As the owner of a small business, you already know the importance of recording and preserving information about your company’s performance, revenue, liabilities, and assets. By documenting your firm’s financial data on the accounting software you use, you can assure that important information remains preserved for future review.
However, as any small business owner can attest, this is easier said than done. Entrepreneurs often operate in a chaotic environment, particularly during startup. And for a variety of reasons—from uninterested or incompetent contractors, to absentee employees—it’s often difficult to track information as it’s recorded. For instance, the company may sign contracts and have accounting records, but there may be no copy of the contract, leaving the signer to assume he signed the contract. Or, you may have a huge balance on the company’s credit card but only have a recent receipt to back it up.
The solution? Start saving receipts and other supporting documentation as soon as possible. It doesn’t take long to accumulate several years’ worth of information. There are many software applications that can help you organise and preserve your financial information. And all of these software packages support various back-up methods that can protect your data against loss or theft.
Saving Documents for the Web
If your company develops software applications, then save your system’s receipts, bills, and other supporting documentation in an online format so that you’ll always have access to them. This allows you to restore your information on your server should you be required to testify in court as an expert witness. This is particularly important in cases involving intellectual property theft. For example, if your software product is stolen and someone uses the name or trademark of your business for marketing purposes, you may be able to prove that you created the product and it should be returned to you. Or, if your IT person has a system crash and transfers the information to your computer hard drive and fails to back it up, you could still have proof in a backup file.
Saving Documents for a Paperless Office
If you use a computer program to document your business’s financial data, then you also have the option to save that data to a backup of the computer hard drive. Then, when you’re ready to import the data to a new computer, you can simply go through the process of installing and reconfiguring the software to your new computer. This means that no more accidental data deletion or hard drive failures will cause you to lose important information.
Putting Together a Paperback Guide
If you rely on pen and paper to record your financial data, then you’ll probably need to start digitising your information. You can digitise the documents using a variety of programmes such as Acrobat and Google Docs. Just make sure that the information is accurate and includes your signature. Physical copies can also be printed out from the restaurant online ordering software you might be using if that’s the type of business you’re running, if you really must have physical records.