A while ago, I was asked a question via Facebook - "How do you organize your receipts?". Since I prefer pictures over words I dedided to do a "photo shoot" of my Receipt Organizing System, with a little bit of description. I hope you will find it helpful as the tax season is quickly approaching.
Start with a Simple Box
As you can see, nothing fancy. Just one simple box.
At first, all the receipts get "dumped" inside the box without sorting. The most important thing is that they’re all together. No searching around the house for receipts; they're all stored in one place only.
Important note: As soon as I receive a receipt, I mark it with "OE" for Office Evolution (my business name) and the month and the year when the receipt was issued. It makes my life much easier when I file the receipts.
What is in the Box?
In the box, I keep receipts that are ready to be recorded and two 13-compartment harmonica folders for filling the receipts. The first folder is for business receipts and the second one is for personal receipts.
Each harmonica folder compartment is labelled with the name of the month.
How Many Harmonica Folders do I Have?
Two (2) for our personal receipts
One for the current year (2014) and one for the previous year (2013). All receipts from 2013 will be recycled on January 1st, 2015 and the harmonica folder will be reused for the 2015 personal receipts.
Up to eight (8) for my business receipts (one for each year in the business)
I started my business in 2010 which means I currently have the years 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. I will go up to 2017 and on January 1st, 2018 all receipts from 2010 will be recycled and the harmonica folders will be reused for 2018 business receipts.
All that means that I will never have more than 10 harmonica folders. The folders are not big and will always nicely fit on a shelf or in a box.
How Do I Process the Receipts?
On a regular basis I record all receipts into a MS Excel spreadsheet. Again, nothing fancy, but works great for me.
I don’t have many receipts; so I record my expenses on a quarterly basis. You can do it monthly, weekly, even daily; depending on how your business operates.
Once recorded, each receipt is marked as processed (by a check-mark) and filed in the corresponding month.
The check-mark is very important. It tells me if the receipt was processed or not, in case they all get mixed up.