A common complaint of small business owners is they feel overwhelmed by the never-ending pile of paperwork that is covering their desks, and view paperwork as their biggest time waster. A major issue of not managing paperwork effectively is the likelihood of missing out on claims at tax times because of incomplete or missing paperwork. This is not something small business owners enjoy facing, and not to mention the additional time it tasks to locate and organise your paperwork so it’s ready to give to your accountant.
While paperwork won’t be making an appearance on any list of small business owner’s favourite hobbies any time soon, the silver lining is that it doesn’t need to be this painful. Carbon Concierge can help small business owners get their paperwork under control, and with that will come a welcomed reduction in stress.
Carbon Concierge’s top five tips to get your paperwork under control
- Reduce hard copies by transitioning to a digital system
There are many excellent software platforms and handy tools to help you keep all your paperwork digitally – from scanning receipts, to having online invoicing and payment services. Contracts can also be digitised by using secure platforms like DocuSign.
- Create a system
Whether your system is digital or hard copies, you need to have a system in place. A good rule of thumb is to handle a piece a paper as little as possible. To do this, a system should be in place which is used for all paperwork. Documents should be categorised in a way which comes natural to you, so when you go looking for it in the future it’s in a place that makes sense.
- Take it one section at a time
Don’t try to go all-in straight away, because all that will do is stress you out even more! Break the project down into manageable chunks.
- If it’s no longer needed, get rid of it
The decision to keep or throw out paperwork is a fine line, and there is a lot of fear around destroying paperwork in case the ATO come knocking. Knowing how long to keep a document is unique to the document type, however the seven-year rule is a good one to abide by: If it’s older than seven years, it can likely be discarded without causing issues. We recommend you speak to Carbon Concierge or your accountant to confirm.
- Stick to your new system
It’s great to have gone through the difficult process of organising your paperwork, but the trick is to stick to your new process to avoid the problem re-occurring in the future!