ImageI promise you, no-one sets up their own business in order to run their own accounts. No-one thinks “ooh it’d be great to be my own boss because then I can sort my own taxes, build a spreadsheet to track my expenses and keep receipts till they’re coming out of my ears”. I don’t think even those who set up their own business as accountants actually enjoy doing it for themselves!

And yet, it’s something that is common to all business owners, regardless of their industry. Plumbers to project managers, car mechanics to business coaches. All have to wrestle with the endless confusions over deductible expenses, tax codes, and the latest changes to the system – real time PAYE, anyone?

So, can anyone guess what it is that I spent most of this morning doing? Yup, sorting through the enormous collection of receipts that had been amassed over the past few weeks (oh, ok, months), despite our firm vow that we wouldn’t let them mount up and would keep on top of it every day.

It’s so easy to let that happen, isn’t it? A day turns into two, which turns into a week, and before you know it, that tiny pile of receipts that didn’t really seem like much of an issue is suddenly looming like some sort of Mount Everest, so that you need to equip yourself not just with a calculator and pencil, but also with a full set of crampons and safety ropes!

So now, what would have been a relatively straightforward, small, regular task, has turned into a daunting, lengthy, head scratcher of a job. Picking through the pile, grasping one long-forgotten, scrunched up receipt at a time and trying to work out what it was for, what you got up to that day, and whether it is an allowable expense. Such fun!

Anyway, no matter, it’s all done and up to date now. And I really am determined not to let them pile up again. Honest…

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