Everyone knows that accounts are necessary. And (almost) everyone hates them. But fear not! It doesn’t have to be as stressful as you think. Here are my five top tips for stress-free accounting.
1) Keep EVERYTHING.
Literally. Keep your receipts, keep your cheque books, keep that note you wrote to yourself last week about the £2 that Little Suzie paid for a new promise badge when she lost hers. Trust me, it’ll be important later.
2) Keep everything SAFE.
Get a folder, or a tin, or some other method of keeping everything together. Get into the habit of putting everything in there. If you lose it, you can guarantee that you’ll need it later. It’ll surface in three years time at the back of your craft drawer, covered in glitter.
It doesn’t even matter if you don’t keep it in the right order (although it’s easier if you do) as long as things are dated.
3) Write stuff down.
You won’t remember. Don’t even try. There are too many other, more interesting things going on in your life.
Invest in a notebook so all of your notes are in the same place, and whenever you do anything involving money, write it down. It’s hard, with parents and children both clamouring for your attention, but they can wait. They’ll understand.
I have a notebook with plastic dividers in, with tiny pockets, just the right size to store cheques and cash. When people give me things, I write them down and immediately slip the cheque into the little pocket. Later, when I’m following step 4, I transfer the cheques to more secure storage.
4) Keep on top of it.
Whatever method you’re using to record your accounts (a spreadsheet, the Girlguiding package, a paper accounts ledger), don’t wait until the end of March before you fill it in. Do it as you go along, before you’ve forgotten what that cryptic note means. I do mine every week (I have two units and the division, so I’d get very confused if I didn’t), and it takes ten minutes, tops.
Whenever you get a bank statement, check it matches what you think you should have. It’s easier to find the problem if it’s only a month since the accounts were last balanced! Which brings us to:
5) Ask for help sooner rather than later.
If you’ve spent more than an hour worrying about why your accounts don’t add up, ask your local Accounting Guru for help. The chances are it’s something obvious that you’ve not spotted because you’re too close to the problem. If you leave it until six months later, it’ll be harder to find and your Guru will grumble.
I hope these little tips have been helpful. Does anyone have any more to add? Leave them in the comments!