Here are my top tips on how to save time on your bookkeeping:
Provide ALL receipts and invoices to your bookkeeper. This will not only save the bookkeeper time as they will not have to chase you for missing paperwork, but will also save your accountant time both when preparing your tax return - or in the event of an ATO audit - as all of your paperwork will be available.
TIP For each receipt or paper invoice, take a quick photo and email it directly to your accounting software or add-on solution. For emailed receipts and invoices, set up a rule to have them automatically forwarded. Your bookkeeper can then attach each receipt or invoice to the relevant transaction ready for your accountant or the ATO.
Provide paper receipts and invoices ready sorted. The more ordered these can be the less time it will take the bookkeeper. For example, if you deliver a box with all the paperwork dumped into it, it’s going to take time for your bookkeeper to sort the documents in order to check them. If you deliver the paperwork already sorted, split by bank account / credit card and in date order (or close enough), there is going to be a lot less time that your bookkeeper spends sorting these.
TIP Keep one filing wallet in your vehicle or office for each of your bank accounts or credit cards that you use for your business. Each time you get a receipt or invoice place it into the file for the correct bank account or credit card from which the expense was made. If you do this each time they will be more or less in date order.
Keep your personal expenses personal - ensure only business expenses go through your business bank account and credit card. It takes more time for your bookkeeper to sort through those personal expenses and determine whether they really were business or personal.
TIP If you need to take a funds from your business account, try to make it a regular amount so that your bookkeeper can easily identify those transactions as drawings - and if possible make a note on the bank transfer.
Respond quickly to your bookkeepers queries. The longer it takes to get a response, the more time it will take your bookkeeper to pick up the thread again and carry on where they left off. It will also mean that it takes longer for your work to be finalised for the period being processed, and therefore longer to get those all important performance reports.
TIP Don’t delay - try to respond within 24 hours to your bookkeeper.
Consider changing software provider. There may be some initial outlay in transferring your data over and getting up to speed on the new software, but if you move to the right software it is quite possible that the processing time will be greatly reduced.
TIP Do not be afraid of change! Just because you have been using the same software for years, doesn’t mean it is the right one for your business.
Automate your business processes - and that includes bookkeeping. There are hundreds of add-on providers of software available to automate processes, that connect to your accounting package. This will leave your bookkeeper more time to spend on those value-added reports that will show you how your business is performing, where it could do better and where changes can be made.
TIP Check out the add-ons available to your accounting software and others, to see where your business could benefit. Seek advice from your bookkeeping business consultant on the how to make the processes
If changing your ways all in one go seems like too much, try to implement one change per processing period. Before long your processes will be streamlined and your business and your bookkeeping running smoother than it ever has before.