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Filing Invoices, Receipts, Delivery Notes and Correspondence

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  • Filing Invoices, Receipts, Delivery Notes and Correspondence

    If you run a small business, you will be getting the above items all the time. But how do you organize them? I've never had a system to deal with this. Imagine you have 5 of each in your Inbox. You process them. But as I process each item, I want to know where to put it.

    Do I have a folder for all my Invoices grouped by month, so they are easy to track when doing accounts? Or do I group by Supplier, but then you might have one off suppliers with a near empty folder all to themselves?

    Your thoughts on best practice?



  • #2
    How many of these items do you have?

    I only have a few clients, so a month with three or four invoices is a busy one for me. I throw them all in a folder when submitted, with a note on my calendar to follow up at the appropriate time. When paid, I staple the invoice to the check stub and throw both in a 12-pocket accordian folder. That folder also gets credit card receipts, and goes into long term storage once I've done my taxes for the year.

    I also have only a few vendors, and make most purchases by credit card. For projects, as opposed to simple purchases -- getting letterhead designed, say -- I create a folder as I would for any other project.

    A different type of business might require a vastly different system. A restaurant, say, would need to keep payroll records for employees, much more complicated vendor records, possibly files for insurance and regulation compliance, and so forth. The best filing system is the one that works best for you.

    Last edited by kewms; 08-22-2007, 10:57 AM. Reason: fix typo


    • #3
      My husband owned a retail business for 20 years. He wrote about 100 checks a month, including payroll. He made about 30 petty cash payments a month. I did all his bookkeeping, but not bill paying.

      I would file by month. As items are entered into your bookkeeping/accounting system, file them in that month's folder. A few major suppliers may merit their own folder, but for the most part, you should be able to find a document you need when filed this way. Most documents once entered into the accounting system do not need to be retrieved.

      Petty cash chits/receipts should be accumulated in a separate folder or envelope for the month with a running list of what's in it. Petty cash payments tend to be for a limited set of expenses. Once you gain some experience with your specific business, you can create a spreadsheet for petty cash where each line contains the date, the vendor, a column for each of the common expenses from your chart of accounts (for example, Office Supplies, Merchandise, Repairs, Cleaning, etc.) and total. Go ahead and break out the receipt across the accounts when you enter it on the list . Or if you're rushed, at least put the date, vendor and total. Asterisk it to know you need to come back and break it out. Most receipts during the month will fall under a single category and are easy to do. Then, once a month, total, reimburse the petty cash account and enter the total by account into your accounting system. At that point the petty cash envelope can be filed in your monthly folder or folder can be filed behind your monthly folder and a new one started for the next month.

      Invoices: The amount of the invoice goes in your accounting system (paid or accounts payable) and the physical invoice goes in the monthly folder. Write the check number and the date and the amount paid (if not obvious) on the document.

      Receipts: Go in the petty cash folder/envelope and the purchase information gets handwritten on the spreadsheet.

      Delivery Notes: Are these packing slips? They can be stapled to the invoices. Discrepencies in amount received vs. amount on the slip need to be noted and communicated to the vendor. If you are waiting for a credit, these can be in an @WF folder.

      Correspondance: Depends on how much of it you have. If it's rare, you could file it with the invoices OR have one folder for the whole year.