Not all bookkeeping tools are expensive or high tech. Here are five basic tools or hacks to simplify bookkeeping tasks. If you are going to spend a fair amount of time doing the bookkeeping it’s helpful to use the right tools.
1. A Steel Ruler. There is nothing better than a steel ruler to take the pain out of entering large columns of numbers. It helps track your progress, keeps the rows straight, and keeps your data entry from being a mish mash of mixed up data. I prefer a steel ruler or non-translucent ruler.
2. Ten-Key Calculator. Sometimes it helps to pound out the numbers. It can be a green eyeshade moment for newbies. Number data entry is soooooooooooooo much easier when using a ten key or keyboard. Take a moment to learn how to use one properly. It will greatly cut down on your data entry time and make it seem like second nature.
If your computer/laptop doesn’t have one, you can purchase one with a usb. Do it. Most sad stories that I’ve heard about data entry nightmares have started with the business owner using the numbers at the top of the keyboard. Even basic invoice data entry is easier with a 10 key data entry pad.
3. Scanner. A large scanner will work soooooo much better than a small portable scanner. Cloud storage is pretty reasonable and most computers have enough storage space to reasonably store documents there. Invest in one that has a document feeder. I’ve found the HP scanners difficult to work with. The software is set up to work with specific computers OS systems. It may not work with a variety of computers/laptops. I finally had to trash mine after trying to install software for the fifth time on the same day.
4. A good sense of humor. This one is free. The ability to work through knotty problems in a thoughtful way goes a long way in bookkeeping. Bookkeeping is active problem solving with live data, live people, and live software. There is a pretty good chance that one of those three items is going to be wrong at least part of the time. Patience, Humor, and Thoughtfulness are hallmarks of good problem solvers who work with mere humans.
Say…. a business owner has asked for more sales data, including date, amount sold, and markup. This same person refuses to do detailed invoices that contain that information. How do you respond? Gentle Humor? Fuming? Active Listening? Storming out of the room in frustration? What do you think is the best response?
5. Highlighters. You probably own at least one. Maybe more. Invest in a few colors. I use them all the time when doing complex reconciliations. For instance on a bank reconciliation; if there are three different bank deposit types; I will do all the cash/check deposits in one color; credit card deposits in another; and paypal deposits in a third color. Just this one step can made information patterns pop off the page. For instance; for some reason all the credit card deposits started stopping after the 15th. It might be a good idea to check if it’s still working, the batches have been sent, or something else.
Make your life easier with these five simple bookkeeping hacks. All are relatively inexpensive methods to speed up the work, increase the accuracy, and make the data sing.