Technology tames the PaperMonster
PaperMonster attacks, scourge of the small business owner.
Right around this time last year, we all vowed to avoid the tax time hassles of sorting through a year’s worth of paperwork. Yet there we sat again, victim to a vicious attack of the PaperMonster. Our desks are piled high with boxes of receipts and overflowing folders. So, what happened?
The hard answer is that we just don’t like to do paperwork; we buried our heads in the sand to avoid the unpleasantness.
We are all different and have our unique strengths. You may be thinking “I am the best contractor in the state, so what if I’m not great at the bookwork?” What resulted? A giant PaperMonster. Plus, we were robbed of the benefits of real time accounting data.
The first step in digging ourselves out of this hole is to assess the situation. What is my paperwork volume? How much time do I have daily/weekly to devote to organization, coding and data entry? Do we need to add staff? Have we reached the point now where we should seek assistance from a bookkeeper or business consultant? Once we know what we are facing we can come up with an action plan.
If the volume of transactions is small, a few items a day; perhaps the solution is as easy as a smart scanning device along with off the shelf accounting software such as QuickBooks or Peachtree (and maybe a few hours with the tutorial or a trainer).
If you have the time and the willingness to do your own bookwork, the most effective strategy we’ve found is to code items daily when the memory is still fresh. Then you have them corralled in a safe location until the end of the week when you can take advantage of high efficiency data entry by grouping similar items together.
Many banks and credit cards now offer the option to directly import statement charges into your accounting software. If your business has grown to the point that some assistance is definitely required, perhaps it’s time to look into a virtual assistant, a part time employee, or a bookkeeper. MSYS’s services for a cloud based “Forever Employee” option might be the answer. It offers little IT investment and low overhead costs.
Unfortunately, the PaperMonster will always be chasing us and ignoring it won’t prevent attacks. As your business is growing, so is the monster and so is the liability of remaining in the dark on your business finances. Taming the monster isn’t always simple or free, but the rewards pay dividends throughout the year. Having access to real time accounting data will allow you to recognize trends that are driving costs up on your business, or to identify an especially profitable service line where additional efforts should be focused. Imagine the freedom of not scrambling when your banks or vendors request financial information because you already have everything in order. Imagine the joy and cost savings of sending organized data to your CPA at tax time. Imagine your life with the PaperMonster safely locked away. From training to strategic business consulting to full service anytime, anywhere bookkeeping; we can help.