Should Freelance Writers or Bloggers Hire Bookkeepers or Accountants?

You don’t need to earn a full-time income from freelance writing or blogging to hire an accountant or bookkeeper! Investing in your writing career by hiring someone to do your taxes and keep your income and expenditures organized may be the best move you make this year. Here are a few ways to know if you should outsource your bookkeeping and accounting tasks or if you can remain successful on your own…

Before the tips, a quip:

“By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.” ~ Robert Frost.

I’m the boss of my writing and blogging career, I work ten (sometimes twelve) hours a day, and my least favorite part is doing my bookkeeping and administrative tasks! Luckily, my husband who doesn’t mind doing my income taxes…but I suspect the time is coming to hire a bookkeeper or even an accountant. If you’re doing your own taxes this year, click TurboTax Home & Business (great tax software). And, read on for a few signs it’s time to hire a bookkeeper for your small business…

The Difference Between a Bookkeeper and an Accountant

A small business bookkeeper doesn’t usually have a college or university degree. He or she would keep your general ledger updated, reconcile your bank and credit card transactions, process payroll data, prepare invoices, and keep your paperwork and files up to date. Bookkeepers are great for small business owners who are busy and don’t have time to keep up with the weekly or monthly financial and administrative tasks.

A small business accountant has a college or university degree, and can take your financial transactions further than a bookkeeper. He or she organizes a suitable bookkeeping system, deals with bank loans, prepares financial statements, and helps yo understand the financial impact of your past, present, and future business decisions. An accountant prepares your income and expenditures for tax time (which many bookkeepers don’t do), and helps with more complicated income tax matters, such as reporting periods and tax compliance reports.

Some freelance writers and bloggers hire a bookkeeper and/or accountant on a contract basis. Others can afford to keep those financial whizzes on the payroll permanently — a dream come true for an aspiring writer and blogger like me.

4 Signs It’s Time to Hire a Bookkeeper for Your Writing or Blogging Business

Whether or not you hire someone to keep your books, make sure you read Income Tax Tips for Freelancers, Bloggers, and Web Writers. It’s never too early to start thinking about your taxes!

1. You dislike paperwork, and can’t keep your office organized. Are you aware of all the bookkeeping tips for small businesses, but still can’t keep your paperwork organized?  Maybe it’s worth it to hire a bookkeeper to help you out once a month by taking care of those piddly financial and record-keeping tasks that are important.

2. You don’t have time to file or keep your books updated. Now that I’m earning money as a blogger and enjoying several different sources of advertising revenue, I’m learning that keeping track of my payments owed can be time-consuming. Most of the organizations I’m affiliated with are very good about paying promptly, but there are a couple that I really have to keep tabs on. I’ll know it’s time to hire a bookkeeper (or even an online assistant) when I just can’t keep up with those affiliate programs.

3. You want to pay less income tax and explore all the loopholes. My husband does a great job on my taxes every year, but my income and expenditures are getting more complicated all the time. I may consider hiring an account this year, to make sure I’m writing off all I can (to reduce my taxable income) and taking advantage of as many small business tax benefits as I can.

4. You have questions about earning a living as a blogger or writer. A fellow scribe asked a great question on my bookkeeping tips for writers article: “Do you need to declare your PayPal income even if you don’t transfer that money to your bank account?” (Answer: yes!). Another great question for Canadian freelancers is, “Do I need to charge GST when I write for magazines?” (Answer: not if you earn less than $30,000 per year from Canadian sources). If you have questions about bookkeeping for a freelance writing business, then you might consider hiring a professional accountant or bookkeeper.

Hiring a bookkeeper is similar to hiring a webmaster for your blog – it’s a financial investment in your writing career that saves time and energy, gives you peace of mind, and helps grow your business.

Do you have an accountant or bookkeeper…or would you hire one if you could afford it?

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9 thoughts on “Should Freelance Writers or Bloggers Hire Bookkeepers or Accountants?”

  1. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    I haven’t hired a bookkeeper or accountant yet, but I’ll have to one of these days. Especially for my taxes, which seem to get more complicated every year!

  2. I run a bookkeeping bureau and have to say I absolutely adore our “creative” clients. They are smart people, funny, and their businesses are fascinating.

    Without a doubt the management style we use with our beloved creative is to make everything as easy as possible.

    As they mostly use Mac computers, we essentially encourage them to use an online software package and the most preferred is

    We understand that how an invoice looks can be paramount to our relationship so we work hard with them to “get the look”!

    We automate all of the bank information by using bank feeds (Xero wears the cost of this) and the clear well designed dashboard brings a collective sigh of relief from our busy clientele.

    We also do the day to day “unsexy business” like follow-up your outstanding accounts receivable invoices, reconcile your accounts, lodge your BAS and think outside the square in relation to per diems, potential government funding and allowable tax deductions.

    It leaves you to invest in your own business and produce the stuff we all love to read/listen to/look at/ watch etc.

    Wendy Field

  3. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Thanks, Zara…I think investing in your writing career is one of the smartest things a writer can do. Thanks for your vote of confidence!

  4. Zara@Basic Bookkeeping

    I admit that all of the small business bookkeepers or accountant Investing in your writing career by hiring someone to do your taxes and keep your income and expenditures organized may be the best move you make this year.
    Thanks 🙂

  5. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    I think that outsourcing or hiring professionals to do work that we writers can’t or don’t have time to do is the best way to build a successful freelance writing business!

    The trick is finding the right help, and figuring out how to work together. That can take time, and trial-and-error…but it’s worth it.

    Good luck if you decide to hire a bookkeeper or accountant, Christina — let me know how it goes!

    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post ..Starting a Magazine Writing Career – How to Make Money as a Freelancer =-.

  6. Thanks for for providing the signs, I really should be getting professional help. I must admit that I’m not that good in bookkeeping plus I don’t have the time to do it.
    .-= Christina´s last blog post ..The Dollar & Gold – What’s Next? =-.

  7. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Allena, thanks for offering up your husband’s services as an accountant! That’s great for you as a freelance writer, to be married to a money expert 🙂

    Thursday, I agree that an accountant is more useful for freelance writers — especially when it comes to income tax time. I think hiring personal assistant (virtual or otherwise) might be an effective way to get your basic bookkeeping tasks done. I’d LOVE a personal assistant to help clean up my blog posts!

    See you in cyberspace,
    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post ..5 Ideas for Earning Money Writing – Tips From Experienced Writers =-.

  8. Personally, I adore my CPA. I’m fine with doing the week to week bookkeeping myself, but the thought of even trying to tackle my taxes makes be break out in hives at this point — they’re just too complex.

    Eventually, I’d like to bring in a bookkeeper as well, but I see a CPA as a more useful resource currently.
    .-= Thursday Bram´s last blog post ..Ask Me Anything: First Steps and Contracts =-.

  9. My husband has a degree in accounting and is an accountant for a public school system- even though he doesn’t have his CPA! He does my taxes for me, and, actually, he offers the service from Feb-April, if anyone is interested. He’s obviously quite adept at doing it for freelance writers! He’s done mine for years.