As year-end approaches we make many plans for the New Year and inevitably we are reminded of the changes we want to make to our lives. Similarly, we are faced with analyzing and comparing this year’s results against our financial objectives and at one point or another, this process brings us to bookkeeping and record keeping. Throughout the years I have seen many approaches to organizing records, by project, by month, by revenue stream, other categories, and a combination thereof. These methods are all valid and the same time each one presents a caveat, especially considering that paper is being replaced by digital media from multiple channels such as email, attachments, images, PDFs etc. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Fear not, as in most disciplines in life, a little strategy can help you plan and execute with confidence.
Firstly, know when your year end is. For individuals year end is December 31st while a corporation can have a different date.
Ensure that you gather all types of records for the year such as your bank statements, deposit records, credit card statements, sales invoices, sales receipts, expense receipts for the year, any outstanding payable bill, and correspondence with CRA and your provincial Ministry of Finance whether it be assessments or notices.
If you can provide all the above, you have a very good start. A further step into organizing for year end is to adopt a record filing strategy that will help you locate your records when needed: for example, consider this approach: digitize, centralize and categorize.
To digitize, you can scan paper receipts either into PC, phone or tablet. Other records may already be digitized as in email attachments and they would need only to be centralized into your storage medium of choice, such as a disk drive, cloud drive or other storage media such Onedrive, Google, Dropbox, etc..
Finally, it’s time to consider organizing your files into categories; the list of categories can be long and, if at a minimum you can organize your repository by bank, sales, expenses, receivables, payables and regulatory (CRA etc.), I’d say that you have tied a ribbon on your year-end box!
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