Friday, December 26, 2008

Keeping Books

Are you one of those self-employed musicians who only records income based on 1099 forms and only records expenses by throwing some receipts into a box for your accountant to deal with next year? I've been encouraging everyone to get a better handle on their own spending and saving habits, and the best way to do that is by setting up and maintaining some kind of systematic accounting records for your business.

If you've been sloppy in your past bookkeeping, the New Year is a perfect time to start fresh with a simple accounting system for all income and expenses. It can be as simple as resolving to write down each day's income and expenses on a written log before going to bed at night, or you can buy a program like Quicken, or try David Hahn's free Gig Tracker spreadsheet.

How much of your income you report for tax purposes is between you and the IRS, but I highly recommend that you get a clear picture of where your money is coming and going for your own sake. It's really a necessary first step before you can do any effective budgeting, and it also gives you a clear sense of your career progress relative to any goals you have set.

Also, please don't neglect to write down every possible business expense and keep all receipts! If you're not sure about something, write it down and check its deductibility later with your tax preparer. Business expenses are used to directly reduce net business income on US Schedule C tax forms, so every little expense makes a real difference in your bottom line tax liability.

1 comment:

Dave said...

Thanks for the mention Doug. Happy New Year!