Should I Keep the Receipt?
If it’s connected to your writing business (because, yes, publishing is a business) then yes, you probably do need to keep those receipts. And records of your expenses, because how are you going to know if that advertising made you money?
Now, hold on. I know I’m probably losing you, because this is starting to sound like accounting.
Don’t cringe. It’s not that bad.
(Disclaimer–I’m not a tax attorney, or a CPA or any fancy lettered money person. For tax advice, see a properly licensed professional. This is just a few ideas to explore to help you find a way to better organize the business side of publishing.)
Accounting programs are not what they were ten years ago, where you practically needed a degree to understand them. They’re very user friendly, and are designed to help people who likely don’t want to spend their days stressing over expenses and income data, but get back to what they love to do, which is run their business.
Or in a writer’s case–write their books.
But, ugh. Bookkeeping has to be done.
Keeping track of income and expenses can seem daunting, especially if you’re not that organized.
Fortunately, there are several different options out there to help you keep track of all that paperwork (digital and printed) for your business.
17 Hats — $$$ A very all-inclusive cloud software that allows you to manage income, expenses, invoicing, along with calendars, email sync, and to-do lists. There isn’t much this won’t do for you.
Freshbooks — $ Cloud based software that starts at a small, reasonable monthly fee, and allows for bookkeeping and a small amount of invoicing. As the fee goes up, you get more features. .
Quick Books — $ From the makers of Quicken, Quick books is accounting software that has a version specifically designed for the independent contractor in mind (no employees), as well as for small businesses, with several tiers of pricing.
Wave Accounting — Free. Online cloud software that can be used for many small business needs, including accounting and expense reports. If you’re just starting with a bookkeeping program, this one is nice for testing the waters.
Shoeboxed — $$ A digital “shoebox” of your receipts, it scans physical receipts and digital ones, and integrates with programs including Quick Books and Wave to help you track your expenses.
Live Expenses — Free. An iTunes App that allows you to track expenses on your Apple device.
Neat Desk — $$$ A physical scanner that scans your receipts for you, as well as software to keep track of your expenses as they come in.
Many of these options have free trials that allow you to experiment with them, and see which one is the right fit for you and your business.
There are others out there, because there’s always new, exciting things to try all the time. Feel free to check around. This list gives you a starting place.
Stepping into the bookkeeping side of publishing can seem daunting, but you can do it. If you can track your sales easily through all the different dashboards out there for publishing, you can do some basic accounting. It’s really not that hard.
So yes, you do have to keep that receipt.
But it doesn’t have to be a massive headache when you do.
About the Author
Romance author Candice Gilmer leads a dangerous double life as a mommy and a writer. Between writing and family, she plays on Pinterest and takes pictures of her growing collection of Funko Pop dolls, because, well, she's a fan girl too.