Most freelancers feel the same way about administrative work as children do about writing lines at school. Luckily there are ways to finish your administrative tasks as quickly as possible. These five tips might help.

Do you save all of your receipts and invoices in a large cardboard box you only open once a year when filling out tax returns? If so, you’re not alone – most people let their financial admin pile up somewhere, hidden away in a long-forgotten drawer.

A bad idea to begin with, but if you’re working as a freelancer, lackadaisical bookkeeping could cost you time and that most precious resource, money. Keeping your accounting books in order is not only required by law, you will definitely miss out on money if you do not. Instead of reluctantly plodding through your papers time and again, why don’t you try to complete a freelancer’s least favourite task in the shortest possible time?

1. Invest in useful apps and software

There are a large number of software programmes and apps to save freelancers and independent professionals time on their admin. They allow you to create a quote or invoice in an instant, and your income and expenses on your business account are processed automatically. Some bookkeeping programmes charge annual or monthly fees, but most offer free trial periods, like ClearBooks, Allegro or QuickBooks.

2. Don’t waste time on unnecessary tasks

Why would you draft a new email each time you want to send the same message? It’s easier to create a template for emails you send regularly, such as friendly payment reminders. Why repeatedly enter the amounts from your bills – why not use another software programme to automate it. More often than not it can be quicker to enter something once and then let a computer perform the function again as it needs to.

3. Analyse your work habits

To identify the tasks on which you spend an unnecessary amount of time, you will have to analyse your own work habits. Have you structured your working day? Do you often linger on social media when you were really planning to pay an invoice? How often do you decide to quickly do some accounting in between other tasks?

Once you have mapped all of this out, you can get started on changing habits. Many self-help books will tell you that it takes 21 days to build a new routine, but that’s a myth. According to a recent study by University College London it takes – depending on the person and the circumstances – an average of more than two months to change behaviour.

4. Create a new routine

It might feel good to pay each invoice you receive straight away, however, each time you archive an invoice and make an online payment, you are interrupting another task. You can save time by dividing up your working week into blocks. To prevent having to repeat the same procedure several times in one week, you can schedule a single morning when you’ll deal with all payments.

5. Find an accountant who will pay for himself

A good accountant will not only save you a lot of effort and time, but will also save you enough money to pay for their services. They will know exactly where you can save money and ensure that you are paying as little tax as possible within the confines of the law. The more administrative work you perform in advance, the less you will pay for an accountant.

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