Ten tips for SUCCESSFUL Bookkeeping

Spring is in the air! So it is possibly a good time to give your bookkeeping system a good dusting down before April.  Bookkeeping is essentially a very simple task – if done in the right way.  A good bookkeeping system can be enormously powerful and time-saving for the busy business owner.  But it does need some basic ingredients in order to get it on the right track.  Have a read of these tips below – you may not need to be doing all of them (depending on the size of your business) but if you are doing most of them, then you should definitely be feeling the benefit.


  • Do it – and do it regularly. Make time each day, week or month (depending on business size) to clear the paperwork.  Recall is quicker and easier and you will feel in control.
  • Use online software.  It is pretty cost effective now and is so versatile and easy to use. A spreadsheet however should be the bare minimum.
  • Have a separate bank account – if you are a sole trader you will find it so much easier to keep abreast of income and expenses; if you are a limited company, ensure that as many of your business costs as possible go through your business account.
  • Devise a monthly/weekly recording procedure – and stick to it!
  • Develop a filing system for sales/purchase invoices and bank statements and update it regularly!
  • Use the banking ‘features’ available to you – direct debit, electronic transfer and debit/credit card – this makes the regular bookkeeping time so much easier
  • Develop a numbering system for your paperwork and relate this to your software record – if you have to look for a sales/purchase invoice at a later date – it can be found in seconds. If storing electronically, create a folder for each VAT quarter, for example.
  • Have a system for filing paper receipts.  Using mobile phones to take instant photos is making this task much easier – but it can be as simple as having an envelope for each month of the accounting year.   Remember, without a VAT receipt, you may be missing out on a VAT reclaim.
  • Paying for business expenses personally.  Record these as and when they occur otherwise you are likely to forget; store them in a separate folder too.
  • Discuss any queries with your accountant as and when they arise. Modern software enables both you and your accountant to have access to your records at the same time so s/he can put you right in seconds!