It’s time to down tools, tidy the office, leave a holiday message on the answer phone, prepare for guests or pack suitcases. It’s as if 2013 can be put in a box and filed away, with a clean start to be made in 2014. Now is a good time to think about tidying up your financial records, particularly if you are intending to travel.
The days of keeping huge piles of paper are long gone. Bank statements, invoices and receipts can all be received online now. Technology can save a huge amount of time but still needs to be managed if you want to get the most benefit from it.
Start by looking at whether you are making full use of direct debits and automatic payments to pay your bills and transfer money automatically between your bank accounts each payday. To avoid nasty surprises, it is a good idea to have all your direct debits and automatic payments paid out of an account which is separate from the account used for other household running costs.
Set up an electronic filing system for the invoices and receipts sent by email. Keep track of donation receipts and anything you can claim as an expense if you are self employed.
Scan important documents such as passports, birth certificates, wills etc, however be careful how you store this information. Use a password protected USB or an encrypted cloud storage system rather than leaving it on your computer and make sure that at least one other trusted person knows how to access it.
Before you go on holiday, make sure you take copies of your insurance details for your car and personal items, so if, for example, your camera disappears overboard while you are on your cruise, you can quickly lodge a claim. Happy holidays!