Working Methods: ACCOUNTING FOR DUMMIES

While maybe not the sexiest topic for an art blog, I try to share what I know and it needs to be adressed. So for everyone out there who’re thinking about starting a one-person business, here’s my approach to acounting:

  • I try very, very hard not to think about it.
  • As long as I know something is coming in, I can easily focus on my own projects and not worry about going broke. In my experience, worrying leads to low productivity and insomnia.
  • I don’t spend according to my income. I binge shop on Amazon sometimes, but I don’t spend more just because I make more, which means there’s usually money for low income periods. And those come frequently.
  • I have a very simple filing system consisting of two drawers. Drawer 1 is for stuff that’s tax deductable. I add it all up twice a year. Drawer 2 is for receipts I can’t argue has anything to do with my business. I hardly ever take anything out of that drawer but if my toaster breaks down, I know where the receipt is.
  • I try to keep a couple of months worth of income as a buffer. I don’t have a budget, I just try not to spend extravagantly.
  • I have no spreadsheet or excel skills. I do my accounts on a printed-out form and use a calculator. Totally old school. I print my invoices so I have it all on paper when it’s time to add and subtract.

As you can probably tell, I am by no means an expert on economy. I have such poor skills in math that my friends used to add for me when we rolled dice playing role-playing games. I would sit staring blankly at the dice while my mind was racing for the result. Several moments of uncomfortable silence later, still no result. I have gotten the lowest possible grade in math. Twice.

Yet I have been making a living as a freelance artist since 1998.

I can’t tell you if you have what it takes to go freelance. A lot of skills and a lot of luck is needed. But accounting? Hey, if this numbnut can do it…

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