Ali Mayes Bookkkeeping

Top 5 Bookkeeping Tips

In this blog, I would like to share my top 5 bookkeeping tips...

Ask for a receipt

Learn the habit of asking for a receipt every time you buy something, if you are VAT registered, ask specifically for a VAT receipt. If you think the expense could be a business one, write a note on it to remind you what you purchased and why (eg coffee for myself and potential customer Jo Bloggs – initial meeting). When you are writing up your books, you will be soooooo grateful!

Keep a diary

I am suggesting an appointment type diary, recording where you were and why on each working day, also if you purchased anything high value or unusual, it would be helpful to keep a note so that it reminds you to print off or find the receipt later on. It’s an easy reference tool to use to look back to make sure you have claimed for everything.

Keep receipts in a safe place

This should also say ‘that works for you’. No use having a safe place that you never think to put the receipts or is inconvenient!! Whether it’s a bulldog type clip (my favourite), a box or one of those receipt spikes you used to see years ago in shops, have ONE place where you put all of your receipts. I promise you it will save you doing your best ostrich impersonation as you search under your car seat for missing receipts!

Keep it simple

To begin with it doesn’t matter if you use a book, a Word document, a spreadsheet or an accounting package, but keep it simple! Don’t try to use the most advanced super accounting package with sales and purchase ledgers, if you don’t need to. A simple document is perfectly acceptable to begin with, as your business needs change and you gain more confidence, you can explore those other options.

Little and often

On behalf of your bookkeeper or accountant or even yourself when it comes to completing your tax return, don’t leave it all to a massive rush at the end. Set aside a regular amount of time each week or month (depending on how much paperwork your business generates) to keep on top of your record keeping. Aim to keep on top of it frequently enough that it only takes you an hour or less each time you sit down to it. You will feel able to cope with the volume, you’ll remember what you sold and purchased more easily and, I promise, when the accountant chases you for your records or you need to complete your tax return, it will be so much easier.

So there you have my top 5 tips!

I specialise in working with small owner managed businesses with only one or two or even no staff who would like to work with someone who understands their passion for what they do and can help them to get to grips with their business finances. I am happy to offer anything from a bit of advice now and again (normally over coffee and cake!) to keeping your books and records for you.

Drop me a line if you’d like to have a chat (coffee and cake included!)