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How to Organize Receipts for Small Business


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A receipt, an invoice, or a contract, among other types of crucial bookkeeping records, are produced as a result of every business transaction. However, it can be overwhelming for a business owner to keep track of all the receipts and record keeping on top of the demands of running the business.

One of the most frustrating and time-consuming jobs ever is probably trying to find a receipt for something you purchased a long time ago. What did you decide to do with it? Have you already disposed of it? What happens if you can’t find it?

Trying to keep track of all the many physical receipts you’ve gathered can be a bother and a waste of time. The worst-case scenario is that you are unable to show that the expenses were actually incurred, in which case you are ineligible for the deductions. That is the reason why it is very important to organize receipts for small business owners.

“<span style="font-weight: 400;">It can be overwhelming for a business owner to keep track of all the receipts and record keeping on top of the demands of running the business.</span>”

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The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) conducts audits of taxpayers on an annual basis, and this includes examinations of small enterprises. As a consequence of this, the owners of these small businesses (along with other taxpayers) can wind up having to pay more taxes; this is the case if they are unable to produce the proper receipts.

The owners of small businesses can deduct thousands of dollars in business expenses on their tax returns for things like travel, meals, or entertainment; however, they do not always comply with the stringent substantiation requirements set forth by the IRS. In spite of the fact that owners of small businesses may be able to present records confirming that they incurred the expenditures, they, along with every other taxpayer, are still required to produce sufficient paperwork to support their deductions. The Internal Revenue Service will not validate a small-business owner’s claims for tax deductions if they are not supported by receipts.

You can save yourself from the difficulties that will certainly come in the future by organizing your receipts. Your bank account will appreciate your good financial judgment. The best way to keep track of your receipts and keep them organized is to have a dedicated, reliable system for keeping and managing your paperwork.

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Reason for keeping the receipts organized

Even the smallest business owners have a legal obligation to document all of their financial transactions. If you have kept all of your business’s receipts and financial records in an organized form throughout the year, filing your annual tax returns, surviving an audit, and avoiding penalties for failing to submit the proper source (supporting) papers will be considerably easier. No business deal, no matter how small or insignificant, should ever be forgotten.

What Are IRS Requirements For Receipts?

The majority of small business owners are aware that they must keep business receipts. Many business owners still fail to adequately record the justification for the expense that their organization incurred.

The IRS demands proof that the costs were expended for business objectives if you wish to write off expenses for travel, lodging, and entertainment. You must also provide proof of the expenditure’s amount, as well as the time and place when it occurred.

The idea that credit card and bank statements are sufficient proof that a transaction was related to a business is one of the most widespread misconceptions about tax deductions. You would be in good shape if you developed the habit of recording your cash receipts. That is hardly accurate in the slightest. Because bank and credit card statements do not include this information, you cannot rely on them to confirm that a purchase was made for business purposes.

You must adhere to the strict guidelines established by the IRS and provide supporting documentation and notes that explain what the expenditure was used for. If not, you run the risk of getting yourself into trouble later on.

Best way to organize receipts for small business

Keep all receipts

One cannot overstate the importance of this point. Having a systematic process in place for submitting receipts could end up saving you a ton of time and money when you’re the target of an audit.

Make helpful notes

Make a few notes on the back of the receipt after paying the bill during a business lunch or dinner. This is a smart habit to have while you’re doing business. Include details that can assist you to remember who you spoke with and the context of your initial chat. This will help you remember and make it simpler when you need to balance your spending in the future.

Get a business credit card

To simplify the process of arranging your receipts, this is the one step that will have the greatest impact on your efficiency. Every time you make a purchase related to your business, use the credit and debit cards issued to your company (this includes recurring payments you may have). If you accomplish this, your bank’s statements will be a reliable source of information about your business.

Scan and keep receipts for at least six years

This is helpful given that the ink on a receipt may become less legible after some amount of time has passed. It is your responsibility to ensure that any receipts you provide to the IRS are clear and easy to interpret. The IRS will accept receipts that have been kept digitally. Despite this, you should still make regular backups of any saved receipts because the IRS is not going to be concerned if your hard drive crashes.

Take pictures of you receipts

This is a fantastic idea, and there is a plethora of apps that can provide assistance in carrying it out in the way that you recommend. Because of the excellent technology that is accessible today, making a note on the receipt and then taking a picture of it is a simple and straightforward process. Nevertheless, ensuring that your application files are backed up is an absolute must.

Have your receipts sent to your email

This is a fantastic concept, and there are a lot of businesses that can provide this service for you.

Do not rely on bank or credit card statements

These are necessary, but they are insufficient in the absence of actual receipts. The IRS is unaware of the items you really bought at Staples, despite the fact that they can see on your credit card statement that you spent $325 there. It’s possible that instead of purchasing office supplies with the money allotted for them, you spent it on entertainment-related items like movies and useless gadgets. Bank or credit card statements are all excellent options for record-keeping, but the receipt is crucial for an IRS auditor since it provides details about the transaction.

Avoid cash

This is of vital importance. Cash is difficult to track, easy to squander, and nearly impossible to match up with receipts. It is best to avoid paying with cash and instead use a credit card or bank account that is designated just for business transactions whenever it is practical to do so. Use your debit and credit cards because they’ll send you monthly statements that you can easily line up with the receipts you’ve accumulated.


After collecting all of this information, the following step is to sort it into the appropriate categories using the tools at your disposal. This will make filing your taxes much easier, and you’ll be able to look up any transaction you need to without having to search through a ton of data.

Keep your filing system organized

You may keep your receipts organized by keeping them in envelopes. The work of creating receipts will become much more difficult for you if your envelopes cannot be found because they have gone missing or are jumbled up.

You must keep order in your systems at all times. You can make use of a filing cabinet to store business receipts and other documents related to your company. It is your responsibility to make sure they are stored appropriately from the start.

Store receipts electronically

Relying on paper receipts might be problematic due to the fact that their physical storage may be vulnerable to a range of threats, such as theft, fire, flooding, and natural disasters. If you organize your receipts with the help of software, you may cut down on the amount of time spent doing so while also lowering the risk of losing the paper copies of your receipts.

Be consistent

Another crucial step in the process is to stick to the same strategy when organizing your receipts. If you follow the same general procedure year after year for storing your receipts, noting what they mean, and categorizing them, your data will remain stable, accurate, and simple to access. You may make some minor adjustments to your system over time (such as trying a different app or management system for increased convenience).


It is anticipated that the number of audits conducted by the IRS will continue to rise, and the organization is dedicated to rigorously implementing the regulations. The owners of small businesses would be wise to improve their bookkeeping practices as soon as possible and to save a complete set of receipts for all of their financial transactions. If the owner doesn’t have time to set up and manage a good document storage system, he may consider hiring someone (such as a bookkeeper, receptionist, or another member of your administrative staff) to organize receipts for small business.

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