Last week I went through how to set up your basic filing system. I hope you all found it useful and have made progress towards setting it up 🙂
Now is the next step… making that filing system work for you…
1. Find a method to collect your receipts
You go to the petrol station and you get a receipt, you go to the post office and get a receipt, you buy products from the supermarket for your work place and you get a receipt. Receipts are everywhere and you need to keep them all so that you can claim those expenses on your BAS. So you need to find a way that you can collect them all and not lose them… this can be as simple as putting them in your wallet until you are home and then putting them in the Paid Bills tray that you have set up, or you can purchase a document wallet that you carry in your car and put all your receipts in and then bring it in once a week and put in your Paid Bills tray.
2. Deal with the mail as soon as you get it
This is very important, I can’t tell you how many clients I have had over the years who just never get around to opening their mail, they would either let it pile up until I get there to open it or it would just continually pile up until the phone calls concerning overdue bills started coming in. Don’t let it get to this stage, its important to keep on top of your mail, it helps you be aware of what is happening in your business and what is required of you, the more you don’t open your mail the more you can get into trouble, financially and ATO compliance.
3. Be disciplined when opening your mail
When opening your mail you need to make sure you do more than open the envelope and peer in. You have your three trays – Unpaid Bills – Paid Bills and Correspondence, get your mail, stand in front of the trays and open the mail. One envelope at a time, open, ascertain what it is – unpaid bill, paid bill, correspondence – put the contents of the mail into the appropriate tray. Repeat these steps until ALL mail is dealt with.
4. Don’t print any unnecessary emails
This can be an unnecessary trap, you may get many emails each day/week that you have to deal with. I suggest that you deal with it within your email program and not by printing them out, unless it is a receipt that you need to process and file with all your other receipts. Remember, once printed put it in the appropriate tray – Unpaid Bill – Paid Bill or Correspondence.
5. Have a designated time each week to deal with your paperwork
This is when it all comes together. You have been collecting your receipts, you have opened all your mail and have printed all your receipts that have been emailed to you and you have put them in the appropriate tray. Now you need to designate a time each week to deal with the paperwork in these trays. Make it the same time each week, first thing Monday morning, last thing Friday night, Sunday Afternoon, whatever suites you and whatever day you will be able to commit to making it happen every week. But it is vitally important that you do this, this is where to stay on top of things, this is where you stay ATO compliant.
My Question for you: What do you do that you find helps you stay on top of your paperwork?