May 15, 2020

8 Tips for Cleaning Up Your Books in 15 Minutes or Less

Unless you’re one of those weird numbers people (you know who you are), bookkeeping is a necessary evil. You love it, and you hate it. Proper bookkeeping enlightens your financial planning and stimulates your cash savings, but it can be painfully trivial. Well, it’s trivial when you’re doing it wrong, that is.

See, bookkeeping can be downright pleasant when done correctly and often. Think of it like your kitchen. When you take 15 minutes after dinner to clean up the dishes and wipe off the counter, it feels rewarding to leave the room sparkling. But when you let the plates pile up in the sink for a week, that hours-long purging isn’t rewarding—it’s gross and exhausting.

We’re in the USA. We want quick, cheap, and high-quality—and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you want to polish up your business books in 15 minutes or less for little or no costs, then give these 8 tips a try.

1. Wax on, Wax off

To become a lean, mean bookkeeping machine, you need to create a process. Make a step-by-step plan for how you’re going to spend your time cleaning the books. If you go in without a game plan, you’ll get lost and waste valuable time.

A process will help you become more efficient. The more efficient you become, the less time it’ll take for you to finish your bookkeeping tasks.

2. Make Bookkeeping Shorter but More Frequent

Bookkeeping 15 minutes a day keeps the IRS away. Or something like that. Like the dishes, it’s much easier to spend 15 minutes a day doing your bookkeeping rather than hours at the end of the week or month.

Set a dedicated time at the end of the day to sit down with your finances. Who knows—it may just become a therapeutic end-of-day task you look forward to.

3. Take Advantage of Technology

Bookkeeping software and apps are a lifesaver. Sunrise, for example, can automatically upload and organize all your transactions and bank statements. Plus, when you want to take a look at your essential financial reports, you’re just a couple clicks away from having Sunrise create them for you. 

Software can help you easily duplicate invoices, convert estimates into invoices, and integrate with your bank to keep track of your payments in real-time.

And when you’re on-the-go, most bookkeeping phone apps have time-saving features like image scanning and time tracking to make bookkeeping easier than ever.

4. Opt for Electronic Invoices and Receipts

While you’re taking your bookkeeping to the cloud, do the same thing with all of your invoices and receipts. With digital records, you won’t have to dig through your pants pockets, business bags, or filing cabinets for old, wrinkled receipts. This organization will save you precious time, and it’ll guarantee you don’t accidentally throw away valuable paperwork.

5. Use Credit Cards Whenever Possible

Rewards and cashback bonuses are nice, but business credit cards also help you track your expenses accurately in real-time. You can link your credit card to your bookkeeping software to automatically upload and categorize your expenses.

When you pay with cash, you can request a receipt, and that receipt usually goes straight into your pocket. And, hopefully, the receipt will make its way from your pocket and into the records by the end of the month (if it hasn’t disappeared by then)—but don’t count on it.

6. Separate Your Business and Personal Accounts

Make sure your business and personal accounts are separate. This tip alone will save you hours trying to determine whether that stapler you bought from Amazon was for your business or your spouse. A business bank account will keep your transactions nice and organized in one place, making bookkeeping a daydream and tax season a vacation (well, more like less of a nightmare).

7. Automate Your Recurring Invoices

Stop wasting time following up on your customers’ payments by automating your recurring invoices. You can also automate your invoice reminders so that you spend less time in your email inbox. The less time you spend on the bookkeeping minutiae, the more time you’ll have to focus on building your business.

8. Hire a Bookkeeper

If even 15 minutes seems like too much, consider handing off your books to a professional bookkeeper. They’re not as expensive as you might think, and they can scale with your business—meaning you don’t have to spend more time bookkeeping the more you grow. Bookkeepers will match transactions, reconcile your books, generate your cash flow reports, and be on-call to answer all your questions.

Bookkeeping Done Right

If your bookkeeping process feels like a brutal slog, you’re probably doing it wrong. In 15 minutes or less, you can start polishing up your records to make your books squeaky clean. Give these 8 tips a try and discover a better (faster) way to clean up your books.

About the author

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Jesse Sumrak
Jesse Sumrak is a Social Media Manager for SendGrid, a leading digital communication platform. He's created and managed content for startups, growth-stage companies, and publicly-traded businesses. Jesse has spent almost a decade writing about small business and entrepreneurship topics, having built and sold his own post-apocalyptic fitness bootstrapped startup. When he's not dabbling in digital marketing, you'll find him ultrarunning in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Jesse studied Public Relations at Brigham Young University.

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Bookkeeping for your small business.

Simplify your bookkeeping and save money