Record Keeping 101

It is one of the least liked but most essential parts of running a business - record keeping. Unless you are an accountant, no one likes keeping the financial books in order.

For some, it may border on torture. But if you don't do it properly, you will likely regret it down the road.

The best way to make your way through the maze of recordkeeping is to set up a plan before your start running your business, so you know what to records keep and where they go.

Here are some of the records you should be keeping:

  • Invoices
  • Receipts
  • Contracts
  • Important Correspondence

These all need to be kept separately to avoid a jumbled mess at the end of the year.

Make it a Regular Routine

If you're smart, you will also make record keeping an ongoing part of your business, instead of stacking things up until the end of the year and trying to sort it all out in a frenzied panic.

If you have a small business, you likely don't need an accountant, but you may want to enlist the help of accounting software. There are plenty of programs that will let you set up a small business account within them, such as MYOB or Quick Books, which will help you sort and separate all those papers into their appropriate categories.

If you do this as you go, instead of worrying at the end of the year, you will have a perfect print out of all expenses, payments and other financial information you need.

It is important to note that financial rules and requirements differ by state and region, so you may want to check with a CPA in your area when you are first setting up your financial record keeping program to make sure you haven't missed anything.