Paperwork and More Paperwork
Lost in Paperwork
Getting it all in Order
Find a good filing system. I have learned it's easier for me to use notebooks. They can be labeled for what they contain and what years are covered.
I had to file for a sales tax license, a DBA (Doing Business As), as well as filing paperwork with the printing company I want to use. Most of that I was able to file on-line which cuts down on paperwork, but you do need to print hard copies. Ugh.
Then there are the things that have to be filled out and faxed in. Be sure you don't screw them up. Also watch deadlines, if there are any.
What You Need to Keep
Every receipt having to do with your business has to be saved. You need a file for that. Mileage to and from the post office, the office supply store, or anyplace else you are going for the business. Get a calendar and write down your mileage.
I have a ledger in a notebook. It's labeled Expenses, Sales, Sales Tax, and Deposits. I know everything I've spent. Everything I've sold. How much sales tax I've collected as I have to pay it at the end of the year. I also know what I've put in the company checking account.
You need a copy of all contracts you enter into. These will be vital to your success. You never know when something will come up.
If you are in doubt as to whether or not you need it, keep it in a miscellaneous file.
I have an advantage. I took accounting classes in college. Although it was not my chosen career I have enough for a business minor. I also have a sister who does taxes. Between the two of us, we manage to get my books done correctly.
Do your books monthly. Don't wait. The longer you wait the harder it is to put things together. You lose receipts that didn't get filed where they belong. Pay your bills at the end of each month. Balance your books.
You are accountable to the IRS, your state, and local tax bureaus. Don't mess with them. If you don't have some accounting background, find someone who does. Someone who will stand next to you if you get audited. Don't think you can fudge your way through.
Find a Way to Organize
Find a filing system that works for you. One that keeps you organized and papers where you can find them.
If you have employees, you need to keep a file on each one. You need a payroll file. You need contracts with them.
I am opening a publishing company. I will be putting out one to two books a year. Very small scale. I am pretty mobile. I can do most of what needs to be done on the computer. I use dropbox for works in progress. I have files in my inbox for each outsource I use. So one for KDP-amazon's kindle publisher, NOOK Press for ebooks, Blue Harvest Creative, Lightning Source, my copyright information, my ISBN information and who knows what else. Everything concerning those things gets put into the appropriate file.
Find what works for you.