Bookkeeping tasks for bloggers
As you get more and more into blogging you learn that there is a lot more to it than just writing something and pushing publish. It can get overwhelming until you get some sort of system down. I find it really helpful to have checklists to remind me of important tasks.
The business side of blogging is the same. There can be a lot to keep track of, so having a checklist of what to do when can help keep you from missing things.
In the early stages of blogging and making money blogging, the bookkeeping tasks are relatively straightforward. They can be done without fancy bookkeeping software or accounting software.
I personally think it is really important for anyone running a business to have hands-on experience with the tax side of their business. For one, small business owners usually aren’t in a position to have extra money on a professional bookkeeper.
But more than that the best way to be a savvy business owner is to know what is happening in every aspect of their business, at least at the basic level. The best way to get that information is to do it yourself.
Don’t worry, I can help you with what to do when. Here is a list of bookkeeping jobs you should be doing throughout the year.
Bookkeeping Tasks for Bloggers
I’ve put together this easy list of what needs to be done daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. I know, that sounds like a lot. But if you keep up with your small business bookkeeping as you go it is much easier to have everything ready when it comes time to file your income tax returns.
These are tasks to do as they come up. When you are in the beginning stages of blogging or are just starting to make money this is the bookkeeping work that needs to be done as needed or daily and involves documenting your blog financial transactions.
1. Print out any receipts for purchases made.
Save any receipts for purchases made and print out any from online purchases.
My personal preference is to have hard paper copies of everything. I think it makes it easier to organize and much faster to refer back to. And it eliminates the worry that you will lose data in the event of a computer crash. (Though having a backup of either method is a good idea.)
As such I recommend an envelope system for organizing receipts when you are just starting out. Learn and easy way to quickly organize your information here: Blog Bookkeeping Organization System
Make a purchase, print out the receipt, and pop it in the envelope. If you are audited simple credit card statements do not provide enough information to be considered proof of expense. Receipts are the best protection as they provide itemized details of your expenses.
2. Document any income earned.
Same idea here, if you make money take note of it and pop it in the monthly envelope.
Remember this is actual money that makes it into a bank account (or PayPal account). Some programs have payout thresholds you need to reach before you get an actual payment. For tax purposes, we only care about the money you have on hand.
3. Send out any invoices for sponsored work.
You don’t need fancy accounting software for this. You can create your own invoice if you like. PayPal also has an option to do this for you.
Go back over your week and make sure you have recorded all your payments and income. It sounds redundant, but it can be easy to think you will do it later and forget. So take the time to review your week.
1. Review any monthly subscriptions.
Look over any expenses you have to make sure you want to continue them. This includes schedulers, VAs, SEO tools, etc. Make sure the payments are being made as well.
2. Determine your monthly income.
Bloggers tend to have periods during the year that are more lucrative. Being aware of these times can help you maximize your income strategies. Remember that this is real money that is in your account, nothing where you are waiting to hit a payout threshold.
3. Calculate your monthly expenses.
This will help you keep a realistic view of your business expenses and make it easier to stay on budget and create future operating budgets.
4. Reconcile your business accounts.
Go over your financial statements. If you are just beginning to make money and are a sole proprietor you might only have personal accounts. That is okay. Just make sure you can account for every business expense and income transaction and have them documented with your business tracking.
5. Set aside 30% of your income for self-employment taxes.
This isn’t a requirement, and the amount is just an estimate. But I find it helpful to have already set money aside to handle this expense. If that money is just hanging out as available money to spend, you usually end up spending it.
It is much better to save and be prepared than face a tax bill without the money to pay it.
6. Follow up with any unpaid invoices.
Know your worth and make sure you get paid.
1. If needed, pay your quarterly estimates.
Wondering if this applies to you? Read this post: Self Employment Taxes for Bloggers. These are due:
- April 15 (first quarter)
- June 15 (second quarter)
- September 15 (third quarter)
- January 15 (fourth quarter)
1. Meet with your tax professional.
This is an important time to answer any questions you have about filing. I think this is a valuable step even if you prepare your taxes on your own. Any time you have a new business venture or life change to your finances it is best to get professional advisement.
This is also a great time to get guidance on your business financial goals for the next year. Your accountant can help you determine quarterly payment amounts and make sure you have a realistic operating budget.
2. File Your Taxes
This sounds like a no-brainer, but be sure to file your taxes on your blog. You can learn more about how to do just that here: How To File Your Blog Taxes
3. Analyze Your Income
Bloggers tend to have times of the year when they make more money than other times. Take the time to analyze your income. Where is it coming from and when? What worked and brought in money?
Use this information to create your financial goals for the next year and your plan to achieve them.
4. Analyze Your Expenses
What does your cash flow look like? What did you spend your money on? Take the time to look through your expenses and determine what was a valuable expense. This is a good time to take a look at yearly subscriptions and decide if you want to renew them or not.
Use this information to create an operating budget for the next year.
Run Your Blog Like a Pro
It can easy to feel overwhelmed when facing tax duties on your small business. But breaking it down into smaller chunks makes it easier to get a handle on and helps eliminate nasty surprises come tax time.