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.

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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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