U.S. News and World Report published an article “5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Finances.”
The article provides tips and ideas for organizing and managing personal finances. With the April 15th filing deadline just days away, this time of year is a good time to review and organize all of your corporate finances as well. Once all of your information is filed away for the previous year, take the time to do some spring-cleaning in your books and in your back office as well.
Here are four tips for spring-cleaning your books and back office:
1) De-Clutter and Go Paperless
Are you buried in paperwork? Are notes scribbled on top of files that are stacked in folders in your office? Take some time to clean house! Scan and make digital copies of important documents, then securely shred the physical copies along with any old and/or expired documentation to get it out of the office. Better yet, commit to making your entire back office paperless. You can streamline invoicing, payroll, and bookkeeping by going digital. After your clean sweep, you’ll notice less paper piling up over time. And just think of the savings you’ll experience on paper, ink, postage, filing cabinets and storage as well!
2) Review All Outstanding Invoices
While reviewing invoices should be a regular occurring task in your business, take the time now to do a “deep clean” of your accounts receivable. Using your bookkeeping system, run a report to pull every single unpaid invoice for the year to date. Then use every tactic available to connect with your clients/customers to make sure you get that payment. Don’t think it is worth the time? After you run the report for unpaid invoices, take a look at the total tally for the amount owed to your company. That number alone should be reason enough to get every single cent that is owed to the business. Here are some collections best practices to get you started.
3) Check All Service Agreements
It can be easy enough, especially with credit card payments and automated bill pay, to neglect to review your service agreements with your vendors and suppliers. Why should you bother looking at your invoices or contracts if all of the bills are getting paid on time? It’s important to keep up to speed on all of the fine print to avoid surprises down the road. A vendor may have taken away from his or her services while charging you the same amount, or you might only be paying the promotional period rate for a specific service without realizing the cost will increase significantly in a few months. Research every service agreement and if things are changing, contact the provider to see if you can negotiate a better deal.
4) Ensure Data Integrity
A lot of small and medium-sized businesses use a digital bookkeeping solution, such as QuickBooks®. While QuickBooks® inherently does a good job at keeping all of your financial data backed-up, occasionally something can happen (i.e. human error, a system bug, a power surge) that can corrupt your QuickBooks data file. While you are going through your office and organizing items, take a few moments to check your QuickBooks file to make sure it is backed up completely and regularly. If you notice any issues, follow these steps to identify and repair any QuickBooks® data corruption. And remember, software support services will eventually expire for outdated versions of accounting software such as QuickBooks®, so make sure you keep up to date so you’re not left in the dark if a problem does occur with your file.