A Journey of a Thousand Miles Starts with One Step
By Pam Saul, CB of Saul Bookkeeping and Farm & Equine Business Services
This is a well-known saying, but why is a bookkeeper using it? It seems that people who can easily handle a 1,200-pound horse, and jump things the size of a small car, are oftentimes quite hesitant to face their books!
Have no fear! This isn’t an isolated feeling you are having, and many share it. As with any journey, it starts with one step. Let’s go through those steps together.
Step #1: Gather all your financial documents in one place.
I had a situation where I had to take an entire office, with piles and piles of papers, to the point where you couldn’t sit in the office chair and make sense of it all. My first step was to create a box labeled for each year (back to 2014!) and get items separated into the correct box. Once done, it allowed me to work efficiently and address important items that had been buried in a pile.
Your situation is probably not as drastic (See? You aren’t so bad!). You may need to just get your items from this year, or last, out of your truck, the bottom of your bag, tack trunk, or kitchen table. Gather them all together in one spot. Realize you are missing some documents? Now would be a good time to find them!
Step #2: Lift and separate!
Once you pick up a document, decide about it so that you aren’t backtracking over it time and time again. Decide how you want to work through your documents. Do you want to track by vendor? Then put all receipts together by name. Do you want to track by month? Then create 12 piles. Want to track by type of document? Then create a pile by paid bills, receipts, contracts, invoices, or whatever works for you. Can it be pitched? If so, do it now. Junk mail, outdated receipts and completed work can all go.
Step #3: Organize!
Decide now how you want to store your documents. Want to use file folders? Or do you want to use a system of stacking trays? How about shelves? Or maybe expanding files? It’s totally up to you what works best. There is no wrong answer here. Just make sure it works for you.
Anything you need to keep that is old should go into a storage box and marked with what it holds before you file it. A good rule of thumb is to keep files for 7 years and then shred them. Remember that important papers that should be kept for longer, like deeds, trust documents, titles, long term contracts, etc. They belong in a safe place… like a fireproof safe.
Step #4: Keep It Up!
Now that you have a process, continue it. Put all your documents in one place. Then separate in your new system and once completed, file.
Our thousand-mile journey that we originally thought impossible, took us 4 steps. Can you add steps to make the journey even easier? Sure! You can always customize to fit your needs.
And if you want someone around you to help with that journey, Saul Bookkeeping is here to help. Simply contact us to schedule a FREE 30-minute consultation!