Getting organised in the new year, who else still has to do their accounts?!
Hello again everyone, I hope you have all had a fantastic Christmas and New Year and are ready to go for 2020! If you are anything like me, you have left your accounts to the last minute (again) and are dreading the inevitable time that you are going to have to bury yourself under a pile of receipts. Fear not! You are not alone, and I’m going to talk through a couple of things that might help keep you sane in the run-up to the 31st of January.
This is only my third year doing a tax return. The first year I just gave everything to an accountant because I was too scared to do it myself and my mum (who is technically a chartered accountant) wouldn’t help me. But this will now be my second year doing it myself, and I just wanted to let those of you who are doing it for the very first time yourself know, it’s not as scary as you’ve built it up in your head! I literally spent every single day after I submitted my self-assessment last year just refreshing my emails in-case I received something that said they were going to do a random investigation, or that there was a problem. But everything was fine!
I know people do things differently. Some people do the sensible thing and pay an accountant, some people use a spreadsheet, and some use accounting software, all are perfectly good ways of doing your accounts. I personally use the software, and it saves me so much time and means that I can see exactly where I am with my finances. It has about a million reports I can look through, and then when it comes to actually submitting my return, all I need to do is copy and paste the numbers into the right box. But it does still require some organisation.
I keep all my receipts in a jar. A very big jar. A jar from Costco that once contained an industrial amount of sourdough pretzels (by the way, as a sole trader you are eligible for a Costco card.) Plus there’s also the receipts I need to download from all that online shopping. It can be really overwhelming thinking about where to start and why you EVER thought of being responsible for your own taxes was a good idea.
Break everything up into small chunks. The first thing I do is divide my receipts by year. This year I’ve also included an envelope for the current tax year. I’ve told myself that once I’ve done my self-assessment I’m going to start on this tax year. But we’ll see how it goes this time next year when I’m burying myself in receipts again. Once I’ve done the physical receipts I do the email receipts.
And then guess what? Divide them by month! And after that, by category. Don’t make yourself do it all at once, and be sure to break it up with regular tea breaks, glasses of wine, or whatever you need to get yourself through it. It’s going to be ok! I’ve just ordered my Painty Business Book and I am so excited, I can’t wait to bring you a review of that when it arrives! But I am led to believe there are a few really handy pages in there to help you keep track of your expenses and invoices etc.
Don’t forget, any employed work you have done, you don’t need to worry about including that. It automatically appears when you fill out your form, and congrats, you’ve already paid the tax for it! What you do need to make sure of, however, is that you know all of your login information. I realised a few weeks ago that all my log in information was spread out across about 3 different email addresses, but because I use it so infrequently, I hadn’t bothered until then to put it all in one handy document. Who would have thought!
I hope you have all had an incredible start to the decade, I can’t wait to see what the year ahead has in store for all of us!
Now get back to sorting those receipts and someone for the love of god magic me up a cup of tea!