As the current year winds down, now is the perfect time for mystery shoppers to review their mystery shopping financial information for the year. The tax year ends on December 31, and once the clock strikes midnight that evening and 2010 rolls over to 2011, you will be starting fresh with another year of bookkeeping for your mystery shopping business. Nobody likes to have one year’s financial information stacking on top of another year’s papers on their desk, so now is the perfect and ideal time to get your paperwork in order and gear up for tax time in early 2011! Here are a few tips:
Organize Your Papers. With bank deposit stubs, check stubs, expense receipts, and so much more all piled up on your desk, you may be shuddering at the mere thought of organizing your papers for the upcoming tax season that is looming right around the corner. Yet now is the ideal time to organize those papers. Perhaps the easiest way to organize your paperwork is to grab some large envelopes and file folders, and designate one file for income and one for expenses. Once you have sorted the receipts into these piles, you can then work on entering the receipts into a spreadsheet. Just think how much easier it will be to get your taxes completed when you can refer back to a handy spreadsheet that reflects all of your income and expenses for the year!
Get Ready for 2011. While you have those envelopes or file folders out, be sure to make an extra set for your 2011 mystery shopping paperwork. You will be one step ahead of the game when 2011 rolls around when you have a file system already in place for your financial paperwork. When you have a clear cut system in place for filing away your paperwork, you will find that your desk stays cleaner and more organized. Ideally, you will go through your files every 2-4 weeks and add all of the new information to an ongoing spreadsheet. This way, when the end of 2011 approaches, you will not find yourself behind on your financial accounting information.
Think Back. If you haven’t been very good about keeping track of expenses, it may be a really good idea to take a moment to think back about business-related items you may have purchased over the last year. Chances are, you won’t be able to find a receipt for that box of pens you bought last February. However, you likely still have the purchase information for the new printer you bought for your home office. Gather together all of the paperwork you can find for business-related expenses, and be sure to add these items onto your spreadsheet of expenses.
Holiday Savings. The holidays are notorious for offering tremendous savings on a variety of merchandise, including office equipment. The best time to buy a new package of pens for your home office may have been during the back-to-school rush in August, but the holidays are one of the best times to buy a new computer, printer, fax machine, or other similar office equipment because these items are often offered at largely discounted prices. Be sure to keep your receipt for any purchase of business-related office equipment you buy!
If you are like most mystery shoppers, tax time can be a real headache. However, when you take time to do some homework right now to get yourself ready for tax season, you can really cut down on your stress when doing your taxes a few months from now.