Fuel for Thought
The End Is Near
We have almost reached the end. It is very near. Soon it will all be over but the crying. Well, hopefully there will not be any or not too many tears when the judgment day is upon you.
The end, of course, is the end of the calendar year 2022. Judgment day is either when you tally your receipts for the year, file your taxes or let April 18, 2023 pass without filing a return or the proper extension(s). Usually, April 15th is the deadline for filing taxes, but in 2023, April 15th falls on a Saturday, so we are given until April 18th to file.
As we near the end of 2022, many business owners start to reflect on the past year and many will regret not being more organized with their filing system… again. If this is you, now is a great time to set in motion your plans to be better organized for the upcoming year(s). Develop a filing system or digital receipt repository. Start a spreadsheet to track income and expenses for the new year. With a few minutes spent daily or weekly throughout the year, all of your shoebox files or bags of receipts can be a thing of the past along with the dread of having to sift and sort through all of those invoices and receipts at the end of the year.
Starting a spreadsheet can be a daunting task for many of you, but start simple. Just get the basics down on the sheet, you can always add to it later or make changes to better suit your needs.
For starters, open a new spreadsheet. This can be done easily using Google Sheets, Excel or any office software. A basic spreadsheet could just include your load revenue, fuel, tolls, maintenance, showers, meals (or Per Diem), supplies, parking, insurance, etc. It only takes a few minutes each time to add to your running totals, then at the end of the year, just print it out.
Of course, you can make a spreadsheet as detailed as you want, but if you are new to using one, start simple and grow slowly. There are plenty of video tutorials online to help you with formulas for automatic calculations of your different expenses. Simple calculations that anyone can do in just a few minutes. As your spreadsheet(s) grow, you can add new formulas as needed. You may not even need to go beyond the basic spreadsheet to achieve your goal of being better organized.
Should you need to find a particular receipt from the year, consider an accordion type folder to sort receipts in your truck as you acquire them. Use the same sorting as your spreadsheet to keep everything easily accessible.
Another popular method of organizing receipts is to scan them and save a digital copy for easy retrieval. If you are new to spreadsheets and also new to scanning receipts, perhaps the best plan of attack to get organized would be to start with the spreadsheet and transition to digital receipt scanning later. Don’t overwhelm yourself and give up. Start simple and progress at your own pace.
Choose a spreadsheet with easy access. It will make the task easier than if you can only access your work from one device. Online spreadsheets, like Google Sheets, can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. Consequently, whichever spreadsheet you choose to use, consider using cloud storage. Storing your work on just one device can possibly be lost, but using cloud storage can be retrieved from any internet connected device.
See you down the road,