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Having a place for your financial transaction documents is an important part of staying organized.  Scanning transactional paperwork can often be the last, and most challenging, part of going paper free.  

Transactions are any of the following:

  • Receipts
  • Bills
  • Statements (different from bills, they simply report the status of something – like investments)
  • Tax Documents (W2, 1090, etc.)
  • Paystubs or checks (anything that is money to you)
  • Contracts (promises to pay, IOUs, financial agreements)

Some people would prefer not to have this information digital, and instead keep records on hand in paper form.  But what if, god forbid, there was a fire or flood?  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a backup copy?

For others, going truly paper free is the goal and that is what this article is here to help you do.

Advantages to uploading Financial Documents

  • Paper free!  No more piles of mailed bills you already pay online.  A clutter-free desk!  Rediscovered storage space!
  • Easy, searchable, access to all your important financial documents.
  • Preservation of receipts – the carbon fades!  Trust me, it is embarrassing to hand your tax accountant a stack of blank paper rectangles.
  • The ability to cross-reference a note to another note.  Such as, linking a business receipt to budget spreadsheet.
  • Add comments to a document such as “paid on 4/10” or “pending account review” to keep track of the status of the bill or statement.
  • Forward note to company, accountant, or partner via email as necessary.  

If you weren’t on-board before, maybe you are thinking, “Interesting – tell me more”.  If you landed here because you are on the Evernote, paper free, organize my life, highway, you are probably thinking, “Let’s do this!”  

Well, let’s. 

Set Up Financial Notebooks

Create a stack of notebooks designated for all your financial documents.  It should look something like this:

Financial documents notebooks sorted by type in Evernote

Read: How to Organize Notebooks into Stacks

If you plan to use one category more than others (say, receipts), you can force the receipts notebook to the top of the list by leading the notebook name with a number.  Otherwise, the list of notebooks in the Finances stack will be alphabetical.

Use an Inbox

Going paper-free is great, but it is work that is never done.  You will regularly have bills, statements, and receipts that you need to process. Even if you have receipts sent to you via email, you will still want to store that receipt in your centralized system.

That is what an Inbox helps you with.  It is a centralized dumping ground for all the notes you haven’t yet processed and filed into the correct note. 

Read: How to Organize Evernote Notebooks for Ultimate Productivity

Likewise, you may already have a collection of financial documents uploaded to Evernote.  For this next step, move them into your Inbox.  This way, you can keep track of processing your financial documents.

Title Notes Systematically

Here is the gold: it is all about how you title your note.  This will make your receipt, bill, statement, etc. easier to find in the future.  It will also help you sort your notes.

Title all financial related documents with this structure:

Breakdown of Evernote Note Title for transactional documentation
  1. Date in this format: YYYYMMDD
  2. Type of document
    • Bill
    • Contract
    • Paystub (or Check)
    • Receipt
    • Statement
    • Taxes
  3. Name of establishment or business conducted
  4. Amount in transaction (skip for some statements and tax documents)

If you have receipts for home, and receipts for business, you may want to specify “Biz” or the name of the business in the title.  This way you can easily search and filter at a later time.  If you collect many business receipts or separate transactions, it may be a good idea to create a separate notebook for those documents.

Once you have titled a note accurately, leave any important comments in the body of the note to help you remember what the transaction is for or if any action is necessary.  

If you need to follow up on a note, be sure to use the Reminder feature in Evernote to receive follow up notifications. 

Finally, move the note from your Inbox into the appropriately specified notebook.  All done!

Do you use Evernote?  Have a different system?  Share your ideas in the comments below.

Photo by Katie Harp – Pinterest Marketing on Unsplash

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Posted by Amanda Parsons

Amanda has always had an appreciation for writing instructions that are easy to follow. When not curled up with her laptop trying to figure out why Word on the Mac is so weird, she can be found kayaking in the Pacific Northwest.

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