By Indi Rooney
First off, we’re not accountants at NPP. I mean, we DO have a very fine accounting department and accounting business members and we all slog through our own taxes (not looking forward to it), but regardless, we’re not here to give you professional tax advice. We just have some great suggestions to help you organize your business for tax season and the New Year.
If you’re looking at your desk and it’s a mess, read this blog about cleaning your office. Now start by putting your paperwork and receipts into color-coded file folders based on tax categories. I like to pick cheerful colors so if I owe money, I’m still trying to keep it positive. Different types of business expenses can also be color-coded. Employees or contractors could be one color, tax forms another and so on. You get the picture.
In order to wrangle your files, might we suggest some of fine variations of file boxes. You can go old school with cardboard, but I’m personally fond of mobile file boxes made from plastic. They have a handle so once you fill it with pertinent files, you can then chuck it at your accountant and run (or at least have everything in one place if you ARE the accountant!).
If you have extra copies or a pile of papers you really need to ditch, just shred, dude. No office is complete without a reliable paper shredder. Office Depot offers many different shredders based on your usage and budget.
Lastly (and this is a big one), if you are doing everything in-house, order any IRS forms you might need STAT! You can get them from the government, but they are, um, NOT fast. Some vendors post this year’s tax forms and they are compatible for your printer or software programs you might use.
Now that you’re organized for tax season, it’s the perfect time to audit the business forms and tracking that you currently use. Think about the pain you just experienced gathering forms, receipts and other items for tax season. Could you do it better? Here’s a list of items to consider investing in:
Check Registers – If your business pays for items with checks, a check register might come in handy. Check registers help you track and balance your office’s checking accounts.
Columnar Pads – Whether you need a two-column pad or you want to go crazy with columns, you can use these pads to oversee a single account or many accounts. Label each column to organize sections by date, account number and transaction totals.
Mileage Logs – This was always a pain point for me as a small business owner. These are handy for tracking miles so you have the right documentation to get compensated for driving time. Some even have nice pockets to keep receipts. They are small so they can be stashed in your center console or glove compartment.
As you look ahead, you might want to become your own personal expert. Again, we are not offering professional tax help, but if you pick up some accounting books or take a few online courses (many are free or low-cost), you might learn some best practices for tax time and business finance overall. There is no shortage of books and articles on the subject.
Naturally, NPP can help you save on all the items mentioned here and more! NPP membership offers big savings on a wide variety of products and services from essential brands, including both Office Depot and Office Max. You can save in-store and online with a great deal on office supplies and with other top business discounts. Plus, you can share select NPP pricing with your employees, so they can save money too… and maybe help get them ready for tax season, work, life and beyond! Hip hip hooray for the boss!