You have decided to take the leap and work for yourself by selling products through home shows for one of the many Direct Sales Companies. There are many benefits to working this type of home-based business, such as being your own boss, setting your own hours, and making new friends. With the benefits comes many responsibilities, including the organization of business records. You will want to make sure you keep detailed records of your sales, income, expenses and mileage for tax purposes.
Sales and Income
The first thing to do is to create a file on your computer’s desktop just for your Direct Sales Company business-related information. In this file, create other folders, such as sales, income and notes. Keep any emails or online receipts you have in this file.
Keep an ongoing log of all of your sales and income using Excel, or another spreadsheet program. To do so, open a new, blank document in Excel. For your sales file, make a column each for date, amount, customer name, amount, how paid, date submitted, date received, date delivered and notes. Then create a new worksheet for income with columns for date, amount received, and reason. You do not have to keep a log on the computer; this can also be done in a notebook, just as long as everything is recorded.
Keep a file for all physical receipts and paychecks. Mark each one by month and type of documents you will be keeping in it. When you get a sale or a paycheck, write the date, amount and any other information on the outside of the envelope, and place the paper in the envelope. At the end of every month, seal and store it until tax season.
Open a separate checking account where you will keep the money for orders and your paychecks. This will also be the account you use to pay for any expenses, such as supplies, meals and gas. You will then give yourself a paycheck from this account to deposit into your everyday account to pay for bills and other household purchases. Print out your monthly statements and keep a copy of all receipts and canceled checks for your records. Make note with all of the items as to what it was for.
Expenses and Mileage
Keep a notebook in your car with an envelope for all receipts. Every time you get in the car, mark down the date, starting mileage, destination and ending mileage. You will also want to put any business-related receipts in the notebook from your day of running errands.
Track expenses and mileage on your log you created in Excel. This can be in the same Excel file as you started with your income and sales, but you will want to start a new worksheet. This worksheet should include: date, starting mileage, ending mileage, reason, expense amount, expense type, how paid and who paid. Then make time either on a daily or weekly basis to enter the items from your notebook you keep in the car.
Keep any car-related expenses in separate file. If you use your car for business purposes, keep a separate envelope and log for all expenses related to the car. Items may include oil changes, repairs and cleaning services.
- A businessman calculating expenses at tax time image by Christopher Meder from Fotolia.com