Simple systems to improve your entrepreneurial skills

woman doing bookkeeping
woman doing bookkeeping

Like many of my fellow entrepreneurs, I spent most of this week focused on accounting and taxes.

I would love to say that my bookkeeping was up-to-date and all I needed were a couple of printouts. Nope. I had much more to do than I anticipated – most of which could have been avoided if I’d coded transactions when they were fresh in my mind. Line items that say “Paypal” and “Amazon” are not very helpful and required more research.

Systems That Keep Me Organized

As I was wading through accounting transactions, it dawned on me that there were many areas of my life that functioned much more smoothly. Why? Because I had daily, simple systems in place that kept me organized. It was time that I used some more of my personal organization habits to improve my entrepreneurial skills.

For instance:

  1. Making Appointments. I never leave the veterinarian, hairdresser, dentist, or doctor without making my follow up appointment – even if it is a year in the future. It saves me a phone call and my appointments are always up-to-date.
  2. Grocery Shopping. I make regular trips to the warehouse club for staples, so that my family does not run out of food or toilet paper. We have a list on the fridge where the family (theoretically, anyway) notes items that need to be purchased.
  3. Kitchen Cleaning. My rule is that dishes must be done before bedtime and the sink must be empty. My kitchen is always clean in the morning.
  4. Dental Hygiene. I have terrible teeth and see the hygienist four times a year. After each visit, I change the head on my electric toothbrush. (As well as make my follow-up appointment … see #1.)
  5. Family Mail. Mail gets sorted when we bring it in from the mailbox. Letters, bills and coupons that we’ll use are separated. Magazines are distributed to the recipient. Flyers and catalogs generally go straight into recycling.
  6. Office Supplies. I order new printer ribbon whenever one is replaced. I get a new box of paper whenever I open the last ream.
  7. Content creation. I create my Solopreneur Academy blog post and newsletter on Monday morning, so it is ready for distribution on Tuesday.

Create new systems to improve your entrepreneurial skills

Considering the above, I have a good track record with easy systems that keep me organized. I bet you do too! The next step is to apply these skills to your business. Here are some ways that I can create systems to improve my bookkeeping and make next year’s tax time a breeze.

  1. Schedule regular time for opening mail and paying bills. I’m thinking of instituting an hour called Finance Friday to open mail, pay bills, and code transactions.
  2. Reconcile accounts every month. I do look at my statements regularly, but (until now) have waited until the following year to do the reconciliations needed for taxes. I’m going to schedule an afternoon every month, on Finance Friday, to do these reconciliations.
  3. Keep it neat. In past years, I used the “throw everything into a box” method of organizing statements and receipts. This year I filed them by date in a binder. That helped reduce the clutter and made the whole accounting thing feel more manageable.
  4. Take 5 minutes. Today I paid bills the old fashioned way (using checks). Even though it wasn’t Finance Friday, it took less than five minutes to enter them into my accounting system and it was done.
  5. Find a Bookkeeper. I have an accounting background and (at this point) I don’t feel that I need a bookkeeper for the mechanics of my accounting. However a big advantage is that they provide accountability and a monthly deadline. For many people, this is a huge step in getting organized and well worth the money.

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Simple systems to improve your entrepreneurial skills
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