What should I actually do with my receipts?

Having and using book-keeping software is one big step towards good financial management. You also need to know what to do with the physical receipts you gather so here’s an outline of a simple process:

Goal – don’t leave your data entry to a once a year or once a quarter task. DO IT WEEKLY OR MONTHLY.

  1. Keep all your receipts and whenever your purse or wallet becomes too full go through them and separate out the ones that were genuine business expenses
  2. If you will be cross-billing some of them to clients then write on these ones which project or client they refer to (if you leave this for weeks you will forget!)
  3. If some lack dates then write on them the date on which the expense was incurred
  4. In a perfect world you will now sit down and enter them into MyCake!
  5. In a real world at least pile them up on your desk. When the pile falls over it is telling you that it’s time to enter them into your book-keeping software …. take the hint!
  6. The book-keeping software will give you a number for the expense as you enter it onto the system (MyCake ones start KF…. and it comes as a pop-up once you’ve saved the details of the purchase). Write this number onto the receipt
  7. Staple your receipts onto A4 sheets of paper and put these (in roughly chronological order) into a ring binder
  8. You might also keep bank statements, credit card bills, contracts and other financial correspondence in this file so that you can hand the whole lot to your accountant (or if you do your own tax returns then it will already be in one place)

5 thoughts on “What should I actually do with my receipts?

  1. great advice. but what should i do about receipts that clients demand for their own records? is it enough just to keep a copy for my own acounts?

  2. Ana – i’m not sure if my first reply was successful so here we go again.

    Clients should be satisfied with copies, there will even be times when an expense needs to be split between more than one client, they can’t all have the original. You should keep your originals for your own tax records.

    FYI
    Please keep an eye on my website, http://www.frankalice.com, which should be up and running by the end of November.

    I am a Fine Art Student at Central Saint Martins but also a qualified chartered accountant with ~15 years hands on financial and operational experience within Media / Creative industries.

    Please feel free to contact me via my current email, infofrankalice@googlemail.com, if you want to find out more info.

    all the best, Kirsty

  3. I think when you pay a bill, then that receipt is for your records. If you invoice others, then that invoice, then becomes the receipt for THEIR records…. If a client “demands receipts for their own records” – if that receipr is being reimbursed by them, then thats a fair and reasonable request. Businesses should not be ‘reimbursing’ for items that aren’t supported by a receipt. Hope that helps. 🙂

  4. The easiest way to deal with receipts is send them to Keebo. http://www.keebo.com . They scan the, and extract all the useful information for your books. So you get all your expense information sorted and securely stored away to access as and when you need. You can export all the images and info to PDF and Excel for your accounting or expenses software too.

  5. Sally, tell me more … how do you know of them ie do you use them, have you invested in them? best Sarah

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