreadsheets can be linked to other Excel spreadsheets, which can save you time.  However it is easy to link a cell incorrectly which results in errors that can be hard to detect.  You could be using the same spreadsheet for months without realising it is picking up incorrect figures from another spreadsheet.  Just like in Reason # 1, Excel doesn’t warn you of potential errors.  A quick internet search for “spreadsheet mistakes” shows just how costly some of these errors can be.

5.  You still need to invest time into learning how to use Excel properly

You can teach yourself how to use Excel and set up spreadsheets, however with such easy to use accounting software on the market now, isn’t your time better spent learning software that will do most of the hard work for you?  For example, using software with automatic bank feeds, such as Xero, can reduce time spent on manual data entry once set up correctly.

Move forward

Take charge tip

I’ve been thinking about how we sometimes put things in the too-hard-basket, where they stay for much too long. Cluttering up our lives not only in the physical sense (ie a desk covered in paperwork), but emotionally too. Sometimes you just have to take charge, dig in and deal with it.  A weight will be lifted off your shoulders and by de-cluttering physically and mentally you leave space open for good things to come into your life.

This has recently worked for me.

Has this ever happened to you? 

 

Rental Properties – 4 Handy Bookkeeping Tips

Rental Properties

 

If you are new to property investing or if the record-keeping side of things is overwhelming you, then read on for 4 tips to help get you on the right track.

1. Proof of Income and Expenses

Keep proof of all your income and expenses. You can scan receipts or take (clear) photos with your mobile and then save them in a folder on your computer or even save them in an email folder. Hard copies of records should be filed away in clearly labelled folders.

2. Assets

Keep a list of all assets purchased for your investment properties. This list should include the date of buying/selling the asset, what you paid for it or sold it for and a description of the asset. This will help your accountant calculate depreciation for the year. Don’t forget your receipts (see #1 above).

3. Reminders

Use your Outlook Calendar or a similar tool to remind you ahead of time when important things are due – for example when your insurance premiums are about to fall due.

4. Keeping up to date

Enter all income and expenses in Excel spreadsheets or accounting software as soon as possible, or schedule in a regular time to do it. Keep on top of your paperwork so that it doesn’t build up to the point where it becomes a source of stress for you.

Extra tip: Don’t forget to make regular back-ups of all your financial information. Backups should be kept in (at least) 2 separate places eg saved to a USB and in the cloud.

Good bookkeeping is the same for property investing

If bookkeeping isn’t your thing, or you would rather be spending that time on other important tasks, think about hiring a good bookkeeper to do the job for you.
Do you own rental properties? Do you have any tips that work well for you?
Happy bookkeeping…

Tip for Small Business – Better Cashflow # 2

Phone call business

 

 

 

 

You may have read my previous tip on improving cashflow in your small business, found here Better Cashflow # 1. I have another idea you can easily implement in your small business to help boost your bank account and have more money available when you need it.

It revolves around the following fact:

The sooner you contact an overdue customer, the more likely you are to get paid.

So improve your chances of being paid on time by having a collections policy.

A collections policy is basically deciding on the steps you are going to take when a customer hasn’t paid their invoice by the due date and putting those steps in writing.

For example:

  • Invoice 1 week overdue. Send a friendly reminder by email
  • Invoice 2 weeks overdue. Phone the customer. Discuss why overdue.
  • Invoice 3 weeks overdue. Phone the customer. Discuss payment plan if needed.

You can still be flexible and use your judgement on a case by case basis. But overall you will lay down the framework for what action to take and when. You set aside time on a regular basis to sit down and work through outstanding invoices – you make it a priority.

An important part of your collections policy is to keep track of who you have contacted and when. This helps whether you have an in-house bookkeeper, outsource your bookkeeping or whether you are responsible for your own business accounts.

You will find that over time your customers will start to pay you sooner. If they need to decide what invoices get paid this week, you are more likely to be at the top of their list.

You are not being rude by following up outstanding invoices – you are simply a business owner running your business in a professional manner.

You can find more helpful tips on customer invoicing in Keeping on top of customer payments and also 14 Cashflow Tips for Small Business

Have you run a report lately to see how much your customers owe you and how overdue those invoices are? How much more cash would be in your bank account helping to cover your own expenses if those customer had paid on time?

 

4 common bookkeeping mistakes (re-visited)

I was reading back over my previous blog posts and thought this particular one may be helpful to the small business owners and non-profits that follow my blog. It covers some key bookkeeping concepts that can easily be overlooked and can cause some real headaches if not picked up.

Hope you can find something useful in it…

4 common bookkeeping mistakes

 

Bookkeeping Tip – Queries for Accountant

Question MarkI just had to share this bookkeeping tip – it’s too good to keep to myself.

If you use Reckon for bookkeeping, you’ve no doubt used the “Find” feature at some stage to track down a past transaction. It’s quick and easy to use and I couldn’t do without it. Ctrl + F are the shortcut keys.

But just using the Find feature isn’t my tip.

Do you have transactions throughout the year that you aren’t 100% sure you have entered correctly and that you want your accountant to have a look over before your financial reports are finalised? Perhaps you have some GST transactions that you want your BAS Agent to look over before they prepare your BAS?

Well when you enter those transactions simply type “??” into the memo field. When it comes time to meet with your accountant or BAS Agent you simply use the Find feature (Advanced tab) to search for those transactions and generate a report. You can either print this off or memorise the report so that your accountant or BAS agent can simply click on each transaction and be taken straight to it.

No more having to stop and write down your queries on scrap pieces of paper or scrambling to remember what it was exactly you had trouble with throughout the year!

I can’t take full credit for coming up with this idea. It’s a gem of advice I picked up when I recently attended a Reckon workshop that I wrote about in my post So I attended a training workshop today.

For more Reckon tips you can read my previous post 4 Reckon Features to Save you Time.

Happy bookkeeping…