Here are some general accounting/bookkeeping tips from our staff accountant Rosie:
Everyone has their own way of organizing their information. In my experience as a staff accountant, I have seen bookkeeping records stored in neat and tidy binders with tabs and I have seen records scribbled scraps of cardboard in a shoebox (not recommended).
During my 10 years of bookkeeping experience I have found the following organization procedures to be the most effective in keeping information.
· Vendor files: Alphabetical files of regular vendors kept in hanging files makes filing paid bills super easy. After you have paid a bill, simply file the paid bill attached to the corresponding check stub in the vendor’s file. If there is ever a dispute in the future regarding payment of a bill, you can simply pull out the vendor’s file and take a look at the physical bills you have received. If you prefer electronic filing systems, you can keep a similar filing system by having separate files on a back up disk for each vendor and save PDF copies of bills to the file as you pay them.
· Checks: For security and internal control purposes, unsigned checks and any signature stamps are best kept in a locked drawer or safe. The key to the drawer or the combination to the safe should be in possession only by those who need to access the checks on a regular basis (check signers or bookkeepers).
· Payroll: I like keeping payroll records in a binder. I usually have the binder divided into at least 3 sections: one for W4’s, one for correspondence with the IRS or ODR, and one for payroll and payroll reports. I also like to separate the different quarters in the payroll and payroll reports tab with post-its. I found the binder to be an easy way to contain all payroll records and reference them quickly when needed.
· Regular Back-ups: I also suggest making regular backups of your QuickBooks file. The regularity depends on how active your books are. If you only have a few transactions a month and you usually just to update and do monthly reconciliations, you can do a backup on a monthly basis. If you have a large number of weekly transactions, you should be making backups every week (or every other week if weekly is not possible). The backup device you use to save your QuickBooks file should also be kept off site. So, if you save the back up on a thumb drive, take the thumb drive home until your next back up rather than keeping it in a drawer at the office. That way if anything was to happen to your place of business, you still have a copy of your books in a safe place.
I hope you find the suggestions listed above helpful as you organize your bookkeeping records throughout the year.
If you have any questions on your organizational processes, please feel free to let us know. We are happy to provide additional suggestions to help your business run efficiently and effectively.