How do you keep track of your business expenses or manage accounting?
Track everything with cards + apps
I use a certain credit card for the art things. I also use Mint and Stash too. They’re simple enough that an artist doesn’t need to dedicate a significant portion of their life to figuring them out.
I think artists have a very unique stress that has to do with this conflict of making money and doing what you love. If you can just get on top of finances with some simple apps, it will really help ease your mind when you’re making work. I’ve got everything being tracked and I can see how I’m doing.
Have a billing system + stay organized
Lindz: A common thing for artists who come in for prints is they don’t have a business account set up — they’re just running it through their own individual name and don’t have a tax ID number. We always recommend that if you are trying to do this full time, have some sort of billing system set up. It makes it easier for us if we’re trying to pay you for a job.
Lindz: QuickBooks. I think it’s a game-changer.
Squarespace I think has the best ecommerce. I even got Detour to switch maybe a year ago. Squarespace’s ecommerce has made things a dream. I taught myself over the last year how to build websites on Squarespace and I feel like if I can do it coming out of the financial world, anyone can build a website.
I use Excel a lot. I use spreadsheets to keep track of every single client who orders prints from us. When we send out our price sheets at the beginning of the year I have that client list to rely on. When we do print releases for artists, I track every purchase and contact info for the artist as well.
Jon: I’ve always tried my best to get everything up here [points to his head] to paper.
Lindz: And then when he does that, I take his scratches of paper and type that up into a log to keep them organized on the back end. I also keep track of what I call a COI, which is a Center Of Influence. A COI is a person who might be great at giving referrals or connecting you with people.
I have a CPA, which is huge. That is one of the best decisions I ever made, was not dealing with the taxes and the money side of things. Letting somebody who understands that through and through do that for me.
I hired him probably after the first year or year and a half. I was doing everything via Excel and that is just a nightmare. It was so bad.
I think ultimately it’s around $1,000 a year that I pay him and he does my payroll, he checks my bank accounts versus my QuickBooks to be sure everything is set, clean and good. It’s just so much time and stress relieved. So he was a no-brainer.