Recordkeeping is one of those things that most beginning entrepreneurs don't even think about. As the need for recordkeeping dawns — usually as the result of harping by the entrepreneur's accountant, banker, attorney — a recordkeeping system gradually evolves — albeit reluctantly.
To the beginner, recordkeeping looks like just a lot of useless work. The typical thought — "If I have to keep records on every little thing I do, when am I going to have the time to do anything?"
But somewhere along the way — maybe as the result of wasting a day-and-a-half looking for a piece of correspondence you just know you saved — or the result of losing a court case because you couldn't find the records that would have proved you right — or the result of an IRS agent disallowing some of your expenses because you didn't have the backup to prove they were legitimate — or the result of having a bank loan called because the bank sees that you have no measures of your cash needs — the importance of recordkeeping starts to sink in.
Good recordkeeping does require time and effort — but it's also necessary. How much time and effort it requires depends on how you approach it. The fundamental axiom of Quality applies as much to recordkeeping as to every other business process — it's always easier to do things right the first time.
If you let your recordkeeping evolve haphazardly — "fixing" it only as "problems" result — you will find that, over time, you will have put much more time and effort into the process than if you had simply done it "right" at the start.
This series will try to provide some insight into what constitutes "right". Keep in mind that "right" is subjective. What we'll be doing is reviewing the paper and data that flows into, within, and out of a business and what can — and, subjectively, should — be done with that paper and data. And occasionly — even more subjectively, but where I have a strong opinion — how it should be done.