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How to Organize Your Bills and Papers While on the Road

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 3

I work as a bookkeeper for a small electrical company.  They have two vans and a pickup truck and the one thing that was driving me crazy was the missing receipts and paid invoices I needed when it came time for organizing paperwork and actually have things balance.

I started off by having them bring their receipts and invoices into the office when they got back from their day of work.  That worked for a few weeks.  Since I am not there every day they would simply pile them on the desk and then this pile would fall over.

I set up an “in” basket, thinking that would help to corral the bits of paper.  That worked for a little while, but every time I went to balance the bank statements and expenses the invoice or receipt would be missing.   

They would stuff the receipts in the center console of the truck or van after they filled it with fuel, and would forget about them or the receipts from parts they had picked up.  Or better yet, they would put them on the dashboard to fade in the sun or in their pockets to end up in laundry.

They were brilliant at their jobs and did detailed invoices on site, but I was becoming a CSI when it came to follow up paperwork.  

Portable Office in a Box to Organize Paperwork

So, I put forth the idea of each van having a portable office that would be brought into the office at the end of the day and emptied and then put back in the van as part of their “finish the day activities”

They were not thrilled with the idea of a box in the cab, but you can get soft sided ones like this one that can be carried in and out like a tote and really don’t take up much room at all.  This will hold files and receipts and pens the invoice book the works phone and everything.  This way, the console of the truck doesn’t become the office along with the take out coffee cups and food bags!

One hard breaking stop and everything goes flying all over the van.  Ordered parts that were picked up would have the receipt in the bag with the part.  They would take the receipt off the part and put it in the cab console, and after a day of in and out of the vehicle it would get crumples or messed up.  So they agreed it would be “cleaner”.

How to organize your bills and papers
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This is perfect for mobile businesses where a brief case may not be suitable or big enough.

Label a Few File Folders To Keep Track of Papers the Easy Way

They could have a file for completed work and the invoice, and then one for holding the cheques or cash if they get paid on site.  Many customers will pay by credit card and I need the credit card receipt with the invoice and the invoice in my hands at the days end. 

They could then use the rest of the cubby holes for gas receipts and parts receipts and any small parts if needed.  There would be a place for their work order book and at the end of the day they would simply grab this portable office bag, bring it in the office and dump out the files into my “in box”.  They wouldn’t even have to organize it, just simply empty it out and then put it back in the truck ready for the next day. 

This way the dashboard stays clear of papers, and the center console is clear and the door pockets are clear and there would actually be space for their coffee cups!

After a day of getting in and out of the van or truck, things get moved around and it is easy to have a tiny little gas receipt go missing.  These receipts are not very big anymore.  They keep the gas cards in their wallet and quite often end up putting the receipt in their own wallet and that is where it stays!  I get the fuel bill and as I am going over it and comparing it to what I have in my accounting program there will be entries missing simply because I didn’t have the receipt.

I don’t like to harp on them, but to do my job properly I need all the paperwork.  I can sort it out, it just needs to get from the vans and truck into my basket so that when I come in, it is all there.

Perfect for Any Business That is Mobile

We may have moved more into the computer age and there are state of the

How to Organize your bills and papers

 art systems that have everything online, but you are still going to have the odd receipt, invoice or quote that you need to keep track off.   You can even have a home for a stapler!

A brief case may not work for you, so why not look at these portable offices.  You can find a file at a glance, and then at the end of the day just take this portable office home with you.  You will have everything you need in one spot


Start With Three File Folders

Completed Invoices – If you invoiced on site and they pay you then you can have a file labeled completed work and put the invoice in there with the attached payment to keep it all together.

Quotes – If you do quotes for your business, then you can keep track of them in this one file for the day. 

Receipts – Keep this file for receipts from parts you may have picked up for your business, or fuel for your vehicle or any purchases you make that are related to your business.

If you have at least these 3 file folders in your portable office you will be able to keep track of your income and expenses and if you don’t do you’re invoicing until the end of the day, then at least you will have all the paperwork and receipts needed to invoice the customer all in one spot.

How to Organize Your Bills the Easy Way?

You can obviously make more files depending on your business.  But from personal experience the simpler it is the quicker they will be filed and stored in this box.  Then simply lift this tote out with the handles and all your papers are together.   

Remember “No Job is Finished Until the Paperwork is Done” Many good businesses have failed simply because no one was watching those bits of paper.  So, if you are a mobile business, then get organized with a office tote! 



Sep 12, 2013 7:52pm
what do you think about storing information on smart phones?
Sep 13, 2013 5:33am
they do that when they can, but they have to use manual credit card machines because many of their customers are in areas without cellular coverage for these phones to work.
Oct 12, 2013 7:43pm
Great helpful ideas, lost receipts are definitely a problem when you are the person trying to balance the books thats for sure.
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