When I started my business almost 11 years ago, as part of the Accounting section of my filing system, I had a folder for each vendor I spent money with regularly (e.g., gas, light, Office Depot, etc.). When I found myself sticking receipts in a To Be Filed folder, I knew my system was too tedious. I was procrastinating about filing everything, and that told me I needed to simplify.
Here is a simple solution that works for me.
Create a home for all receipts for each month. This can be a file folder, tray, basket, or whatever works for you. I have a drawer for Accounting and keep everything nice, neat, and out of sight.
Create a home for all pay stubs from clients. For all checks you receive for the month, keep these pay stubs separately and in the front of the folder for that month.
Keep everything with that month’s bank statement. When the bank statement arrives, use a jumbo paper clip to keep all receipts and pay stubs for that month behind it. When I reconcile for that month, I put a big R so I’ll know it’s done.
This system is simple so it’s easy to maintain.
One thing though, I had to figure out a way to quickly find receipts for higher-priced products in case I needed repair, etc. I created a contact in Outlook called “Big Ticket Items.” In the text area of the contact I have a 2-column table that is similar to the one below. If I ever need to find a receipt, I’ll know which month/year bank statement to pull.
HP Laptop, Best Buy
Office Telephone, Office Depot – ATT
Luggage at TJ Maxx
Headset for ATT phone, Office Depot
Took iPhone back and got BlackBerry, AT&T
What system have you developed that works for you? Let me know. If you’d like more training on how to get organized, visit my Website. I also have a before/after organizing story and a page of records retention suggestions on how long you should keep files before destroying.