4 Tips to Stay Better Organized as a Small Business Owner or Freelancer
Do you have business receipts but aren’t sure where to put them? Are you drowning under a heaping stack of financial papers? Are you all over the place with what you need to do in general? Many people struggle to stay organized at work. Here are some tips to keep things in better order.
1. Have a routine to handle receipts
It’s easy to lose track of receipts. Some places will give you the option of having them sent digitally while many places still give you a physical piece of paper. If you don’t have a set place to put them, it’s easy to misplace or lose them altogether. I have personally found one or two lingering at the bottom of my purse on occasion. To take better care of business expenses and other financial paperwork, have a system to round them all up for safekeeping.
Carly Ottaway, Freelancer Writer and Brand Consultant at WebofWords.ca collects all of her business receipts in an envelope. She then scans them in order to add them into her accounting system at the end of each month. She explains, “Every month, I set a budget for business expenses and I will check in when I have an unexpected expense to see if I can make some changes to make up for it.” Having a set spot to put them and a process to enter them in allows her to stay on track with budgeting. If she didn’t stay on top of this, she wouldn’t be able to check on the health of her business and make important money-related decisions.
2. Have a pro guide the way
It can be hard to organize your business expenses when you’re not quite sure what to save for tax time. If you find yourself constantly sorting through a heaping stack of receipts that you don’t even need to save, consider talking to an accountant or tax specialist.
Freelance Education Writer, Emily McGee of myadaptablecareer.com met with her tax accountant to get the lowdown on the types of business expenses she can deduct. This gives her a better idea of what to save and document and what to ditch. She even checks in when accidents happen. McGee mentions, “When the plumbing in the bathroom above my home office broke, I was able to deduct some of the repair costs because it impacted my office.” So it can’t hurt to talk to a tax pro for multiple reasons regarding your business.
3. Stay on top of time spent working
If you work on a project-basis, time tracking is crucial to your bottom line. For this reason, McGee explains how at the end of each task completed, she calculates her hourly rate for the project. She states, “I use this data to help me decide what projects to take on or let go of and how to set my rate for future projects/clients.” This information can help you make decisions and light a path to better profits.
4. Free up mental bandwidth
Don’t scratch your head trying to remember what you have to do. Type it all up on a tool. Event planner and Freelance Writer, Melanie Lockert of DearDebt.com does just that by using Asana. She tracks all of her clients as well as her deadlines. She notes that there’s no task too small to record. Lockert admits, “I put everything in there — even personal things like changing my address, or going grocery shopping. Asana helps me keep track of all the moving parts.” She especially loves the reminders and that you can have a calendar view of when your work is due. Using the calendar function is also helpful for invoicing. She’s able to see what work was completed that month and invoice accordingly.
The Bottom Line
There’s always room to improve when it comes to maximizing our time and efforts. Try using some of the tips above to stay on top of financial paper piles, get better organized and stay on top of the many work-related details.