How do you all keep you records? I mean like client info, sales records, stuff for taxes etc. What things are important for recordkeeping purposes? Hoping someone can offer me some guidance here. I love doing this but my habits are bad and I'm not doing a good job of keeping up with the business end of things. Thank you for any insight!
I have the same problem and know when I get my business running I'm going to have to do a much better job!! So I figured while I'm in the construction/planning phases I will work on keeping my records better. I contacted my local community college to find out what kinda resources they have to help start & manage small businesses.
I found out they host various workshops for small businesses. I have signed up for "starting a small business" and "Writing a Business Plan" The workshops are only $20!! So I thinks it's a steal. but they go over all the documents you need to start and what you need to keep track of.
So I'm not sure what all you need.....yet anyway!! Maybe see if there is something like that in your area.
Well here are my two cents:
I'm small out of my home. I do everything on the computer. I give everyone a bill on my letterhead, for them but also for me. At the end of the year, I just tally them all up. On the bill I have all their info. I then input that info into Microsoft Outlook which I use for email. At that point I also input birthdays, etc. I always ask for email addresses because I send out 2 menus a year, and it is cheaper than mailing! All my recipes are on the computer as well, in Word. I just costed everything out (after 3 years!) and I have to input that info. As for expenses I throw all my receipts into a file and tally them all up at the end of the year. Keep every receipt for every ingredient, every piece of equipment, every piece of paper. It is all tax deductible. I just bought an accordion file to keep my receipts and other info seperate.
Other than that I don't need to keep track of anything!
I use Access! program.
I dont do a "business" with cakes...but I was a daycare provider before and my hubby made up a excell form for me to use, and of course I always had my paper log too...just in case the computer dumped...
I just met with my accountant and she told me that I should keep all the reciets for 3 years (please note I am in MD don't know how much taht varies buy state) but capitalized items (mixers and other things you get repaired if it breaks) for as long as you own it. Also she said to organize the receipts into categories to make it easier for end of year taxes....Like supplies)pans, racks, spatulas, Inventory items, office supplies, rrental and insurance fees, professional service (CPS< Lawyer etc), website fees, licenses, profesional deveoplment (classes, books, etc). shipping (or delivery charges).
I used excel spreadsheets to keep track or orders, quicken to track money, and file systems to keep receipts.
Hope that helps some. I do think it is very important to be organized. You might end up not getting all or your decductions in the end. No need to give Uncle Sam free money!
You should also keep any reciepts for ingredients you purchase for any practice cakes or trying new recipets. This is "Training" expense. Also make sure you keep gas receipts if you deliver. If you can put a magnetic sign on your car that would be great. Make sure you always have some business cards on hand. Make sure you keep a mileage log as well when you are using your car for your cake business.
I use Excel for my tracking, Wedding contracts and Invoicing.