Jump Start January: Personal Finance Week: Day 7

The last task of Week One of Jump Start January is for freelancers and small business owners. If that doesn’t include you then consider putting your expenses claim together for your day job, or perhaps looking for a better deal on your energy bills, or getting your money back from a purchase that didn’t go so well.

Meanwhile, the freelancer task is as follows: get my business records up to date for the last four months. That includes money coming in: paid invoices, sales, royalties, ALCS money, Public Lending Right money, general fees and anything else. If you are unlucky and have any unpaid/outstanding invoices, make a note of them too (my lovely clients have all paid on time, but that’s certainly not every freelancer’s experience).

My old filing system is too lo-fi, so I’ll be setting up some new spreadsheets and making sure there are reliable backups in place. I’ve also just remembered that I’ve forgotten to invoice a client, so I’d better get on with that right away too.

My records also include money going out: computer hardware and software, web hosting, domain registration fees, stationery and postage, services bought, research and development, membership of professional bodies, training and courses, office equipment and storage, and so on. There’s a pile of receipts to go through, but at least they’re all in the same place. I’ve also decided that I need to get back into the habit of sitting down at the end of each month and sorting out all receipts and other business expenses – it only takes a few minutes and saves heaps of time in the long run.

If that doesn’t appeal to you, remember that the annual tax deadline of the 31st of January is coming up for the self-employed. If you spent an hour today working towards filing your tax return, it could save you a fair amount of stress at the end of the month.

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  1. You’ll feel so much better when it’s out of the way. From now on I’m going to have a little catch up with my paperwork at the end of every month – those receipts get out of hand too quickly.

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