In the world of personal finance, bookkeeping gets a bad reputation. It’s more like the vegetables of your diet than the Instagram worth cake that other personal finance tasks are.
It doesn’t come with a rush, like debt payoff. It’s not as powerful a feeling as calculating your net worth can be. It’s the carrots and kale on your plate, ready to make you stronger, but not nearly as demanding of your attention as anything else.
But guess what? We all need vegetables. And as many a chef has proven, you can do all sorts of delicious things with vegetables. Bookkeeping doesn’t have to be the mundane task that you dread doing each month. In fact, it’s an essential skill that I see many, many, freelancers lacking.
A Common Freelance Mistake
At Bravely, we work with a lot of people who want to start businesses but are not clear on the financial housekeeping that comes with it.
People usually start businesses because they have a passion for something outside their regular job. I know that was the case with me, when it came to freelance writing. I majored in English for a reason y’all- I love to write.
The mistake I see a lot of people make when they start changing a passion into a business is that they are not organized about it. They start creating right away, and they let the business side of their business fall to the wayside.
They spend weeks coming up with the right name, and they build up their Instagram following like that’s their full time job. And after making their first few sales and seeing money in their bank account, they think ‘hey! I’ve made it! I have a successful business that I run and love!’
Except…do they have a record of all the invoices they’ve sent? Have they kept a record of all the start up costs, and factored that into their pricing model? Are they printing monthly profit and loss forms, to understand where the money is coming from and going to in their business? Bookkeeping, for freelancers, is usually an afterthought, when it should be a front and center thought.
Over and over, I’ve seen that the answer to those questions is usually ‘no.’
Being financially unorganized is just a disservice to yourself. It hurts you, and in many cases, can cause problems with Uncle Sam when it comes to taxes. Bookkeeping (keeping a record of all transactions, creating reports on the business finances) is crucial to the success and continued growth of any business. You think Nike doesn’t keep detailed financial reports? You want Nike money, you have to do Nike bookkeeping.
Luckily, there are tools and programs out there that can help us freelancers out by doing the bookkeeping for us. You don’t have to track everything yourself in an Excel sheet. A lot of the programs are weird, or hard to understand. You literally need to take a class on Quickbooks before you can use it well, and other products can be too expensive for a new business owner or freelancer to comfortably afford. Bookkeeping for freelancers can be expensive and painful, and as such a lot of people ignore it.
As always, I strive to find tools for y’all that work, that fit your budget, and that come from reputable companies that aren’t destroying the rainforest or riddled with sexual harassment lawsuits.
I know not everyone enjoys spreadsheets as much as me, and I know that there are many people who are brilliant creators and business people who simply don’t want to spend their time doing the bookkeeping. So I’ve found a new product that does the work for y’all.
Bookkeeping Product: General Ledger
General Ledger is a brand new bookkeeping software that hits all a freelancer’s needs.
It tracks expenses and income.
It’s designed to work for a variety of freelancers, from landlords to writers.
Links to 10,000+ banks
Synchs business transactions automatically(both bank account and credit card transactions)
When you log in to General Ledger, you are welcomed to the dashboard. Here you get an overview of all the financial goings-on of your business; what money is coming in and what money is going out. You can see this info in graph form and in the hard numbers up at the top of the screen.
What I love about this, as a money nerd, is that it shows you right away if your business if profitable or not. We all want that profit, and knowing what our business earnings and business expenses are shows us how close or far from profit we are.
Your transactions are automatically recorded too, meaning each time you use your business credit card, it shows up here. You don’t need to manually log the expense.
If you click away from the dashboard over to ‘Ledger’ you’ll see a list of all your transactions. Here you can categorize everything. It’s truly an organization dream. You can pick bank account the money is in, the type of work you earned it at (let’s say you write and coach- you can pick either category here), the amount, and basically, you can drill down into every detail of how you earned that money.
Let me tell you, your accountant will love that you have this information come tax season. You can always edit your transactions, and you can even split or merge them if they’re shared with a business partner.
You can create and save filtered views of all this information too, so you don’t have to look at ALL your transactions when you really just want to see ONE client. Freelancers often work with tens of clients throughout the year, and bookkeeping history can get cluttered really quickly.
You can set up a free trial to check things out for yourself, but this is also BY FAR the most affordable bookkeeping software I’ve ever come across. The price starts at $3 a month, and for just one more dollar you can upgrade. I mean, $4 for bookkeeping software this powerful? Seriously, this product fits anyone’s budget. There’s no excuse to not sign up and get yourself organized, because at $4 this is literally less than your Netflix subscription.
General Ledger is designed for the new freelancer who is low on start up cash. It’s designed for the bootstrapping entrepreneur. It’s designed for the freelancer who is intimidated by business finances. This product is easy to use, affordable, and widely helpful for staying financially organized. General Ledger is bookkeeping for freelancers who hate to keep the books.
This post sponsored by General Ledger. All thoughts and opinions are Bravely’s own.