I feel a bit embarassed asking this question - since it sounds like a kind of "how do I draw a circle?" type of question - i.e. at first blush, almost asinine.
BUT, this is a real problem I have, in terms of getting organized, every year, come 'tax season', its a mad rush of running around like a headless chicken - interpersed with bouts of turning the air blue, as I get frustrated looking for my receipts, invoices etc. I am already storing these source documents in a folder, but I find it hard to know how to separate them 'logically'
These are the things that I am storing:
General Communication (email and 'dead tree' format)
- Communications to/from clients
- Communications to/from legal bodies (e.g. professional associations)
- Communications to/from professional advisors (e.g. lawyers)
- Communications to/from governmental agencies (Inland revenue, Companies House [UK] etc)
Source documents that feed into bookeeping and accountng system
- Credit card purchase
- Debit card purchase
- General Expenses
- Petty Cash
I often end up where a letter that should have been sent or replied to by a certain date, was not replied or sent to, resulting at best, me having to explain and appear unprofessional, or at worst facing disciplinary action or a fine.
Also, I sometimes have bills that should be collected by a certain date or paid by a certain date, but go unnoticed, until the due date has passed.
I would like advice on a simple 'system' that will help me rectify these 'flaws' that are preventing me from reaching my full potential as a business person (currently one man band - but hoping to expand).
I would like advice on any of the following:
a). A simple file/folder system which you use which helps to logically store and sort the above documents in a way that they are stored chronologically and are easy to locate and retrieve
b). Maybe a daily/weekly/monthly routine that you use to ensure that no important dates are missed and that all communication, bills and invoices etc are dealt with BEFORE their due date
c). With regards to the source documents (i.e. documenst used for preparing accounts), i would like a simple system that will allow me to be able to keep abreast of 'the key numbers' in my business. So I can do periodic analysis (for example week by week or, month by month analysis) for these key numbers. I would also like to know what the 'key numbers' that I should be watching are.
I am computer literate (indeed one of my companies is an internet startup), so I will be able to create my own spreadsheet if necessary - (or simply use pre existing ones if a link is provided)
Hope someone out there has walked a similar path and can provide good advice on how to 'fix' this problem