Running a blog may be fun, but it’s also a challenge, especially when it grows and turns into a business. Making sure it stays fun while you’re also taking care of the business side is a lot easier if you put some simple systems in place. Bookkeeping, for instance, shouldn’t overshadow what attracted you to blogging in the first place. Spending an hour on a new post is probably a much more attractive prospect than spending an hour reconciling your accounts.
Luckily, there are ways to make bookkeeping quick and easy so you’ll still have plenty of creative energy to keep your blog alive and fresh.
Open a Business Bank Account
This is a real time saver, as well as being the professional way to organise business finances. Most banks will provide a year or more of free banking when you open your account and, providing you’re not asking to borrow money or have an overdraft, it’s a simple process.
Make sure you run all expenses and income from your blog through the business account, not your personal one. If you mix up the two, you’ll have two sets of figures to wade through to find your business transactions, which takes much longer and you’re more likely to miss important entries.
Another reason for a business account crops up when you need some professional accounting help. Do you really want to share all your personal spending habits with your accountant? Not only are they not interested in what you spend your income on, your accountancy bill will be lower if your accountant doesn’t have to work to separate business transactions from personal ones.
Keep Your Receipts Safe
Your receipts are your proof of money out and money in. You don’t have to keep all the bits of paper unless you really want to, as HMRC will let you convert them to digital files. Just take a photo with your phone or make a scan with your printer. You can then keep the digital copies in a folder (give it a name you’ll remember) either on your computer, in the cloud or on a memory stick.
One tip is to use your own numbering system for receipts so they’re easy to cross reference. In your books, you record where the money came from or went, along with the receipt or invoice number you gave it. Doing this makes it easy to find, for instance, receipt number 24 in March if you need to show proof at any time.
Use an Easy Bookkeeping System
All you need to get started as a sole trader is a way to record income and expense. You don’t need complicated software that wants you to fill in payroll or VAT information. Those may come later, but basic income and outgoing columns, cross referenced to your receipts and invoices, will get you started.
You could use a notebook with columns, an Excel spreadsheet, or an online accounting service. If you’re just starting your blog, set up a simple system as soon as you register your domain, since that is a business expense and should be recorded as such.
Using Professional Bookkeeping Services
A professional bookkeeper can be a godsend if you need some help. Many work independently and are happy to give you just a few hours each month to help keep your books up to date. Accurate books are a legal requirement, so it’s worth spending some time doing it right from the beginning. A bookkeeper will also make sure your books are ready for an accountant, who you may use to draw up your end-of-year reports and submit your tax return.
Bookkeeping, far from being a chore, can be a motivating exercise. When you see how your financial picture is reflecting the blog’s success, it’ll boost your creativity and encourage you to find even better blogging ideas.