Here’s to a paper-free 2016! Electronic filing explained

How do you deal with your receipts and records? Still paper-filing? Well, you’re certainly not alone but there is a better way. “May I ask why you persist with paper?” I often ask my clients. “Simpler that way,” some say. “Cheaper too.” OK, but what about all the money you pay to store said paper? What about the integrity of your records long-term?

If the ATO comes knocking, you want to be able to lay your hands on the right document fast. As some of us have learned the hard way, receipts fade fast and Murphy’s Law dictates that the very record you’re looking for will be the one that proves elusive.

My advice is, why bury yourself under a mountain of paperwork when digitising your records is so much easier and more affordable than you think? Your accountant can help you choose the right systems for your business and get you all set up and trained. If you’re big enough to warrant a server and you have in-house IT support, they can help you roll out digital processes across the board.

The joys of electronic receipt filing

There are so many benefits of doing this, I hardly know where to begin. It’s no longer just about saving the planet; it’s also about efficient processes that save you time and money (not to mention heartache, knowing an important invoice or receipt will never go astray).

If a receipt has been emailed to you, filing is easy. You’ve already got your soft copy, so save it onto your computer or server and make sure you back up. Preferably off-site. Talk to an IT professional about the best way to do this. Contact Meritous Accounting & Advisory and we can point you in the right direction if you don’t have IT staff. If it’s a paper receipt and you don’t have a soft copy, simply scan (or take a high-res photo on your phone), save and back up.

Cloud-based storage facilities like Google’s Dropbox or Amazon Cloud Drive are easy to use and backed by big-name security. Receipt processing facilities like Shoeboxed or Receipt Bank can save you lots of time by extracting data for you. These clever systems accept your scans of invoices, then process them into your compatible accounting software system. It’s not free but it is relatively cheap and it is worth it. Speak to us at Meritous if you think this is something that will help your business.

Pro tip: careful labelling is key. Always include a clear description and date in the file name where possible.

What about bookkeeping, accounts and other records?

There are plenty of digital options to suit businesses of all natures and sizes. Talk to your accountant about options. They’ll know what your financials look like and can advise you on whether you should choose an accounting software package, a cloud-based system or a simple suite of Excel spreadsheets.

A few cost-effective, secure options with great reporting facilities for small business are:

  • Xero
  • MYOB
  • Intuit QuickBooks

Meritous Accounting & Advisory specialises in setting businesses up with accounting software. We’ll advise you on the best system for you, help you install it and show you how to use it. You’ll be a whiz in no time, and we’re always on the other end of the phone if you run into trouble.

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