Consistently obtaining new Inventory so that you can “Feed the Beast” is one of the most basic steps of growing your Amazon FBA business. But a side effect of your inventory purchases is that you now have an accumulation of store receipts that need to be processed and filed away.
Keeping your receipts organized really is quite simple and shouldn’t take much time as long as you make it a part of your daily work routine. In other words, don’t wait until you have 100 receipts cluttering up your desktop before you do anything with them.
Keeping your receipts organized allows you:
- to quickly find a specific receipt for store returns, Amazon Seller Central inquiries and an IRS audit.
- to stay focused and not get distracted by paper receipt clutter
In this post, I’ll show you how to keep your receipts under control.
Step 1: Store New Receipts in an “Inbox”
I have two receipt inboxes – one in the car and one on top of my desk.
The car inbox is something that I just started doing recently because I was tired of the receipts taking up space inside my purse. So now I keep a planner in the car while I shop and then after shopping, I place my receipts inside the front planner pocket. This keeps all of the receipts together, my purse empty and I have a planner to record my mileage and to write down any notes.
The desk inbox is simply a basket that I use as a designated receipt area. You can use whatever you have available – an envelope, a desk drawer or a small box that sits on your desk. The point is to keep your receipts together so that they don’t get lost or damaged and you’ll have them readily available for processing.
Step 2: Process Receipts
By processing, I’m referring to entering the store name, purchase date, item(s) purchased and cost into Excel, InventoryLab or whichever program you use to track your inventory and calculate your Cost of Goods Sold.
Once your receipts are processed, then the next step is to file them.
Step 3: File Your Receipts
There are different filing methods and I find myself using a combination of the paper and digital storage methods. My advice for you is to choose the method that you will stick with.
In my opinion, this is the quickest and easiest method. However, it does have a few disadvantages:
- receipts take up space
- the print on the receipts fades over time
- receipts can get lost, stolen or damaged
But, I still use this method as I don’t always want to take the time to scan in or take a picture of my receipt. Here’s how to store your paper receipts:
- Get 12 file folders and label them by month
- Place January receipts in the January folder, February receipts in the February folder and so on
- Store the current year file folders in a drawer that you have easy access to
- In January of next year, transfer the file folders to a bankers box or other permanent storage area
I prefer filing by month rather than by store name because then there are only 12 folders to create. If you file by store name, then each time you buy inventory from a new store, you’ll have to create a new file folder. You can then easily end up with several file folders with just one or two receipts inside or end up with a “miscellaneous” folder that is filled with 50 random store receipts.
Digitally Store Receipts on Your Computer or Online
With this method, you’ll simply scan your receipts and save them either on your computer or to an online storage space.
This is how to digitally organize your files:
Create an “Amazon FBA Receipts” folder and create year subfolders. I have 2014 and 2015 folders.
Scanners usually come with proprietary software that will save your scanned files inside of their software. I recommend not using their software because there is the chance that if you switch computers, you may not be able to reinstall the scanner software on to your new computer. Installation disks get lost or older software can’t always run on newer computer systems.
I do recommend saving to an online storage space so that you can access your receipts from any computer.
But no matter where you save your files, be sure that YOU BACK THEM UP and/or your online storage provides backup protection!
Also, when you’re done scanning, save your paper receipts in a monthly file folder in case you have to return the item. Then wait until the store’s return period is over before tossing them in the garbage or shredding them.
The printer paper also gives you space to handwrite notes if your receipt isn’t very detailed. For example, if the receipt says “book”, you can write the title of the book on the printer paper before scanning.
By organizing your receipts consistently, you’ll avoid receipt clutter and also headaches later on if you try to organize a years worth at one time.
Please let me know about your receipt organization system in the comment form below or on my Facebook page!