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As a self-employed individual, maintaining good books and records is one of the most essential tasks to achieve long term success. The process of maintaining books and records is an on-going process. Your records should be complete and reflect all your self-employed or business activities, regardless of how frequently the activities occur.

Maintain a daily log

It’s a good idea to keep daily records of all your business transactions.  We provide a sample log at the end of this module to help you, but you can also search online or buy a software program to keep track of your business transactions.

Be sure to:

  • list detailed information about each transaction; and
  • update your records every time you
    • make a sale or get paid,
    • make a purchase, or
    • pay an expense.

To support your accounting, it’s important that you document (log) your activity as soon as it occurs. Save all records of your transactions for a minimum of three (3) years.

Your records should contain enough information to correctly determine:

  • income earned—the amount you received as payment, regardless of how you were paid (whether by cash, check, money order, credit card, or any other method); and
  • expenses paid each time you did anything related to your self-employed or business activity.

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