How to tidy and organize your office to be more efficient in your administrative tasks.

In April, I did my accounting and it took me ages! Over an hour! Not only did I waste time, but I also lost my nerves in the process and it bugged me the rest of the day.

Do you know the feeling, the frustration of feeling like things are all over the place and that one document has to be....somewhere! But where?!

That was unacceptable.

But what happened? Why did I end up in that place?

Containment happened

My wife and I were both working only from home. Our shared office desk became a real mess.

That means that when I tried to do my accounting:

  • I couldn’t find some of the expense receipts,
  • my invoices were all around the desk,
  • I received an invoice reminder because my mail also got lost in this mess and because of it I was late to pay that invoice.
  • I can go on and on but you get the point: such a mess and a waste of time trying to sort through the chaos. 

However, I remember that before the containment, I was doing my accounting work in barely 20 minutes. It went like a breeze and it didn’t feel like a pain. My numbers were up-to-date and I was feeling relaxed with my accounting. It was all sorted out. 🌞

It’s OK not to be always perfect. Now it was time to go back to saving time.

So I got back to my notes. During the years, I met with more than 1’000 freelancers and entrepreneurs and gathered a list of the most interesting advices and tips I saw working. Not theoretical ones - for that there are plenty of books - but real practical ones. The stuff used by the real freelancers to save time every single day so that they can spend more time to grow their business or with their family. And save their nerves at the same time.

At the end of the article, I have a downloadable PDF with specific advices I've gathered from freelancers to help you go even further in being efficient. It is the perfect complement to this article. Make sure to take it.

I’ve been doing this for years (you can even see one of my former videos from 4 years ago where I shared what I was learning https://youtu.be/KJq73-qc4TQ ).

organise ta comptabilité 2016

But today, I want to share just one piece of advice: how to have an organized desk and administration to save a TON of time.

Or in pictures: how to go from 
My son is on the first picture working on my chair 😊

Before organising my desk

my desk is a mess

After organising my desk

my desk is tidy

Foundation - The Clean Desk System

I’m using a simple system to organize and plan my accounting work: the clean desk system

Since I have been using that system, I only need one-fifth of the time I needed before to do my accounting. That means making sure my books are up to date and my financial information available. I’m able to check how my business is running and where I stand.

It is not something complicated and you don’t need a lot of knowledge to do it. It is at the reach of every single person.

It is a foundation stone for efficient accounting work.

STEP ONE

You need to get the tools to order all your documents properly.
So go get four open boxes and five binders.

5 binders and 4 boxes

STEP TWO

Put all the documents lying on your desk in the first box.
It should look like this:

All lying paper in the first box

STEP THREE

Label all the boxes:

  • First box: To Do
  • Second box: Open bills - All bills you have received and that you haven’t paid yet
  • Third box: Paid bills - All bills you have received and already paid. You can also put the expense receipts you already paid.
  • Fourth box: (optional) Invoices sent - All invoices you sent to your customers and that they haven’t paid yet.

STEP FOUR

Organize your binders. They should reflect your activity but the minimum is:

  • One binder per bank account and per year with bank account statements and all supporting documents.
  • One binder for all expenses per year.
  • One binder for the tax and VAT per year. Take a small binder here.
  • One binder for all documents related to insurances. Not the invoices but the insurance policies. The insurance invoices are saved in the bank account binders.
  • One binder for all general-purpose contracts such as your rent.
  • One binder for all salaries if you have employees.

STEP FIVE

Once per week, take all the documents in the “to do” box.

Read them and
- Do what needs to be done
- Put them in one of the other boxes
- Put them in the trash
- Put them in a binder
- Answer the letter
- etc….

Tip: Add a weekly recurring event in your calendar to not forget it.

STEP SIX

Once per week, take all invoices to be paid.

Look at the one you want to pay => make the payment.

and the one you want to put back in the box => put them back in the box for next week.

Tip: Add a weekly recurring event in your calendar.

STEP SEVEN

Once per month, take all the documents in the third box and do your accounting.

Every time one supporting document is inputted in your accounting - put it directly in a binder.

Take also all invoices that were paid from your customers and put them in a binder.

Tip: Add a monthly recurring event in your calendar.

STEP EIGHT

Once you have done all the weekly or monthly tasks, reward yourself!

 personally like to go fetch a square of chocolate in the kitchen 😋

MORE

I even made a video to recap these steps - the video is in French it's fully subtitled in English:

At this point, your desk should be tidy and you should feel relaxed about your admin tasks being under control.

To go further I’ve compiled my go-to techniques to simplify your admin tasks so that you can have more time for what matters to you. It’s easy to get caught in your daily routine and don’t realize all the admin work that is pilling up. This guide makes sure you manage them quickly and effectively.

If you want to get even faster with your accounting, have a look at EZYcount - It’s a tool I developed with my team based on a patent to fully automate your accounting. The level of automation depends on your activity and we are working hard to make it available for all activities. If it’s automated, you don’t need to do it 😉 https://www.ezycount.ch