The war against paperwork…

PapermountainThe collection of paperwork for year end purposes is really important. If the correct paperwork isn’t provided to your accountant, then there is a whole lot of time spent going back and forth trying to get the information they need and in the end it just ends up costing you a whole lot more than it needs to to produce your financial statements and tax returns..  lets face it, it can be a nightmare of a job.  Who procrastinates about this?  It is one of those jobs no ones likes doing, so here are some questions I regularly get and some hints and tips to help you along the way:

How can I store my paperwork during the year?
Collating paperwork as you receive it during the year either manually folders or electronically within your accounting software (if you have Xero) or stored electronically in a folder on your computer.  Ensure whichever way you file your paperwork that you do it regularly.
What kind of paperwork do I need to store?
Bank statements
Receipts
Invoices
Loan information
Hire Purchase information
Vehicle log book
Payroll information
Interest certificates
Home office information, ie copies of your home phone, insurance, rent, mortgage interest, rates, power bills.
Basically anything that relates to the running of your business.
What does my accountant need from me to produce my financial statements and tax returns?
Generally your accountant will send you a checklist around the end of the financial year (usually 31st March unless you have a different balance date).  This will ask you for the information they require.  At a minimum they will need:
  • Bank Statements for the year
  • Accounts Receivable – prepare a list of invoices owing to you at balance date.
  • Are any of these uncollectable – do they need to be written off?
  • Accounts Payable – prepare a list of accounts owing by you at balance date.
  • Copies of GST returns filed and workings for these.
  • Computerised ledger or cashbook – are all the bank accounts reconciled or balanced?
  • A list any cash on hand, petty cash, floats or unbanked cash at balance date.
  • Make a list of any cash not banked or any items you paid for out of that cash not banked.
  • You need to do a stock take at balance date and keep that record of stock on hand and cost of that stock.
  • Provide a copy of invoices for assets you purchased during the year (anything over $500 exc GST that needs to be capitalised)
  • Provide a copy of any invoices for significant repairs and maintenance accounts (over $500)
  • If you use your vehicle for business purposes you need to keep a log book for a three month period and provide this.
  • A list of any business expenses paid for from your own personal funds
  • Summaries and statements of any loans
  • Withholding tax certificates
  • Do you run your office from home?  Then you need to provide measurements to calculate your home office percentage, and a list of or your accounts for power, home phone, broadband, rates, mortgage interest, rent, insurance and any other relevant costs.
  • Details of any income from other areas, eg  Salary and wages, interest, WFFTC, dividends, scheduler payments etc

If you use Xero, you can use the files feature within the program and store your information electronically throughout the year in here.  Do ensure your files are named relevantly with names of who from and dates  eg ASB Bank statement 1.1.2016 – 31.1.2016.  This makes it easy to find the information that is being looked for by your accountant.

You can have folders within this area for each year as per this diagram.  You can also email documents straight into your files section within Xero, and you find your email address here within files.  Hint, copy this email address and create a contact in your contacts for your Xero inbox with this email address.

Capture files email Capture Files

You could create a set of folders with your computer filing system or online filing system and save your invoices, bank statements and other information this way.  You would have a folder for each year, then within that different folders for different things, eg Bank statements, receipts, invoices, home office information etc.

Alternatively you can have a manual folder system.  My advice, have tabs for different things and keep these filed tidily and up to date every week or month.  That way it doesn’t become a big chore trying to do multitude of months at a time.

Where do I start?

Start by choosing the best way for you to collect this information.  Whichever way you decide it has to work for you.  If you are not sure, talk to your bookkeeper who can discuss your requirements and assist you to set up a system that is going to be maintainable and work for you.

If you would like some assistance, do let us know.  We would love to help.

DiCE <3

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