I will start by saying I’m not an accountant. I did one module at uni of accounting and just about passed it. I’ve always been a maths geek though so even as a writer, I love numbers. If you’ve been here before, you’ll know I do my accounts during my Monday morning CEO routine. I’ve whittled down the numbers into my three-step accounting routine. It’s simple so anyone can get on top of their books! I’ve recently paid for QuickBooks but I’ll still be using this routine as well!
Set up a simple spreadsheet
This first step is all about organisation. It’s a lot easier to set up an Excel document if you don’t have accounting software. All you need to do is a simple ins and outs columns to keep track of income and expenses. Set up a new page for each month of the tax year (going April-March). It helps to have your inbox and banking apps open whilst you do this too.
It can be a good idea to have a separate email address and bank account purely for business income or expenses. Alternatively, file them away into folders in your email system.
All you’re doing here is tracking any money coming into the business and any leaving it. You can add categories if you wish to but it’s not that important!
Download any invoices + receipts
Once you’ve got them into a spreadsheet, you need to collate your proof for the taxman, just in case. Any income and expense you’re claiming needs to be kept. Download any invoice you’ve sent as well as any expense you’ll be claiming for. That includes technology, apps, business memberships etc. There’s lots more on what you can and can’t claim on the government website or speak to an accountant if you’re unsure. The more you claim for, the smaller your tax bill will be so claim for as much as you can!
Organise into my external hard drive folders
After you’ve downloaded everything, now’s the time to get organised. My external hard drive is an absolute lifesaver when it comes to running my business. When it comes to my accounts, I have a folder for each tax year, split into months and then further into income and expenses. This works for me just fine for right now! Everything is labelled properly so I know exactly where to go if I have an unpaid invoice or have a payment issue.
If you are someone who really does struggle with your accounts, trying my three-step accounting routine might work for you. If not, I’d definitely think about investing in accounting software or hiring an accountant because it’s not something we can afford to mess up!
Whilst writing is my main passion, it’s important to keep on top of everything and organisation helps massively with that. Make your accounts fun by playing your favourite music or podcast whilst doing them! I even colour code my spreadsheets because you know that’s what I love! I’m constantly sharing my favourite organisation tips over on Instagram so head over there right now!