Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Four tips for freelancers struggling to manage their accounts

As a freelance writer I resented doing my accounts, I got into writing to avoid numbers.

I perpetually put it off. Foolishly, in retrospect. Tax return time was an amalgamation of calculations, frantic form filling and debilitating stress.

Ironically though I now work in-house for an online accountancy firm - writing not handling peoples accounts you’ll be relieved to know - so I’m now a little savvier when it comes to managing money.

So, if like the old me you too are a little poor with your accounting lore, here’s a few tips that might help...

Get a grip of the tax facts

Tax can be taxing. There’s a lot of jargon involved and to make matters worse legislation is changing constantly, making it a struggle to keep track of. Frankly, you need all the help you can get.

This is where the IRS's online webinars and tax workshops can help. These can help clarify what you as a freelancers need to pay and when you’ll need to pay it by, potentially helping you to avoid any penalties.

Yes the IRS might have made things confusing in the first place, but at least they’re taking steps to clear things up a bit.

Integrate accounting into your routine

Accounting aficionados aside, for the majority of us sorting through our finances can prove a dull bureaucratic nightmare.

As my woes reflect though, the longer you put it off, the worse it’ll be later on. It’s therefore wise to put a little time aside for some bookkeeping every day or at the minimum once or twice a week. Do this, and you might keep some of the stress at bay.

Put your paperwork in order

Establishing a sophisticated system for your all your paperwork is integral to getting a better grip on your finances. Disorganisation on this front can often leave you struggling to find that important document when you need it most.

With this in mind then develop some sort of system, with different sections for invoices, bank statements and all the other facets of your finances. Some financial grief might then be spared come tax return time.

Embrace techy accountancy

Finally, it’s worthwhile perusing over some of the accountancy apps and software currently available, as there’s a lot that can make financial management easier.

Apps like Pageonce offer a platform to keep track of all your ingoings and outgoings whilst the online accountancy market continues to grow, offering a neat and tidy place to keep all your accounting affairs online.

See what you need help with and explore the app store. Chances are that with over a million apps in there you’ll find something!

About the Author

A former freelance writer, Mark James currently works in-house for small business accountants Crunch. You can find him contributing regularly to Freelance Advisor and a range of soccer and music sites, two of his passions outside of work.

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