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What lost receipts could mean for your business
Running a business

What lost receipts could mean for your business

If you are a small business owner, keeping an account of expenses can be a laborious task. Due to your hectic schedule, you might find little time to consolidate your expenses and record your receipts in an orderly, timely manner.

However, it is during the tax season that your nightmare will unfold. You will find yourself working through a maze of receipts, which have incomplete details, to determine your business expenses.

This could have very dangerous consequences, as your tax return could be in peril. The fact of the matter is that receipts have to be taken seriously as they serve as an audit protection.

Risk of unreported receipts

If you give second-hand treatment to receipt handling, you are likely to put your business in a precarious position. The careless act of losing receipts by not storing them in the right manner or failing to proactively update them as business expenses has tremendous implications.

Firstly, it invariably leads you to inaccurately underestimate the company expenses and inflate the revenue and profit figures.

In all likelihood, if the expenses are understated, you will tend to overspend and commit yourself to investments that the company cash flows cannot afford. You could land up in high bad debt. Cheque bouncing is one of the common incidents in this type of a scenario. This is also considered a criminal offence in some countries.

Secondly, you can be charged with fraud, and the reputation of your business can be at stake, if you unknowingly declare flawed revenue and profit figures to your stakeholders.

Lastly, you will have no choice but to pay a much higher tax as you will not have the ample receipts or documentation to prove that your expenses were business related.

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Grow Your Business with QuickBooks

Cardinal rules of receipt keeping

So what are the must-dos that business owners – like you – should keep in mind while handling your expense keeping?

First and foremost, you must keep all your work-related receipts. These can then be used as evidence for your business expenses during tax time.

However, it is not only about having all the receipts, but also ensuring that all the receipts have the requisite details to explain their purpose.

This comes handy for you, especially when you have to claim company expenses for entertainment and food. For instance, name of the employees or clients who were part of the event, the respective job titles, the date of the event and the venue should be recorded next to the receipts.

Secondly, you might have a credit card that is specifically assigned for business expenses. However, storing only credit-card statements will not be sufficient for your record keeping.

Since these statements are never itemised, all purchases will look like large lump sums. Hence, please ensure you have a register receipt to accompany your credit-card statements.

Thirdly, all of us know that the ink on the receipts fade away with time. Since most tax authorities expect business owners to have their company records for up to six years, it is best to scan your receipts or better still, take a photo.

Lastly, while credit-card and debit-card expenses get documented, pure cash transactions are far harder to track and can sometimes be forgotten and not accounted for. Hence, it is vital for you to get receipts from the vendor for every cash transaction.

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Optimal management of receipts

Though receipts are very important, there is no denying that managing them is a painstaking process that requires piles of physical receipts, numerous spreadsheets and endless administrative time.

If you are working out in the field or are away on business travel, you might find it difficult to update your receipts on the company system, unless you are back in the office.

However, there are technology solutions in the market with online platforms to help you streamline your expenses. These solutions work seamlessly on any mobile device, which is a boon for people who are engaged in offsite work, or are out on business travel.

You can  upload your receipts on the go , as and when you incur a business expense.

There are online tools, such as  QuickBooks Online , where users can categorise their expenses, be it a small expense such as office supplies, mileage and meals, or big purchases such as extended international travel.

You can digitise your receipts in real time when you are inputting your expenses, thus relieving yourself of having to reconcile your receipts manually.

Expense management platforms also allow you to set parameters on your company’s expenses.

For instance, when a receipt is uploaded, the software will do a check on whether it meets the requirements of a business expense, and accordingly accept or reject it.

This way, both you and your employees are saved the hassle of manually going through the company approval process.

If you follow the fundamental requirements for receipt keeping, and use a technology platform to manage your receipts, then all it takes is a click of a button to accurately display your business expenses. Rather than a storm, the tax season will then be a pleasant breeze for you.

To read more articles relevant to small business finance, visit here

How QuickBooks Can Help You Save Time

QuickBooks is an online accounting software that can help you save time and money by automating your bookkeeping tasks. With QuickBooks, you can easily track your income and expenses, create invoices and estimates, and manage your payroll.

One of the biggest time-savers that QuickBooks offers is its ability to automatically import your bank transactions. This means that you don't have to manually enter each transaction, which can save you hours of work each month. QuickBooks can also help you to categorise your transactions, so that you can easily see where your money is going.

In addition to automating your bookkeeping tasks, QuickBooks can also help you to manage your cash flow. With QuickBooks, you can easily create budgets and track your spending, so that you can make sure that you're not overspending. QuickBooks can also help you to create invoices and estimates, and to track your accounts receivable.

If you're looking for a way to save time and money on your bookkeeping, then QuickBooks is a great option. QuickBooks is easy to use and can help you to automate your bookkeeping tasks, so that you can focus on running your business.

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