You can almost hear the sigh of relief. Tax season is finally over! But that sigh of relief is different depending on your preparation and experience.

If you had all your receipts and paperwork in order, the sigh of relief includes a smile because it was stress free and you know you maximized your deductions. Now, you just have to decide what to do with that refund check, right?

If you were disorganized, didn't plan and spent hours trying to pull it all together, that sigh of relief is more of "thank goodness it's over" mixed with, "I've got to avoid this next year."

Even though half of 2010 is over, there are still things you can do to make tax season go more smoothly next year and eliminate any stress you have about managing your financial records. Here are my top three recommendations for getting your business in order starting today:

1. Hire a financial planner. Hands down, one of the best investments you can make. A good financial planner can help you plan out your business year and expenses so you have a road map of how to spend and save your money. Even though you might think you can't afford one because money is tight, just think back to all the hours you just spent trying to get your stuff together for tax season. Now multiply those hours by your hourly rate -- more than enough to hire a financial planner, right? Ask friends, family members and colleagues for a referral to a FEE-based planner (not commission based) who can help you to create a customized money management plan for a flat fee.

2. Use a web-based or software solution for your income and expenses. By selecting a solution that is tailor made for income and expenses, you save time and headaches. Again, the investment and ease of use is well worth the time you save trying to manually track this in Excel or Word Document. You'll be able to bill your clients much more easily (again saving yourself time, stress and money) and will have a clear picture of the financial health of your business. Try using a web-based software like FreshBooks or QuickBooks Online software.

3. Get your receipts in order. This is so important for so many reasons. First, the clutter - who needs all those pieces of paper all over the place? Even if you have them organized in an accordion file, they are not easy to find. Second, you need easy access to maximize the tax deductions. If you can't find the receipt that shows you paid $100 on a new toner cartridge for your printer, you can't deduct it. There's a neat online service at that gives you the option of sending in all your receipts and they will scan them for you. The best part is that you can then import these scanned documents into FreshBooks, Evernote, QuickBooks, Excel and more.

These three tips can set you on your way to a better tax season next year. Remember, it's not too late to start preparing for the 2010 tax season. Take this first step to avoid the stress and aggravation next year. You'll be thankful you did!

Author's Bio: 

Sydni Craig-Hart, The VA Success Coach™, is Founder of Executive Assistant to Virtual Assistant!, a company dedicated to providing Administrative Professionals with the support, tools and resources they need to create a highly successful, profitable Virtual Assistant business. Visit to listen to Sydni’s FREE audio class “How to Start and Grow A Profitable Virtual Assistant Business ...In Less Than Six Months”.