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Staying Organized: Tips for Horse Farm Record-Keeping

These 4 tips will help you keep your personal or boarding barn files more organized and increase efficiency.
Keeping records organized and in one location will help your farm run smoothly. | Getty Images

Keeping track of paperwork—hard copy or digital files—can be a hassle. But as a stable owner or manager, maintaining accurate files is as essential as ensuring the horses are fed and well-cared-for. Streamlining the process of collecting and storing documentation lets you keep a pulse on expenses, invoices due, inventory, insurance documents, horse health records, and more.

4 Record-Keeping Tips for Your Stable

While managing paperwork can be challenging, staying on top of both horse and business-related records provides you with critical information needed to make sound business decisions. Use these tips to get started.

Establish separate business and personal bank accounts

When running a sole proprietorship, it’s easy to co-mingle business income and expenses with personal finances. Open a bank account and establish a credit card just for the business. This makes it easier to manage your financials year-round and allows you to be better prepared in the event of an IRS audit. Additionally, establishing separate accounts helps your business develop a credit rating.

Adopt a document management process

Technology has made it simple to cut down on clutter by storing critical documents on a device or in the cloud for real-time access anywhere. However, some types of paperwork, such as official registration papers, should also be in hard copy form.

Whether you’re using paper or digital files, create a separate file folder for each horse. Do the same for each administrative task, including receipts, insurance, and horse health records. Then decide how frequently you will review and update the documents and back up and secure that information.

Streamline record-keeping with software

Software can save you time and frustration in keeping track of critical details. One option is to use Microsoft Excel or Google spreadsheets to document financial information and inventory levels.

However, accounting and business software simplifies the process. Select software that lessens your most significant “pain points,” and look for options that can address several at once. For example, some systems do more than track expenses and invoices and accept payments—they can reconcile bank accounts, provide payroll capabilities, and more.

Well-organized financial records also help you work with an accountant to ensure you are maximizing tax deductions and planning for tax payments. Of course, taxes are a big reason to update your books regularly, but they’re not the only one. Lenders will ask for financial records before approving a loan.

Similarly, several software systems and mobile apps are available for streamlining your stable’s horse records and include features that can document training, show history, and health care and even send reminders to book veterinarian or farrier visits.

Schedule time to update

Software and document management systems do not mean you can take a hands-off approach to record-keeping. The records are only “good” when they are kept current. Hiring a bookkeeper or staff member who updates records can alleviate some of the work, but you’ll still want to make time to review for accuracy. Set up a time on your calendar—weekly, monthly, or quarterly—to avoid the stress or surprise of waiting until you need a certain piece of information.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Katie Navarra
Katie Navarra has worked as a freelance writer since 2001. A lifelong horse lover, she owns and enjoys competing a dun Quarter Horse mare.

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