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In this modern world almost everything happens quicker than ever before, and the old adage ‘time is money’ couldn’t be more true! I say ‘almost everything’ because there’s one thing that consistently takes many a consistently long time; filing a tax return. If you spend too long dealing with your accounts and tax return, you’re not alone.
The tax year end has passed and the deadline for filing tax returns by 31 January seems far enough away not to cause concern. However, now is the perfect time to reassess how you keep the information needed for your accounts and tax return and save yourself some time in the long run.
Often systems never change because it's always been done that way. Sometimes methods evolve into something far too complicated. However you normally approach the tax return deadline, here are a few simple checks that might help you save your time be dealing with documents efficiently when they arrive:
Do you keep you bank statements in date order? Do you keep bank statements separate for each different account? These changes are easy to implement and keep to as you go through the year, but more tricky to try and organise with the deadline looming.
Ask yourself; do you have a filing system? Do you know which invoices are paid and which are yet to be paid? Do you keep invoices paid by cash separate from those paid by a bank account? Again, these small changes to your process during the year won’t make your day to day work any more time consuming, but they can make a big difference when filing your tax return.
How do you track who owes you money? How often do you invoice? Small changes in the way you operate can improve your cash flow and ensure you recover your debts effectively.
Whether you have a manual system or a computer system, and whatever your business, having the appropriate systems in place to deal with your records throughout the year can free up time that you can use to grow your business.
From small sole traders to large corporate business, little things like this can make a big difference.
Craig Foxcroft, Business Services Manager
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