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Hi everyone,

Just wanted to ask about bookkeeping and wondered how most of you designers go about keeping track of etc? Do you use tools to help you like 'billings' or do you just use Excel? I'm I've only been running since July last year so luckily haven't had to do anything as yet. But I know it's coming so just wanted to make a start on having everything ready for my accountant.

Many thanks in advance for any advice/resources anyone can give me :icon_smile:
I am fortunate that I have a complicated CMS & print pricing programme I inherited and also Sage...and my husband (who thinks I am a complete idiot when it comes to bookkeeping) does my books...

However, you should be able to keep adequate books using Excel (there are other spreadsheets). Before I was 'upgraded' I used to keep a spreadsheet with Invoice number/Date/Client/Paid out (to suppliers)/Charged out (to client). I also had columns for Profit and I split Design and Print...and I had a column for Cost of Sale and also important Date paid. I would add client email & phone number to the columns. Worked perfectly well. I kept a copy of any invoices I sent and also all Invoices sent in/paid. (But I was using Sage at that point).

If you want to get something I understand that ACT! is a good programme and ties in with Sage. But there are lots of smaller/cheaper programmes out there. Or you could do it all manually in a book.
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I track my time and earnings using Billings, then create my invoice in InDesign. I create a PDF and send that off to the client. Once it's paid I apply a Master in InDesign that just adds the word "Paid" across the top, print it off and stick it in a folder. I also keep the original PDFs in a dated folder, so invoices I sent in June, went in my "June folder".

As for the book-keeping, I'm using a spreadsheet with 3 columns; "Description", "Income", and "Expenses". In the "Description" column I put what the job was or what I spent money on, then put the corresponding amount in either the "Income" column (if it's money I made), or "Expenses" (if it's something I bought).

Now I just need remember to keep my receipts :)
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Bookkeeping's easy, really: keep copies of invoices issued, invoices paid, receipts and cheque stubs in a big pile and tick everything off against your bank statements at the end of the year. Once you've confirmed that the record's accurate, do as Paul describes and create a simple spreadsheet with a column for 'In', one for 'Out' and provide a basic narrative - any further unpicking or reorganisation required is your accountant's domain and, once s/he's made it all palatable for the tax man, add the new paperwork to the rest of the pile and file it.
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I haven't been marking invoices as paid. Thought the transaction itself would stand up enough?

I do this is purely for my own benefit. It's probably not necessary but for me it makes it clear which jobs have been paid for. I send a lot of invoices to one client for small jobs that I do on top of their larger projects. Since I tend to get a lump sum deposited into my account when they pay, marking which jobs/invoices are paid for makes it easier for me to track them.
Thank you for all of your help everyone! I'm glad I'm on the right track for now. I'm keeping all of my income and outgoings and invoices in a list order etc.

Just another quick question if that's okay?

Can I put eating out as say 'client entertainment' that can be used as an expense to my business at the end of the financial year?? Or will the tax man not have any of it?..
Marking invoices as paid means that it is easy if you have to chase for money.

Expenses are something else to keep track of. We claim for mileage, anything for the office, networking, client entertainment - though have yet to see what the accountant will throw out!

The more you do for the accountant the less you will pay.
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