Almost pulled my hair all out, but its done now and 31st January is gone!Looking back I wondered why I was so stressed, mine was done and dusted in October, but my clients on the other hand, well there were a few last minute daredevils out there! It made me look at various ways sole traders or entrepreneurs record their income and expenses.
Stick all the invoices/documents in a bag
Just use a bank account to pay and receive everything
Pray and hope at year-end they can remember what they did!
The last option is a bookkeeper's/virtual assistant's worst nightmare. The others may work better, but still not ideal.
While you are a small business, handing over a bag of invoices to your virtual assistant at the end of the year may work, but what happens when your business takes off as you dreamt it would? You would be too involved in managing the growth of the company, which could include staffing amongst other issues so surely you want a system in place which is able to run itself or need minimal input from you.
If you are looking at growth and progression, take better care of the little things which have a big impact. The time spent at year-end collating all the info, finding all the invoices, chasing suppliers and creditors, etc. is time you could use to make money. As a small business, the last thing you want though is to invest in an accounting package. Why do you need one as you don't have enough incoming and outgoing info to input onto it...Right? So don't get one! There are options to just use basic spreadsheets to keep on top of things. Some example Templates are available.
There are however many cloud-based accounting packages out there that suit sole traders and entrepreneurs. Some are free to start of with and can grow with you and your business. This will ensure continuity of the business over the years and also hold all the accounts info in one place. Here are a few options for the Best Accounting Software for Small Business 2017. There is also a very interesting and comprehensive post for the Best Accounting Software Reviews 2018. This post shows the various functionalities you may need and the best system for you. Have a look.
So this post is just to say, no matter how busy you are and how organised or disorganised you may be, the TAXMAN will always coming knocking on 31 January. Be Prepared! Or get a Virtual Assistant!