Old Fashioned but Effective

Tax Time Records

Doing business at home isn’t all freedom and creativity- there’s still the record keeping, and tax time is just around the corner. These are a few of the simple methods and tools I have used through the years as I’ve gleaned tips from other friends who do business at home.

We have an office with a big desk, and a big filing cabinet that is the hub of my bookkeeping. The computer is the main tool these days, and I use Quickbooks to get everything organized in the right categories and keep my numbers straight. Even my Quickbooks program is old and our accountant has to dig deep in the archives to find the right version when it comes to doing our taxes. Maybe this will be the year we will do so well, we can afford to update and upgrade.  But computers need input to do their job correctly, and that’s where this simple little system comes in.

We drop all of our receipts in a manilla envelope as we bring them home; one marked “check receipts”, which accounts for the things the business writes checks for, and one marked “cash receipts”, which I go through at the end of the year and add up by category to be sure we get all of the tax credits we are entitled to.

Simple Tools

I have a folder marked “Business to Do”; my running list of paperwork that must be done quarterly and at year’s end, and a folder marked “Forms Filed” that helps me remember to cross all my t’s and dot all my i’s. It has been helpful on more than one occasion when I needed to refer back to a previous quarter for information long forgotten. I am an artist, not an accountant, but I must wear both hats to keep our business running smoothly and in the black. My husband’s system of papers everywhere and in every drawer was even more archaic.

I'm Mobile

This little plastic file box, and laptop allow me the freedom to write and work at the kitchen table if the day is sunny, or the recliner in the office if I need to stretch out while I work.

I have dreams of the perfect home office with two desks facing each other, shelves of organized bins and books, and a “place for everything and everything in its place“, but for now I am happy to have our simple chaos and drudgery in manageable sections that gives us the freedom to keep doing what we love to do.

What simple systems do you use to keep home business paperwork from taking over your home? Please share your ideas.

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