All businesses obtain receipts, invoices, and other documents in a bulk quantity. These documents should be neatly organized in an accurate office filing system. It is crucial to learn this organizing skill in order to not lose money, time, and other resources.
The invoices and documents should be organized in such a way that whenever one wants to access or retrieve them, they should be in easy reach.
The importance of all documents and files should be known by a business owner. Nowadays, the best businesses are those which have gone digital with the invoices. However, it is still important how to store and organize these digital invoices.
A digital invoice eliminates a big percentage of cost and time in a payment flow. It is a modernized version of the payment through which the sending and receiving of invoices have been made convenient. There are many advantages of digital invoices which is why many companies and businesses are digitizing their invoices.
A tool automatically creates a digital invoice which extracts information from the accurate sources. An option is given to the person to check the precision of the information before the invoice is sent. Afterward, the tool sends the invoice by electronic means.
The receiver is notified when it will arrive. The recipient has the option to either receive the invoice in the bank or through email.
Steps to organize digital invoices
Choose a filing system
Before actually starting to organize, it is important to decide which filing system should be followed. Each system will have its own positive impact on the functioning of the business. The digital invoices can be organized in an alphabetical or numerical method.
The decision should be made on the way you usually access invoices. If the invoices are searched by account number or name, decide accordingly. Similarly, check the way your paperwork is assembled
i.e the category of finance, expenses or marketing.
Check the office and personal habits
Think which invoices need to be accessed frequently and which of your employees usually want instant access to the files. Monitor the work stations of all employees and the type of work they all do. Have a meeting with the staff to judge the location of the filing cabinet.
Check the storage needs
If the digital invoices are in a bulk quantity, then it is important to organize in such a way that they can be accessed daily. If the invoices are not checked daily, it is not necessary to have the filing system at the workspace. Moreover, there are some files which need to be stored for long-term and others need to be on the watch daily.
Benefits of digital invoices
Whenever a digital invoice is received, there is no need to scan the document. The details of account, due date and the invoice number is always accurate because this information is extracted from the correct sources. Automatic suggestions are given to the person for the bookkeeping purpose. More than 9 euros are saved upon receiving a digital invoice.
Whenever a digital invoice is sent, more than 5 euros are saved. The payment is received much earlier because the invoice is sent directly to the receiver’s bank or email. In case if the invoice does not reach the recipient, it is immediately known to the sender. There is no time or money wasted on postage, printing and packaging.
With the help of Cloud, digital solutions have become the future of the businesses. The companies are quickly adapting to the digital means to complete numerous tasks. Paper invoices are decreasing in number rapidly because they are dangerous to the environment and slow in process. It is more difficult to arrange the paper invoices than the digital invoices.
In the Nordics, more than 19 billion Euros can be saved per year if all invoices are digitized. Therefore, do not fall behind in technology and switch to the faster and more accurate electronic means of business tasks.
With the automatic process of digital invoices, the user does not have to print, submit a manual data entry or send via post. The formats which are supported by the digital invoices are B2G, E-invoice B2B, B2C email, PDF, paper printout, and People.
There are more numerous benefits of the digital invoices which is why it is both wise and safe to digitize the incoming invoices. Time is saved, costs get reduced and the peace of mind is secured.
Gone are the days when businesses used to stick with the paper-based process and wrote the record of the financial records by pen and paper. In today’s digital age, bookkeeping has become paperless. More and more businesses are now going paperless with almost all company-related tasks.
Even the Accounts Payable is automated by document management software, document scanning, and more similar technological tools. This article provides a clear guide on making your account payable paperless.
Accounts Payable abbreviated as AP can be defined as the responsibility of a business to pay a short-term debt to the respective suppliers or creditors. This account is inside the general ledger.
AP can also be referred to as that division or business department which is obligated to give payments to the creditors and suppliers. In simple words, accounts payable is the amount of cost for the services and goods received which have not been paid for yet.
Steps to make Accounts Payable Paperless
1) Decide on the Implementation process
In order to do this, the current AP should be kept in a record so that it can be known which things need to be made better. Get familiar with the Accounts Payable workflow before thinking about implementing the paperless solution.
How long is the duration of processing the invoice? How is the invoice approved? These questions will give an insightful depth.
2) Communicate with the team
Do not carry out the process of automation alone without the team knowing. When the implementation process is being laid out, it is crucial to involve the team. It is possible that the changes a business owner is working on are not suitable for the employees.
The departments within a business which oppose such changes are the IT, upper management, and the accounts payable department. Therefore, it is advised to give light to all the concerns and decisions before moving forward.
3) Scan and convert the current documents
If the Accounts Payable department has an abundance of invoices being sent, it is necessary to find a reasonable way to convert the invoices into an electronic copy. This step is crucial to complete before the automation of invoice processing. Whichever method is selected for converting into electronic format, it should have the technology of Optical Character Recognition (OCR).
Another technology named Data Indexing is equally useful in this process because it forms an index that can be searched for any aspect of the document. The information involved in the document and how the information was extracted both can be known via this technology. A high level of automation and big data storage is guaranteed by incorporating such technologies.
4) Choose an AP automation solution
A reasonable supplier for the accounts payable automation software should be chosen. This step saves a big percentage of money and minimum data entry is required.
Factors that need to be taken into consideration are the cost of the system, the ease of expanding the system, the speed of implementation of the system, whether the system works with the current ERP, and how the reporting tools function.
5) Customize the software settings
In order to process the electronic invoices, a software with custom tolerances is set up. This element is found in the automated system. The user has complete control because the software allows automatic coding of the incoming invoices and routing it for approval.
A good platform adapts to the settings of each business so that it can expand. Therefore, custom tolerances should be created in order for the fast transfer of the incoming invoices.
6) Adapt to the automation process
After the implementation has been successful, it is advised that the employees test a new product and think of questions. This is done in order to adapt, learn and scale the automation process so that the team can get familiar with the new system.
Afterward, streamline operations can take place to make the business successful. The AP automation process can be scaled with the integration of the Accounts Payable department.
Benefits of going paperless
Any business can take benefits with a paperless office. The processing expenditures are cut short by removing the paper documents. This is because the paper invoices demand a lot of manual effort. The handling of the paper invoices requires time and with time, costs are increased.
A lot of money is saved by digitizing the invoices and using a paperless automated accounts payable process. Moreover, records are more easily accessible and the processing is done faster too.
Enjoy better control, organization, and an environmentally friendly way of running your business by involving paperless electronic means in the office.
A productive business is the one that is organized. The thing which hinders a business from being organized is the bulk of paperwork. This task takes up a lot of time and effort which is why paper invoices are important to use for small businesses. Paper invoices let the business owners know the things they have bought from specific vendors.
These invoices also catalog the products and services which have been given to customers. Therefore, invoices are given to customers and received by business owners as well which is why the outgoing and ingoing invoices should be kept in record. It is important to do so for business and accounting books.
An invoice is a commercial document which keeps a record of transaction between seller and buyer. It is a time-stamped document which highlights the terms of the purchasing deal and the options for payment. The invoices have an invoice number stated on it which acts as a unique identifier on the bill.
The identifier is helpful for external and internal reference. Contact information is displayed on the invoice to avoid any billing issues.
How to organize paper invoices?
Regularly update the organizing process
In order to not lose money and valuable information, accurate filing systems and standard database programs should be utilized. Precision is the key in this process which is why the information, name, and address should be correct on all invoices.
If there are any errors in the information then edit it. If the filing process is not updated daily, a mess will be created with backed up invoices. The funds for the invoice should be available in the collection which can be accessed anytime.
Make a chronological order
Form a separate e-folder according to each month and different year. If the physical form is utilized to carry this task, it will waste a lot of time so it’s better if it is done digitally. No paper will be wasted if the process is shifted to electronic means.
Have an invoice book
Since most people are in favor of introducing technology into the record-keeping process, it is advised to use an electronic invoice book.
This book can be utilized for uploading all invoices into the computer and storing it in the electronic book. This alternative is much better than having a hard copy of the invoices.
This tool is very helpful in organizing the invoices. It includes many options for organizing which the person can choose according to the preferences. For example, the arrangement of invoices in bi-weekly, monthly or random order.
Utilize the invoice software
If the software is used, the person can be assured that no errors in calculation or math will occur. The business life can be made much convenient by using this software and it also prevents uncharged tax.
Use the cloud
The cloud-based tools are widely used in the accounting world because they make things easier. With the cloud, collaboration can be done between colleagues and clients. The documents can be shared, stored, and can be accessed anytime.
The personal storage will be cleaned if the alternative of the cloud is used. Moreover, time will not be wasted in emailing the invoices.
Do not procrastinate
The temptation to delay the invoicing for one day can be costly so it is wise to avoid any irresponsibility. Instead, make the invoice organizing a crucial part of the daily business schedule and stick to it with all punctuality. Time can be set for doing this task either monthly or weekly.
The time schedule depends on the scope of the business entirely. Once the schedule is decided, it is a responsibility to not cause any delay and not to fall in any procrastination. When it comes to any business task, precision, consistency, and organization are the three key elements.
These factors broaden the scope and revenue of the business. Do not queue the post office and do not avoid working the printer. In business, time is of utmost importance and it holds the status of money. Therefore, the less you delay, the more you will earn and vice versa.
Avoid losing a big chunk of your money by following the above-mentioned tips for organizing your collection of invoices.
Have a correct attitude and the know-how so that your invoices do not lie around unattended. Instantly saving the invoices does good and saves money for both the owner and customer.
Organizations are audited by the Health and Human Services Office of Civil Rights to check if they are following HIPPA. The OCR selects auditors at any time.
What does HIPPA stand for? It is an abbreviation for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. It is basically a federal law which was given out in 1996 to achieve incremental healthcare reform. The aim of this regulation is to transform the insurance and healthcare sectors by implementing various ways.
For example, HIPPA targets making the administrative process easier, cutting down expenses and paperwork, and enhancing the privacy of the patient’s information.
Requirements for HIPPA Audit:
Six steps need to be followed to become a HIPPA Compliance Auditor. They are explained below.
HIPPA training for employees
This is a crucial component in the HIPPA Compliance requirements. Employees can tend to have a failed audit if they have not been given training or if they do not have experience with the regulations of compliance. It is important that you must record or document your training in order to show the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) that you are capable and devoted to the instructions for employees.
The policies which give the highest priority to education and training should be formed and published as well. It is necessary to make sure that your team is completely trained in front of the OCR in the audit as tough questions regarding the HIPPA Compliance rules will be asked.
Form a risk management plan to conduct the risk analysis
These both elements are needed as well. It is the job of HIPPA risk analysis to search for any security risks within the company. Thus, these potential risks are brought to light by the courtesy of the risk management plan. Security documents should be created while going through the risk assessment. The reports revealed
by the compliance rules should be written, published on paper and store in an accessible area. The rules should be flexible enough to cover all domains of the business, not just a single aspect. For instance, the policies consisting of security rules and HIPPA privacy need to be brought on paper.
Similarly, documents which include the breach notification, physical security, incident response and IT along with firewalls should be in the spotlight as well. The advantage of including these documents is that a clear direction is provided which can be followed in the operation and it aids in the audit procedure.
Choose a privacy officer and a security assessment
Each business and entity needs to have these two things as directed by the HIPPA. It is not necessary to hire someone new. A responsible person who knows how to manage PHI should be enough. Effort should be properly showcased in meeting the rules.
The business associate agreements have to be reviewed. The officer is also assigned with planning a review of the security policies and conducting a risk analysis on the data security and IT system. In case of any incident or breach, it should be informed as well.
Have an internal audit
This is an effective way to search for any errors prior to the OCR audit. If a habit or routine is formed of conducting an internal audit, all kinds of problems will be brought to light before they become worse. The team should be alert at all times and no pressure should be taken in the review.
In doing this step in the perfect way, it is advised to join hands with an organization that is efficient in data security and compliance. This organization will look into the details of the risk management plan and risk analysis which might go unnoticed by your eyes.
Moreover, a proper review of compliance standards and security is done by the organization which aids a lot. This way, the issues which you might not recognize in the internal risk assessment are highlighted.
In getting compliance with the HIPPA, risk analysis is the foremost and the most important are. The rules of the compliance are crucial to meet all regulations. To go a step further is essential for the HIPPA Compliance. In order to review the IT infrastructure, it is important to work with a HIPPA security Compliance expert.
Figuring the problems on your own and conducting a risk analysis prior to the audit has its own benefits. Before the OCR progresses for the next step of the HIPPA audits, it is necessary to be mentally prepared beforehand. The business and private medical information of the patients should be protected.
Inventory management is the efficient mechanism of ordering, storing, and use of the company’s inventory. The process includes the management of raw materials, components as well as finished goods. Further, the management of warehoused products and work in process items also fall under efficient inventory management.
Inventory management helps to know when to re-stock inventory, what amounts to purchase or produce, what price the products can be sold as well as the timing of sales to be made.
How to organize Inventory for small businesses?
Small businesses need to be cost-effective in the selection of various methods of inventory management. Here are the ways small businesses can use to organize their inventory:
1) Managing purchase orders
Small businesses shall start with creating and submitting accurate purchase orders. Purchase orders are used for the requisition of raw materials or goods to make resale. Managing purchase orders helps in tracking the movement of stock purchase efficiently to placement and payment of bills.
Purchase orders management helps the owners to estimate the cash flows of the business and also the need to re-stock the inventory levels. The stock re-order alerts can also tell which items are sold fast and slow and which needs refilling or restocking early.
2) Organizing vendor data
Small businesses need to set up stock and vendor information in their software or daily books. They can use excel sheets however they need to manually organize their spreadsheet. They need to organize data using point of sale mechanism.
They need to record each product’s information along with subsequent vendor details. The various details that need to depicted are product name, a short description of the product, product category, sizes, regular selling price, reorder quantities, details of the package, etc.
Using the Point of Sale mechanism helps to keep product details organized and in real-time. Further, it helps to track various post-sales aspects such as vendor billing information, payment terms, and contact of the vendor.
3) Tagging and Labelling inventory
This is the step when the inventory comes into the hands of small businesses. This means managing the products on your hand. Tagging means allocating the prices and affixing price tags while product label displays mean using bar code labels, tracking the inventory to speed checking out i.e. selling the product.
The use of good allocation of time to tag and labeling of inventory helps in making quick checkout of the product. The point of sale mechanism emphasizes the use of bar code scanners. These scanners also come with the function of effective labeling and scanning.
ted, labels can be affixed directly to product packaging or attached to hang tags. Some inventory might even arrive prelabeled with manufacturer’s bar codes, which you can also track in your POS. In that case, your job is easy. You can just add a price label.
4) Physically counting inventory levels
This is a very time-consuming task and excessively mundane. However, this process is a must for small businesses. All the irregularities and reconciliations can be easily solved through physical verification and counting of inventories. For tax purchases, annual counting is a must and done at the end of the fiscal year.
Doing physical counts helps to reduce shortages, displacement, and errors in receipt of stocks. To catch these mistakes, counts should be done in a smaller time period. This can include spot counts at the time of receipt of the product from the vendor.
While stock count should be started with inventory in hand, spot counts should be matched to invoice or purchase orders.
POS mechanism can be used by scanning the items and it can be nearly as useful as physical counting. However, when shortages are found, one should resort to physical counting.
5) Reconciliation of differences in inventory
After the physical counting of stocks, the differences if any shall be reconciled. This can be done by following the procedure of reconciliation. The first step would be to identify the discrepancy in counting. This can be due to inventory missing due to theft, damaged, and not reported and stock recorded as received but not actually received.
In a few cases, it can be just due to reasons owing to wrong labeling. If reasons cannot be known, the stock sheet needs to be adjusted to reflect physical balance in hand. After the adjustment in the books, the difference in any shall be accounted for loss in inventory as inventory shrinkage.
The small businesses shall carefully look if any human error has occurred intentionally or unintentionally. Further, small businesses can use various security features like access policy to stock and locking systems in order to reduce theft of stocks done intentionally.
These are an acknowledgement of arrangements being done between two parties in consideration for monetary benefits. Consumers generally receive receipts from vendors and service providers from their business dealings.
Business receipts need to be documented and recorded as per relevant laws and regulations like the Companies Act, Tax regulations, etc. Furthermore, the period of reservation would depend on the size and nature of the business. Typical business receipts include :
- Cash and credit sales receipts, invoices
- Purchases of raw materials and bills of lading/transportation.
- Cash register receipts
- Petty cash slips for small payments made in cash.
What receipts need to be kept?
Business receipts need to be kept to comply with laws. There are various requirements as per different laws. However as per IRS(Tax Authority of USA), “Good records will help you monitor the progress of your business, prepare your financial statements, identify sources of income, keep track of deductible expenses, keep track of your basis in the property, prepare your tax returns, and support items reported on your tax returns.”
This particularly does not outline the exact requirements of what and how much. However, one can gauge out the requirements based on industry standards and try to comply with laws.
The business receipts related to following items are mandatorily to be reserved:
- Other expenses
- Car and truck expenses
- Professional services
- Tours and travel expenses
How long to preserve records?
IRS goes back to six years at best. However, audit laws sometimes goes back as much as 8 years. So, it would be only prudent to preserve records going back 8 years.
Ways to organize business receipt:
The businesses should try to create a better filing and recording systems in order to cope with organizing business receipts.
A small business may not need an elaborate system but scaled up businesses need to have a system to better record the receipts and find them whenever necessary. Here are effective ways to organize business receipts:
Paper recording will require large spaces and it will be costly for any business regardless of their size. The businesses should therefore try to go paperless right from the beginning. However, certain aspects of the business need to be done in physical papers like contracts.
These need to be digitized immediately. Further, paper records should also be kept as there is no other way. The business receipts can be modified and electronically stored.
Invest in supplies
The various supplies helps in effective organization of receipts. These supplies include investment in files, folders, software applications and storage. These supplies help in the categorization of documents.
The business receipts for example can be categorized alphabetically or chronologically. Small businesses can use envelope instead as records are low. However, every business needs to label these supplies effectively.
Digital storage and use of software
The software applications are very useful in digital storage and automation of regular works. The businesses need to back up digital receipts in order to lose financial records. The scanners can be used to convert paper records to digital.
Various software applications are readily available. For example, QuickBooks is used to record accounting records and receipts and can be used to back up these records as well.
After making the above steps, the important aspect of organizing business receipts is to organize them by category. This helps to save time and allows the user of records to refer back to old records without any hassles. The following are the categories generally used for tax and business purpose in the filing, storage and retrievals
- Tours and travel expenses: These include expenses meeting tax-deductible for travel expenses such as airfare, baggage, and shipping, actual expenses, toll expense, meals during travels, etc
- Advertising and promotion: This shall include expenses for business cards, mailing lists, preparation of brochures, website designs, development, and maintenance.
- Professional Fees: This shall include receipts related to accountant’s fees, bookkeeping fees, attorney’s fees, other professional consultants’ fees directly related to business
- Charitable contributions: These are tax-related records. These are contributions by a specific corporation to a qualified charity that can be deductible as business expenses.
- Purchases and sales receipts: These are related to daily business transactions made during the period. Purchases of raw materials and sales of finished goods are the thesis of the records here. These help in timely payment and inventory management.
- Training expenses: Often taken as education expenses, these are tax-deductible expenditures. The businesses shall therefore categorize expenses relating to the training of employees, education of internships, costs related to internships, as training expenses.