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Question for freelancers - how do you manage your acocunting and taxes?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: April 14, 2006 09:47AM
I'm self employed. I'm doing my taxes and realizing that I shouldn't let everything pile up for the year and then sort it out. What do you use for accounting? My needs are very simple. In particular, I just want a system to track expenses as my invoicing is very simple. I know that quickbooks is popular but it looks much more complex than i need.

I probably should have an accountant but i simply don't make enough money to justify it.



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Re: Question for freelancers - how do you manage your acocunting and taxes?
Posted by: spearmint
Date: April 14, 2006 10:08AM
Would Quicken work? Also you probably do not need an accountant, I had a part time bookkeeper for 15 years and she made taxes an 15 minute experience. Everything was ready to fill in the books. She had been employed as a bookkeeper for 10 years in a company and went freelance.

Bookkeeping services I am not familar with but should be more convenient and cheaper than accountants. Accountants are for serious advice. Look in the yellow pages.

Cash is good also.




Da Good Life
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Re: Question for freelancers - how do you manage your acocunting and taxes?
Posted by: AlphaDog
Date: April 14, 2006 10:11AM
Do you have Excel? I kept the books for our business, and I found that it worked just fine. Ours was an S Corp, so there were several specific categories that I had to track. I just set up a spreadsheet and recorded expenses, putting each amount into a named column. For us, that meant expenses for Cost of Goods Sold, Employment Taxes, Equipment, Maintenance/Repair, Insurance, etc. It looked kind of like a check register. It's having the self discipline to sit down on a regular basis and enter the information that's the hardest; I did it once a week. At the end of the year, all I had to do was use the column totals. I could never justify Quickbooks, either. Now, while you're doing your taxes, would be a good time to identify the basic categories you need to track, then just start. sad smiley
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Re: Question for freelancers - how do you manage your acocunting and taxes?
Posted by: Don Kiyoti
Date: April 14, 2006 10:16AM
As much as I loathe Excel, I use it to keep track of all my expenses and savings. One worksheet for checking and the other for savings which includes money set aside for taxes. I have a folder set aside for receipts of all things tax deductible.

I keep a record of all my invoicing in Filemaker.

You make quarterly estimated tax payments, yes?





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Re: Question for freelancers - how do you manage your acocunting and taxes?
Posted by: spearmint
Date: April 14, 2006 10:23AM
I quit making quarterly tax payments long time ago. My business is hit or miss in zero or lots of income over the months and trying to predict is impossible. The penalty is not that excessive for the amount of money I make.




Da Good Life
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Re: Question for freelancers - how do you manage your acocunting and taxes?
Posted by: Fritz
Date: April 14, 2006 10:30AM
Quicken has worked for me for years, even if they are evil. The reports work and I hand off to my acct.



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Re: Question for freelancers - how do you manage your acocunting and taxes?
Posted by: blooz
Date: April 14, 2006 11:18AM
Time Cache from Pandaware is a good way yo keep track of expenses and time for each project you do. [www.pandaware.com]

I just print out my invoices and tote them up, and hand the results to my accountant ($150 to do taxes 0nce a year).



And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.
—Friedrich Nietzsche
Western Massachusetts
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Re: Question for freelancers - how do you manage your acocunting and taxes?
Posted by: ztirffritz
Date: April 14, 2006 11:24AM
What taxes?



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Re: Question for freelancers - how do you manage your acocunting and taxes?
Posted by: lemmingboy
Date: April 14, 2006 11:43AM
I tried various programs and found that an accountant was cheaper and easier.

My accountant charges $200 to do taxes. All I do is give him receipts and totals. So it takes me a full day to separate and add up receipts I've been putting in a box all year.

I used to do my own taxes using TurboTax, but when we had the baby and I started getting most of my invoice on 1099s instead of W-2s I just didn't know enough.

I figure the accountant probably saves me $2000 a year in a combination of saving me time on doing the taxes and in knowing deductions I can take but would never think of. I spend less than an hour in the accountant's office.

I'll never do my own taxes again.

-Shawn
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Re: Question for freelancers - how do you manage your acocunting and taxes?
Posted by: Seacrest
Date: April 14, 2006 11:59AM
acocunting_baws





I am not Ryan Seacrest, and I do not approve this message.
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Re: Question for freelancers - how do you manage your acocunting and taxes?
Posted by: Effin Haole
Date: April 14, 2006 12:03PM
I keep records in Excel, then hand off to my accountant.

I do a weekly, sometimes monthly reconciliation of receipts and such.

Waiting until the end of the year to go through it is a PITA.



Strength without compassion is brutality. Compassion without strength is weakness.

We must train our minds to desire what the situation demands.
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Re: Question for freelancers - how do you manage your acocunting and taxes?
Posted by: jdc
Date: April 14, 2006 02:39PM
totally with lemming

find an accountant -- even for my studio (2.5 employees + me) i never get charged more than $400 for my guy to do my taxes

plus he knows all the good write offs --

you are aware you can write off your office space in your house, right? well you can also write off 1/2 the squre footage from the front door to you office, the bathroom and even food, cleaning supplies, electricity, etc -- but you need to have someone who knows what they are doing
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Re: Question for freelancers - how do you manage your acocunting and taxes?
Posted by: Mike Sellers
Date: April 14, 2006 05:07PM
I'm a rebel. I keep AppleWorks spreadsheets.
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Re: Question for freelancers - how do you manage your acocunting and taxes?
Posted by: Racer X
Date: April 14, 2006 05:46PM
I use an accountant as well. I keep a folder of all paperwork for deductions throughout the year, and at tax time i gather all my various utility related bills (home office deduction) my mileage log, and whatnot, and hand it all over to her.

If there is ever an audit, SHE will handle it for me. And her services are a deduction in and of themself anyway.

She will spend a few extra hours scrounging and running the numbers several different ways to get me the highest deductions possible. She pointed out some strategies that have cut my taxes by thousands.

She is worth every penny of the $300 or so for the business, and the personal taxes. Like I said, she takes some extra time, but that nets me far more in deductions and tax savings, so i let her just go to town.
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Re: Question for freelancers - how do you manage your acocunting and taxes?
Posted by: Dennis S
Date: April 14, 2006 08:00PM
I tried it by myself and endied up having to get an accountant to bail me out. After seeing how he did it, I am now able to emulate what he was doing.

A Works spreadsheet does everything I need.
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keep receipts, spreadsheets, and accounting...
Posted by: endymion
Date: April 15, 2006 09:58PM
I used to use AppleWorks and do my own taxes. I switched to OpenOffice for my recordkeeping a while back, but saving into excel worksheet format since that's ubiquitous.

Then I got married and got an accountant, incorporated to protect the family assets. Now I keep all my records in the Finder, I just have different folders for items and I create new subfolders for different items. E.g. Travel, Office, and Equipment expense categories; if I buy a new torx to take apart my iBook, I'll list that in Equipment as "04-14,torx 6,$12.99" - this way I can easily make a comma separated text file to process with OpenOffice or any other spreadsheet app.

Now that I've watched my accountant do this for a couple years and caught him in a couple of mistakes (he had a different client's tax id number on a document to be submitted to the state; his software defaulted to a different kind of depreciation for my automobile...) I'm thinking that next year I'll probably go back to doing my own taxes. He charges me $300 a year.

g=
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