Running a blog is fun and creative, and it’s so easy to set up these days that just about anyone can get started. If you’re running a blog as a business venture, however, a whole new level of responsibility opens up. Bookkeeping is one of the most important aspects of being in business, so here are the basics you need to know.
Open a Business Bank Account
Keeping business money separate from personal money is important for two
● It makes bookkeeping easier, since all the transactions in your business account relate only to your blogging business.
● It’s faster to update your business records because you’re not wading through personal expenses.
There’s a third reason too: if and when you decide to use professional accounting services such as an accountant or bookkeeper, they will have access to your personal finances if you use your everyday bank account for your business records.
As a business blogger, you should register as self-employed with HMRC and file a tax return each year whether you make a profit or not, and whether you hit the tax threshold or not. A business account simplifies the process. Most banks will give you a year or more of charge-free banking, so in the beginning, it won’t cost you any extra.
Save and File Receipts
Receipts (for both purchases and sales) and invoices are the backbone of your financial paper trail. They are the records you must keep to prove you have made and spent what you are claiming.
These days you don’t have to keep all paper receipts as HMRC will accept digital copies. Scan or photograph paper receipts and log them safely in an appropriately named file either on your computer, in the cloud, or backed up to an external drive. An external backup is a good idea however else you store them.
Keep Bookkeeping Simple
Simple systems work best for small businesses. You could use a notebook, a ledger from a High Street stationer, an Excel spreadsheet or an online accounting package such as Quickbooks or FreeAgent. There are many more online accounting services that help sole traders keep simple books. Avoid anything complicated that expects you to have records for VAT or Payroll. If you don’t need it, there’s no reason to complicate matters.
Get Some Professional Help
When your blog gets busy and demands more of your time, you may benefit from some professional help with keeping your books up-to-date. Bookkeepers will work with you on a part time basis, offering as many or few hours as you need each month. A big advantage in using a professional bookkeeping service is that you know your books are accountant-ready at the end of the tax year.
To start, you may decide to take care of your own tax return. However, an accountant also has the experience to offer business advice if they see areas where you could use money more efficiently, or do things differently, so there are advantages there too.
They’ll also make sure you’re claiming all your allowances, not paying too much tax, and you’ll avoid penalties for late submission. Turning your blog into a business is a logical next step for many bloggers.
Organise your bookkeeping into a simple system that’s easy to update, and blogging is probably one of the most fun and rewarding ways to be in business today.
This is a collaborative post.