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Why Decluttering Your Accounts Is Like Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea is a luxurious pleasure.

Freshly baked scones, finger sandwiches, melt in the mouth pastries. And the best part of all, beautiful quality loose leaf tea served in bone china.

Pure relaxation.

You may be wondering why your accounts and bookkeeping have anything to do with afternoon tea, and in fact, anything to do with decluttering.

Aren’t accounts and decluttering what you do when you are putting off doing something else, when anything is better than whatever it is you’re meant to be doing?

Well, no.

Let me let you into a little secret. That’s it, lean in close, I’m going to whisper this quietly.


Afternoon tea is JUST like decluttering your accounts from that mess they’re in.

It’s luxurious, pampering, relaxing.


Step aside from ‘This MUST Be Awful’ and allow yourself to enjoy the process.

How To Declutter Your Accounts Using The Afternoon Tea System

Afternoon tea is a tradition with rituals that we love and adore.

We know where we are, what goes where and how it fits together. We know what we like first, and what we like last. We know what works to maximise our enjoyment.

Use this approach with your messy accounts and bookkeeping.

Afternoon tea

Figure 1

In Figure 1 (above) we can see more detail of how the Afternoon Tea System works in practice.

The freshly baked scones are at the top, wrapped in a napkin to keep them warm. Below that are the sandwiches and savouries. The final layer are the pastries.

Do you have your cheesecake with your sandwiches? Do you have your opera cake as the filling in a savoury? Are your scones cold? HMRC require you to take ‘reasonable care’ with your accounts. That means presenting them properly and having a good foundation for your business.

Let’s look at how to declutter your accounts using the Afternoon Tea System.

The Afternoon Tea System: Step 1

Decide what order you need to do your bookkeeping in.

What works best for you? Weekly, monthly, quarterly? Do you have a system for keeping, annotating and backing up your receipts, statements and invoices? Do you work best on-the-go or at your desk?

This is your foundation.

Like the afternoon tea stand, you need an order so you know where you are and what comes next. As long as you fulfil HMRC’s obligations, then the rest you can decide what works best for you. If you need some help, ask what other people do or ask a professional.

It saves a lot of time, money and sanity.

The Afternoon Tea System: Step 2

Afternoon tea 2.jpg

Figure 2

Next, declutter.

If you’re the person who has the invoices jam in with the expenses sausage roll, sort it out. No need for fear or delay, it’s only an afternoon tea in your accounts remember?

If your receipts are mixed in with the clotted cream, put them in their place. If your invoices are mixed up with your expenses, sort them out: we don’t have spinach tart and cheesecake on the same layer.

Buy a cake stand and use that as your filing system if stylish order is your thing. You can do the same in your email for electronic records.

The Afternoon Tea System: Step 3

Julieanne Steel

Figure 3

Step 3 is making a booking for afternoon tea, and enjoying every last bite of warm scone adorned with jam and cream.

This last pampering step is illustrated in Figure 3 by Julieanne Steel during her Tax & Cake Heaven Intensive. Julieanne is a professional declutterer and it’s reassuring to know that professional organisers aren’t completely perfect and need a bit of help like the rest of us.

Now you have your accounts like your afternoon tea.

  • Receipts are with receipts. All in one place, annotated, recorded, backed up
  • Invoices are with invoices. All in one place, paid, recorded, backed up
  • Income and all other paperwork is all together. In order, annotated, recorded, backed up

Now you know where you are and you know where you’re going.

All is calm and at peace with the world.

Action Point: Schedule Afternoon Tea right now as your luxury reward for your accounts decluttering success



Are your accounts and tax in need of some tender loving decluttering?





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