Episode 1: Organizing Your Paperwork
Updated: Jan 15, 2020
The first episode of Chat with Brandy went live on Facebook on September 25, 2018!
In this episode, we talked about organizing your paperwork in an efficient and accessible manner.
We outlined the benefits:
Tax compliance for business owners and Canadian taxpayers
Protection of your important documents
I gave my 2 rules for an efficient system:
Make it easy to maintain
Make it easy to access
I provided some ideas for filing containers:
I also touched on electronic filing systems, such as Hubdoc, Google Drive, Receipt Bank, or Dropbox as ways to keep your important documents protected and secure.
Important Note: Documents that are originally electronic (such as an online telephone bill or Amazon receipt) are required to be kept in an electronic format, so please keep these receipts in a secure manner as recommended above.
Here's my 2 suggestions for sorting:
By Date (chronological order)
By Category (file by income, statements, and expense types)
And my recommended systems:
The One Touch Method: You are filing items as soon as they come in - you are only touching each bill/invoice/paper ONCE - this is great for procrastinators out there - no excuses!
Scheduled/Temporary Filing Systems: This system involves having 4 (MAX) temporary and distinct filing areas (contained to an envelope, basket, or ziplock bag) - one at your home/office, in your vehicle, in your e-mail, and on your person (purse, wallet, planner). I recommend carving out an hour a week (i.e. Fridays at 9am) to move all of the documents from each of your 4 temporary filing storage areas over to your permanent filing system.
Super Easy Solution: If you don't have the time or discipline for either of the above systems, outsource it! Check out my bookkeeping page for more info on my shoebox services.
And finally, I offered some tips on those you that have months or years worth of paperwork to file:
Sort by date. Do not bother with category when dealing with a lot of backlog
Chip away by breaking the pile down. Start by creating piles for each year, then break down by month
Shredding and getting rid of paper will likely be part of this job, and while your telephone bills from 1995 can surely be shredded, please keep any documents pertaining to returns that have been filed in the past 7 years (including if you filed late, work from the filing date, not from the calendar year), or any assets that you still own or have sold with
in the past 7 years (i.e. if you sold your rental house 2 years ago, continue to keep all of your documents pertaining the purchase and sale of that property). Always keep life insurance policies, will & estate documents, marriage and birth certificates, personal identification documents, etc.
Reach out for help - there's no need to be embarrassed and stressed about your paper situation - I'm here to help, and I'm happy to do it!