I recently worked with a busy client with not one, but two small businesses. One business requires her to order parts and send invoices. The other has employees and requires a whole different set of bookkeeping. This lady had paperwork for both businesses and her personal bills and she's drowning.
She had two upright filing organizers on the kitchen table (pictured below), a large two-drawer file cabinet filled to the brim, two banker's boxes of records and several piles of paper on her desk. She had been taking care of her own books, but felt it would be better to find a professional bookkeeper.
I contacted a bookkeeper that I have worked with in the past. He was able to meet with us and give advice on how he'd like them to be organized. Once we had direction, we got down to work. Working through the piles, we put the papers into different categories: action items (bills to pay, invoices to further investigate, items to be entered into Quickbooks), to-file (personal and business) and miscellaneous.
Once we knew where the papers belonged, we used her supplies file, box up and containerize. Usually I can use supplies that the client already has, but sometimes I will purchase new materials to make the office space feel more professional.
In less than five hours, we were able to clean up and organize mountains of paperwork and give this business owner piece of mind. She is now able to hand over manila envelops with all her pertinent records to her bookkeeper. Her business will be running more smoothly and she is definitely breathing a "sigh of relief."