Index of Recordkeeping Systems Chats
How To Organize Small Business Bookkeeping Files


by L. Kenway BComm CPB Retired

I have a confession to make that may shock you ... I hate filing! Yes, I do so I have developed a "lazy man's" recordkeeping system to organize my own business receipts. You too can develop a system that works for YOU.

You have options. Look through them and pick the one that best matches your organizational style. I've got to say that a shoebox filing system is not a style … it's just plain lazy! But hey that's okay because I've got a filing system for lazy filers like me too!

File organization doesn't have to be difficult or complex to work. I attended Document Snap's Paperless Action Class early in 2012. In lesson two, Brooks Duncan started the lesson with three great points that you should keep in mind as you start to organize your files:

  1. Take a step back and relax.
  2. Remember that there is not one “right” way to do things.
  3. Focus on what will work best for you.

An excellent article by Sherrill St. Germain on reverse budgeting (how to put your budgeting on autopilot with no detail tracking) talks about four elements to examine when organizing anything ... including your recordkeeping system (i.e. business finances):

  1. Your style - detail or big picture oriented
  2. Your money (or filing) personality - saver or spender (keep every receipt or lose every receipt)
  3. Your goals - file your taxes or know if you are making money
  4. Your time constraints - not enough hours in a day or make time for administrative details of running your business

YOU HAVE OPTIONS ... you really do!

INDEX For Easy Office Filing Systems Series

Click on any image below to go to the article.
Executive Summaries Follow Below

5 Tips for Business Owners Looking to Organize Their Books

Guest Author Tony Smith

5 Tips for Business Owners
Looking to Organize Their Books

Chat 1

Simple Suggestions For Recordkeeping

Consider Your Personality and Size of Business

*New Chat 2*

Paperless Filing Apps

LedgerDocs Hubdoc ReceiptBank SmartVault

The Paperless Organization Guide

Chat 3

How To Organize Paperless Files

Chat 4

How To Avoid Losing Your Documents

Working From Your Car Filing System

Chat 5

Working From Your Car Filing System

How to send sensitive information online.

Chat 6

How To Send Sensitive Information Online

Should you shred scanned receipts?

Chat 7

Should You Shred Scanned Receipts?

Getting Organized Using Office Document Imaging

Chat 8

Get The Most From Your Receipt Scanner 

Develop a process for downloading your paperless documents.

Chat 9

Do I need to download my paperless statements, eBills and eMail receipts?

Record Retention Guidelines

Chat 10

Record Retention Guidelines


Chat 11

Benefits of Organizing Your Self Employed Receipts

Blueprint for Success

"... [Learning] a proven system for tackling your return and sorting tax documents - you'll better meet compliance obligations with the CRA by filing an audit-proof return. Consider it a blueprint for success in making the tax preparation process work in your favor, both at tax time, and all year long, rather than against you."

-- Evelyn Jacks, author Master Your Taxes --
(I recommend this book)




Enjoy a teabreak

Be Present to the Moment

Before we start. Bring your mind here to this page. Let every other thought go … just for now. Take a deep breath and let it out slooooowly …. okay here we go.

We've been chatting about record keeping systems today. The question will arise ... Should you be using computer software ... the second item in my list of good bookkeeping practices categories?

I suggest you consider (or re-consider) one of the cloud solutions such as QuickBooks Online. Why?

  • Your business lives or dies by cash flow.
  • Cloud solutions with automated bank feeds and app integrations like Receipt Bank reduce data entry errors giving you confidence in the accuracy of your information ... though you may initially need help mapping where the data goes.
  • All your devices are synced automatically with QBO throughout the day.
  • Attach your receipt to an entry so you don't lose it ... and no more hunting for it when you try to lay your hands on it.
  • Your time is valuable. QBO learns and auto populates many of your figures allowing you to allocate your valuable time to another area of your business. 
  • The mobile app gives you real-time access to help you make business decisions and allows you to access and manage your books from anywhere. 
  • Company snapshots lets you quickly check if you are on target for the month.
  • QBO lets you send invoices, manage and pay bills, scan receipts, track your sales tax, pay your employees and work with your bookkeeper or accountant.

Executive Summaries

Small Business Recordkeeping Systems
Simple Suggestions to Get Organized

Are you looking for a filing system for your business receipts? Small business accounting organization doesn't have to be complex to work.

You may just need simple suggestions to get your small business accounting organized in your office ... to eliminate stress and panic. Your accounting system won't work effectively without a good recordkeeping system.

What is the best filing system to get and stay organized so you can get rid of those drawers of stashed receipts? In this article I share my favorite filing system for keeping my business receipts organized.

If the only reason you keep bookkeeping records is for tax purposes (as opposed to helping you run your business), I suggest you look at this simple filing method. It has the added bonus of audit proofing your tax return. It will provide you with the small business accounting records you are required by law to keep.

Filing Forum

A certified professional bookkeeper answers self-employed business owners'  questions about how to organize and track all their paperwork. 

Learn how a professional bookkeeper files receipts and more.

Paperless Technology - Organize Your Documents

Part 1 - The Paperless Organization Guide
Part 2 - Getting Organized Using Office Document Imaging
Part 3 - Going Paperless and Sending Financial Documents
Part 4 - Should I Shred My Scanned Receipts?
Part 5 - How Do You Protect Your Scanned Documents?

Paperless technology lets you organize your documents like never before ... and it's affordable.

DocumentSnap's "Paperless Document Organization Guide" leads you easily and systematically through the process. One product, three service level choices!

In addition to information on how to purchase this extremely useful guide, you will find a link to a free eCourse on going paperless.

Worried about losing your scanned documents ... learn how to backup up documents onsite and off-line ... keep them safe.

Once you've moved towards a paperless system ... can you ever be totally paperless? ... how you send private information to your customers / clients becomes a bit of a dilemma. "Mr. Paperless" explains the best practices in sending sensitive information online. It really isn't a good idea to send it by unencrypted email!

A word of caution for Canadian businesses - Scanning documents does NOT meet federal (Canadian General Standards) imaging requirements. If you scan documents, you must still retain the original source document for the CRA auditor to review. Why? Because scanned documents can be altered ... therefore they are not submissible in a court of law as evidence.

Source: CRA IC-05-1R1 Electronic Record Keeping - paragraphs 24 & 26

Small Business File Organization
A Portable Document Filing System

If you operate a part of your business from your vehicle, file organization is key. This portable document filing system is perfect for you to organize your bookkeeping records!

Incorporate this filing system into your home office organization and small business accounting system to manage your business receipts efficiently. It will complement your accounting system.

Books and Record Retention

Record retention requirements are determined by government for tax purposes. Get up to speed with these small business accounting requirements so you can be compliant.

This article explains what a source document (or supporting document) is. It will also discuss:

  • Who must keep records
  • What records must be kept
  • How you must keep the records
  • How long you must keep the records
  • How to destroy records early

Bookkeeping With A File Box

Learn the benefits to organizing your bookkeeping documents using a simple banker's file box.

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