Time to set up for the new year’s record keeping.
First, a folder for 2021 Writing Finances.
Next, new spreadsheets:
- Writing Expenses*
- Used my template and updated the year.
- Transferred recurring expenses from last year’s writing expenses to the new spreadsheet.
- Entered January 1st car mileage (same as year-end mileage for 2020).
- Writing Income**
- A simple “save as” since I have a template that has my recurring payments.
Then, updated others with new tabs for 2021:
- Instructional spreadsheet where I enter student lessons.
- Google drive sheet for our online critique group schedule—we have a moderator each week and keep track of which two writers are presenting a manuscript.
These processes take an hour or two.
*The categories on Writing Expenses’ spreadsheet are:
- expense item (event, address; postage to submit manuscript, etc.)
- agent/publisher/magazine (and those extra details, if needed, such as to whom)
- mileage driven
- other car expenses (tolls or parking fees)
- advertising (website hosting, domain renewal)
- office supplies (those things you need to run a home office: paper, printer ink, etc.)
- travel (airfare, taxis, hotel)
- meals (while traveling–only a portion is deductible)
- misc (where I put conference fees)
I have a worksheet for each month with a year-end sheet that pulls the totals from each month and gives me a grand total.
**The categories on Writing Income are:
- payment from whom or what:
- book royalties
- flat fees
- magazine and online articles/stories
I have my spreadsheet set up to auto total all the amounts.
Time to double check the old year’s record keeping.
For me, I have to print out the expense and income spreadsheets to make sure that every entry has an amount (money or mileage as appropriate). I always find a few errors. Once they are all corrected, the reprinted sheets are stapled together by category so when all the other tax documents come in, we’re ready to do our taxes.
Depending how accurately I’ve kept records, this probably takes a couple hours.
I find this pre-work makes my record keeping easier and quicker.