What Records Should I Keep?

There are two types of people in this world – those who avoid receipts like the plague, and those who still have a receipt from the 1950s for a pack of gum.

Okay, maybe there are a few “in-between” categories out there. But the fact is that most of us have a real love/hate relationship with record-keeping. However when it comes to your business, what kind of records do you need to keep on hand?

Records to Do With Running Your Business

You might be thinking this is a no-brainer, but some people actually miss this one.

Did you have to file a form with your local government to establish your business name, location, or right-to-conduct business?

Keep it handy!

Are there certain posters or signs that you’re supposed to display to maintain compliance with labor laws, fuel laws, or other business laws?

Display them!

If it is a document that you used to start your business or affects how you run your business, then it is a document that you need to keep in a common-sense place where you can get your hands on it quickly if asked.

Records from When You Received Payments from Customers

This will vary based on how you run your business. If you accept items from customers for store credit, you’ll need to keep track of this differently than if your items are more of a “one-and-done” type of sale.

The best app for you will be dependent what your business needs.

Chelsea Monk

The days of keeping these records by hand, however, are long gone.

Online CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software can help with keeping track of credits. Other apps, such as Shopify, are perfect for inventory management (which you definitely need when running a store!) and keeping track of your one-and-done sales.

Aim for one that consolidates as much sales information as possible, as that will save you time and money.

Records from When You Received Bills from Vendors

This one is the most painful to forget, as you can’t run your store if the electric company shut you down.

You need to have a system in place to record when bills are received and their due date so they can be paid on time, every time. You also need to keep a record of these bills alongside the payment record in your bookkeeping software.

Many of the big softwares, such as QuickBooks Online and Xero, allow you to attach a file to a record. This is the quick and easy way to make sure you always have the documentation you need for filing your taxes, and proving payment for your bills.

Records from Your Bank

Again, many people will think this is obvious. But it is often overlooked by business owners. Not only should you be keeping (and reconciling) your bank statements every month, you should also keep other notices you receive from them.

Loan amortization (payoff) schedules, privacy notices, letters from your bank representative. The only thing I wouldn’t recommend you hold on to are solicitations for additional services.

This list is not exhaustive by any means. If there is another document that you think you should keep, do so.

However, just because you need to keep these records, that doesn’t mean that you need to keep them all on paper.

I recommend attaching every single record you can to the corresponding transaction in your bookkeeping software. All other documents can be kept in the cloud, such as in Google Drive. You can even set up your correspondence as paperless, so all you need to do is download the file and save it in your Drive.

About the Author

Hi, my name is Chelsea and I am a lifelong Texas, USA resident. When I was 10 years old, my sister taught me how to knit and crochet in an effort to give herself 5 minutes of peace. (Who knew that a 10 year old sister could be so annoying?) I have continued to hone my craft over the years. My preference is lace knitting, and I love making shawls and scarves. I also love the soft fabric that so many quality yarns produce. Who knew possum-down would end up being my favorite? I realized my affinity for numbers when I was 15 and I went on to pursue a post-graduate degree in Accounting. I have been working on bookkeeping all of my professional life and recently decided to start my own virtual bookkeeping business from home. My dream is to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses by helping them take control of their finances.

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