Spring Cleaning: Deal with Pesky Receipts

A more literal version of spring cleaning for your business involves tidying up all the pesky paperwork that’s lying about. Some of the more prevalent (and obnoxious) pieces of paper taking up space in your office or house are those pesky receipts. When you first start out with a business it’s generally simple to organize receipts. The more you grow, though, the more the pile of receipts does as well.

Eventually you find yourself swimming in a veritable sea of the little guys, seemingly with no end in sight. Even worse, letting your receipts get out of hand may even negatively impact your business when you can’t find anything you need!

In honor of spring cleaning, let’s take a look at ways to deal with your receipts.

How Old are They?

Each business owner is going to have a different opinion of how long they should keep their financial records. And that’s totally fine, as it should be an individual decision and not just some blanket term. Some businesses need to keep their records around for years, some only a few months. For instance, if you were a doughnut salesman, you probably don’t have to worry about keeping copies of your customers’ purchases for too long.

Receipts that online sellers use, though, are almost always used later during tax season. You’ll need them for both your quarterly tax payment and for your yearly tax filings. So you’ll need your records for at least that year. After that, though, you have to decide when to chuck ‘em.

Is there any chance your customer will seek out a refund? Was there a warranty offered and you need to keep records? If not on either account, there’s no real reason other than your own mental well-being to have them sitting around.

Time to Go Digital

If you’d really rather not just dump years of receipts (we understand), why not go digital? You can keep all your records in one place without them taking up a ton of room. Best of all, they’re all available to you with a few clicks of the mouse.

Check out a service like Shoeboxed which lets you send them a bunch of documents and they scan and organize them for you. Of course if you have a scanner you can do it all yourself, though this might be incredibly time-consuming. Again this is up to you and largely dependent on how out-of-control your receipt issue is!

After you get everything nice and organized, try to keep it that way. Once a week go through your receipts and make sure everything’s where it should be. If it all possible go ahead and scan the new receipts in and recycle the physical copies. If that isn’t possible save them through tax day then scan them in. This way you don’t find yourself with a full room of bits of paper again and aren’t faced with the same task over and over again.

3 Responses to “Spring Cleaning: Deal with Pesky Receipts”
  1. I love using Neat Receipts for this!

  2. So which do you find to be better? Neat or Shoeboxed?

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