Thursday, September 18, 2008

On being a one-woman small business

Should you have ambitions to become a one-person small business, allow me to offer the following advice:

* Do not, ever, underestimate the amount of time it will take you to keep track of the money.

* If as in my case the money is coming in in oft-tiny amounts from a rich diversity of ever-changing sources, multiply that estimate by six.

* You will have to invoice almost everyone. Almost everyone will require you to invoice them in a particular format and all the formats will be different.

* Even if you continue to have an income stream from the same source over a period of time, the source will change its name regularly. Checking every time you have an invoice to send that you have in fact made it out to the correct body under the correct name will save you even more wasted time later.

* Keep all your sent invoices in one place. Make backups/copies and keep them all together in a different place.

* You will find that you need to cross-reference and cross-check your own invoices with your bank statements and match both to your tax records. Don't forget that some employers are into electronic banking, others not so much, so you can't rely on just the one set of records.

* The financial year in which you get even remotely sloppy about income and expenditure will be the financial year in which you get audited. Do not, however, think that keeping good records will necessarily save you from this. My paternal grandfather, a wheat and sheep farmer, was once investigated by the taxation people because his records were too good to be true. Investigation revealed there was no fudging, just perfect record-keeping. My grandfather was a Virgo.

* Being a Virgo helps a lot, as indeed does being a Taurus. The rest of you should get help.


Ampersand Duck said...

being neither a Virgo nor a Taurus, I have just managed to find a bookkeeper who specialises in artistic fiscal mismanagement. She will complete me, if she doesn't run screaming at the first session.

Tim said...

I'm a Libran which apparently means I hate filling out forms and will put stuff off for as long as possible. So yes, I need help.

Incidentally, next time I'm feeling down I'm going to head straight to Wiki to read the list of Libran traits. I never realised I was so freakin awesome.

lucy tartan said...

I'm quite pleased with the Sagittarian stuff. Which are the star signs with horrible personalities?

The one year I was self-employed was a total disaster in terms of bookkeeping. Like the wiki says, "does not like being bothered with small details".

Pavlov's Cat said...

Saggs are cool.

Nobody is 'bad', although we Taureans are supposed to combine hopelessly conventional stodge with psychotic bad temper. Capricorns are supposed to be ambitious, acquisitive and humourless; I have seen Arians tactfully described as 'the children of the Zodiac'; Cancerians can be savagely moody; Virgoans are critical and picky; Pisceans are capable of flaking right out; and I once read a joke run-through of the signs and their characteristics that said 'most Scorpios are murdered.'

Anonymous said...

On being a one-woman small business?

Seemed so very Taurean!

Cancers, and the like - or those who feel like like - it's a whole new world:

* every day you wake up, you wake up unemployed.

* no one will employ you today, you have to employ yourself.

* business in the morning, creativity in the afternoon.

* the above doesn't work when laid out this way... should flow with feeling.

* at least you (Cancerian) tried.

Best, Robert.

..and warmth for the new place.

ps * No empathetic sentiment for floorboards which may certainly one day creak, imaginatively, nor for windows to not quite open, or so easily; or the cobwebs which may grow, in the old place!, PC.

Anonymous said...

I find I am quite good at managing a large budget and approving expenditure in my current temping gig (PA: person who does the stuff the manager finds boring) which is quite novel. I have recently sent my personal financial records to an accountant to do my tax returns for the last two years.

My Libran self-employed partner is still telling me he has to double check his spreadsheet to make sure the accountant will understand it. Obviously as a Gemini I wish he would let it be imperfect and move onto the next more interesting thing.

Bernice said...

"flaking right out" ??? excuse me!!! hah - during one of my stranger moments of PAYE employment, I had to do all the accounting for the section in a statutory body which I managed (it was a lot less glamorous than it sounds - trust me). I passed government audit. I was the only section who did. "flaking right out..."

Though I agree with all of your points - I want a bookkeeper like &duck. Instead of me taking a week's holiday to sit weeping on the floor surrounded by receipts & invoices I can't understand...

Helen said...

It's FINDING all the receipts and such that's the problem, I find. AND I'm a Taurean. I think I'm beyond help. I still have to do my tax and I'm only PAYE this year.

By some coincidence I have had many sagg friends and my Girlchild is one - so I have a particular soft spot for them.

Pavlov's Cat said...

I too am fond of Saggs, and of fire signs in general. My two best Adelaide gfs are both Saggs and ditto Melbourne are both Aries. My life has also been overpopulated with Scorps -- the first two weeks of November in my ancient birthday book have at least one entry on every page, more usually two or three. And even these days, the very sight of a Cancerian man has me hiding behind the nearest tree, gibbering.

There are definitely patterns.