Sitting in the accountant’s office this year with my husband who is an investment adviser, I felt like a Kindergartner. (Nothing against Kindergarten. It’s a very fine starting place, x’s on the floor and all.) My husband had all his documents (many) in order and I forgot my one document I was supposed to bring: my Profit and Loss Report. Figures. On the up side, I did, however, bring my Nordstrom bag filled with folders, receipts, and all kinds of other things we didn’t need.
After telling me my husband was making me look bad, the accountant circled back around (probably remembered I found him in the first place) and told me life would be very boring if everybody was an accountant. A solid point.
Still, last year I made it my goal to become more savvy in the business side of writing. Not only would I address the publicity, marketing aspects which are easier for me because of my former life as a marketing director in law firms, but also the financial aspects which have not been easy for me since my first shouting match with my mother when she tried to teach me how to balance my checkbook in high school. Until last year, I hadn’t tried that again. I’m more of an intuitive banker.
Tax time looms, however, and as writers we have things we need to consider. Even if we aren’t drawing in big advances for our fantasy trilogy series, there are still monies here are there from freelancing, speaking, expenses from conferences, and paper and ink, and paper and ink, and paper and ink…you get the idea.
This year, in the first quarter (that’s accounting talk), I merged my writing income with my health coaching income and incorporated which I think worked out well to balance out writing off expenses. I learned Quickbooks and got everything reconciled with a tutorial trip (actually 3) to the local small business center, a day long class my banker sent me to, and some trouble shooting from my husband on my credit card statements when they were–umm–$500 off. Thanks, honey.
Perhaps business majors smirk at my progress, but I say, “Job well done!” Baby steps. And what I’ve decided is this: my goal now is to sell a book and have somebody else do this stuff. What? Rome wasn’t built in a day.