Keeping business records may seem secondary to some who need to focus on sales and service for revenue. Shoddy record keeping will catch up to any business over time, so developing good practices now will pay off over time. Here are 10 tips for keeping documents for your online business that will help.
1. Use Online Tools
Computers crash and papers get lost, so online businesses should store records online. Many free and premium services for record keeping make storing and accessing records from any location at any time an easy task.
2. Prepare Financial Statements
Businesses spend a lot of time seeking customers and making sales, but often never bother to see where they stand regarding profitability. Use either online or desktop accounting software to help collect the data needed for these statements and they will always be ready when the time comes to evaluate company performance.
3. Limit Paper Records
Misplaced papers, pile up, and often get lost or go missing, complicating efforts to run an efficient company. Businesses can scan paper documents and store them electronically in a digital format, although they usually require some hard copies of documents as well. By storing digital records and indexing them with searchable keywords, businesses save space and improve efficiency.
4. Keep Track of Receipts
All money spent should have an accompanying receipt. Identify and categorize receipts before tossing them into a shoebox. This helps most businesses back up their tax return in case of an internal or external audit.
5. Schedule Filing Time
Even when a business relies on digital document storage, papers quickly pile up in the office. Make a weekly appointment to file so that it never becomes a chore.
6. Keep Tax Records and Returns
Tax returns and records help document business performance over time, so keep a copy filed away in digital format or in a physical file. This also helps in the event of a state or federal tax audit.
7. Record Cash Expenditures
When spending cash, always keep a physical record of what that cash went to. Although petty cash spending seems small, over the course of a year, they add up and can amount to a significant gap in business records
8. Keep Computers Organized
Businesses can create a filing system on the computer that mirrors their physical filing system. This consistency makes finding records easy in either system.
9. Get Help
Some people hate record keeping so much that they sabotage the operation of their business. Rather than allow this to happen, a business person could hire someone to file and maintain records. Find someone like a student or retiree who could help out one or two days a week for a small fee.
10. Make Backups
Some businesses what a physical copy of electronic document to protect themselves against computer failure. New online backup services help make backing up digital data to a secure, off-site location easy so that a computer crash does not result in the loss of vital business records.
The 10 tips for keeping documents for your online business listed here will help your business stay profitable and trouble-free.
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