THE BLOG
02/03/2016 03:35 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

6 Ways Good Documentation Can Save Your Small Business Money

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If you're like most small business owners, you spend a lot of your time researching ways to save money. After all, running a business can quickly break the bank. There are office supplies to buy, employees to pay, and software to purchase and install, among many other things.

Saving Money with Documentation

Don't get discouraged over finances--there's good news. Among other HR solutions, thorough documentation is a simple, effective way to protect your hard-earned money. Although paperwork is probably the bane of your existence, it can make a huge positive impact on your budget. Here are six ways good documentation saves your small business money.

1. Tax Breaks
When you own a business, everything from gas mileage to business lunches can be written off as an expense and deducted from the amount of taxes you owe to the government. Even your internet bill can become a deduction if you work from home.

But what do you need to have in order to back up these expense claims? Documentation. Make sure to keep accurate records of all expenses you incur that relate to your business.

2. Hiring
Employee hiring is a time-consuming and often frustrating process. The cost of placing job ads and spending time reviewing resumes and interviewing candidates significantly affects your business's bottom line, cutting into productivity and sometimes causing chaos in your office.

Proper hiring documentation--including employee applications--provides you with a reliable resource for finding the perfect job candidate in a timely manner.

3. Legal Compliance
Most forms used in the running of a business require certain legal considerations. Making sure your documentation is all-inclusive and meets these requirements saves your business money in legal fees.

4. Employee Efficiency
Policies and procedures manuals are vital to the productivity and engagement of your employees. When team members know what to expect right from the start, they have no loopholes to fall back on when they don't want to comply with company policy.

Everything from time off to office dress code should be meticulously outlined, in detail, in your policies and procedures manuals. This could save your company money by keeping employees on track and productive.

5. Payroll
Sometimes small business owners don't take payroll as seriously as they should. But that's a mistake. Keeping proper records of things like hours worked, personal time used, and tax status prevents your business from inadvertently paying too much in taxes on the wages you pay to your employees.

6. Customer Satisfaction
In addition to improving small business HR processes, proper documentation helps boost customer satisfaction. When you keep accurate and detailed records of customer transactions and buying behavior, you're better equipped to continue providing products and services that each specific customer needs and finds useful.

Margaret Jacoby, SPHR, is the founder and president of MJ Management Solutions, a human resources consulting firm that provides small businesses with a wide range of virtual and onsite HR solutions to meet their immediate and long-term needs. From ensuring legal compliance to writing customized employee handbooks to conducting sexual harassment training, businesses depend on our expertise and cost-effective human resources services to help them thrive. This article first appeared on the MJ Management Solutions blog.

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