If sales go through your bank account, then the bookkeeping is being done for you by the bank statements. If you make cash sales, then these will need to be recorded by hand, and we have a cash sales day book which is a single sheet of paper from which you can print off as many pages as you need. We will show you a few examples of how to complete it in a moment. We will be asking you to go to town on sales, but to take it easy on expenses.
All your sales or takings need to be recorded, and you may need several sheets to do this. As you finish each sheet, we ask you to pencil in the sheet total at the bottom as a check on your work. We also ask you to pencil in the sheet total at the top, adding in reverse order, as a double check. We will enter all your transactions into our system, and as we do so, we will check that our running total is in agreement with your figure. If we enter several sheets, we have an AutoContra system which can reset the running total to zero so we can do an accurate check on the next sheet. At the end we switch off AutoContra so we get an accurate grand total with everything transferred correctly from your sales sheets to our system. We don’t mind typing in lots of numbers as long as we have the ultimate assurance that we will get it right. We have a small handheld numeric keypad and wear a thimble.
If you have just a few expenses, then you could put the invoices and vouchers in a small concertina folder and leave it to us to enter them, especially if there is plenty of time before the deadline. We do an independent check on large items by printing them off from our system and comparing them back to your records.
We have an identical spreadsheet version of the cash sales day book and we can give you a copy if you ask. This will do the sheet totals for you, and you can print it off and hand it to us, or you can e-mail it. We will always give you a choice between doing it by hand or doing it on a spreadsheet, and between e-mailing it and handing it in or posting it.
We will start with a small rental business with monthly income. In this case, the property stood empty in October and November, and this is shown on the sheet to give assurance that all the rental income has been stated correctly and in full. With this type of business, there might be about half a dozen invoices for repairs which we can type in, so just hand them in to us. There might be a mortgage statement which might be best e-mailed to us as a PDF attachment.
When our accounts clerk types this rental information into our system, it will be done by the column, with all the numbers, followed by all the dates, and then the narratives. Entry of numbers can be done in bursts of eight or sixteen numbers before checking back. Some of the ruled lines on the page are a bit thicker in order to help the clerk, and that is why they are there. The narrative “Rent” only needs to be typed once, and then the clerk can run a routine which copies it down to all vacant spaces.
The next example is a quarter or three months’ of income for someone self-employed. The two items marked Capital Introduced are cash paid into the business by the owner, which is not taxable and may be to buy equipment. This should always be clearly identified since it will be assumed by the Revenue that all income is taxable unless proven otherwise.
A mistake was made on the 8th February which is crossed out by two horizontal lines, and the correct figure is then shown below. The owner went on holiday at the end of March and this is indicated to explain why no cash income is recorded. This isn’t entirely essential but it does help if ever the Revenue ask questions. The total 4,277.11 is added upwards and added downwards at the top and bottom of the sheet.
When we type this into our system, we will check the total of 4,277.11, and then use our AutoContra system to enter a temporary expense in a special separate place to reset the running total to zero. After doing this again with the next three quarters, we will delete the temporary expenses to give the correct grand total for income. The combination of you recording when your property is empty or you are on holiday or you are sick, the sheet totals at top and bottom, and our AutoContra system, gives plenty of assurance that income is stated completely and correctly.
A small shop might just use one sheet per month and will describe its income as takings. In the example shown, the bookkeeper gives enough information about dates and takings to make it obvious what’s what, but hasn’t gone too far with the detail. This is just right.
A period of sickness has been noted which explains why there are no takings. Things like roadworks which reduce footfall could also be mentioned. The page has 32 lines which allow a full month to be recorded, plus one extra line which we call a long month. The value of adding both upwards and downwards to get an accurate total is obvious. It is quite possible when adding to miss a day entirely, and not just to get a figure a bit wrong.
You could do the additions by transferring everything to an identical spreadsheet which we can give you. If you stick with paper, we can work with photocopies so you retain the original document which might be your only record of takings. If you use a spreadsheet, you may e-mail a copy, or print off two copies and give us one of them.
Here are the spreadsheet versions of a year’s rental income, three months’ self-employment and a month of the small shop that you may look at. We can provide a blank spreadsheet by e-mail on request. This is free to our clients.
We will be happy to provide more examples if asked.
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
If you are already running a good bookkeeping system, then there is no need to change it. What we ask is that you provide reliable totals or subtotals which we can use to double-check our data entry. We usually check a total by adding downwards and then adding upwards to see if we get the same figure. You don’t need to use our system in order to do this.