Feeling like your bookkeeping is a MESS? Need to clean it up BEFORE tax time rolls around? You aren’t alone.
I was chatting with a handmade business owner the other day who told me:
- I’m great at cranking out products and scheduling craft fairs.
- I’m scrambling at tax time.
- I have no sense of my cash flow.
- I lack discipline to do the office stuff.
- I don’t have a system.
- I suck at winging it.
The dilemma of the bookkeeping mess
Of course, your bookkeeping is going to be a mess when you are so focused on cranking out products and scheduling craft fairs, that nothing else matters.
It’s only natural, it’s how you make your money after all.
But I hate to say it (and you probably already know it) – the MESS you have on your hands is one of your own creation.
Bookkeeping messes are inevitable…..unless
You learn to take the same focus, drive, and organizational skills that you have when it comes to cranking out product and scheduling craft fairs and apply it to your own internal office stuff!
How to clean up those messy books – BEFORE tax time
You’ve already proven that you have mad organizational skills and incredible focus, so let’s apply those traits to your office stuff.
6 simple steps to clean up your bookkeeping mess
Step 1 – Yell, scream, throw a tantrum!
Yup, you heard me right! VENT your frustrations over how much you hate:
- dealing with numbers and taxes,
- the scattered pile or piles of receipts that you have,
- what a fool you are for not keeping up with your finances.
Go ahead, get it all off your chest.
Step 2 – Assess the damage
Now that you’ve had your tantrum, take a deep breath and assess the damage of the mess you have on your hands.
Grab a trusty pen/pencil and piece of paper. Jot down some notes, make some lists.
Figure out what you’ve done, what isn’t done, and perhaps what needs to be redone.
Step 3 – Gather up all that paperwork
You probably have things scattered in multiple places:
- Sales info in PayPal, Etsy, Square, etc.
- Receipts for purchases in a box or in your email account
- Bank and credit card statements still in your online account
Wherever your financial info is, go get it ALL and put it all in one place in a folder on your computer labeled 20XX Tax Info.
Step 4 – Get to work, clean up the mess BEFORE tax time
Tackle this task with the same organizational skills you use to pack up all your finished items for the BIGGEST craft fair you’ve ever done.
Decide if you’re going to use a spreadsheet or bookkeeping software for this year’s tax info. (Speaking of spreadsheets, I offer a free spreadsheet in my Facebook group – called Get that bookkeeping DONE, it’s in the files section and is available ONLY to group members).
Print out EVERYHING you found in step 3.
Get yourself a 12-pocket file organizer or some file folders and organize this stuff into months.
Enter everything ONE month at a time and make sure everything balances out with your bank statements BEFORE continuing to the next month.
This way, if you make a mistake, it’s easier to find and correct it.
Step 5 – Create systems for next year
Believe it or not, you’ve just created a system for next year – look at it like designing a pattern or making a finished item. You’ve:
- Chosen your materials (what your going to use to record your financial data – spreadsheet or software)
- Gathered your materials (all your financial receipts)
- Organized your workspace (put all those receipts into monthly file folders)
- Settled down to create (entering all that financial info)
Step 6 – Celebrate and evaluate!
YES! You did it! Your bookkeeping mess is all cleaned up and now you’re ready for tax time.
After the celebration is over, make a vow to take control of your bookkeeping so you don’t get into this messy situation ever again!
- Evaluate if what you used to hold this year’s financial info (spreadsheets) is really the best option:
- Compare this to the project that you thought would take 3 hours that turned into 9 – is this something that you want to continue making (using).
- Is there a better, easier way to make same item (doing your bookkeeping) without spending so much time on it?