December 1, 2018 • Newsletter
Happy December, Folks! Here’s hoping your month is full of holiday cheer. While you are celebrating this month, here are a few extra thing to do to wrap the year up (Haha–get it? “Wrap” the year up?) on a high note.
Look Back and Celebrate.
2018 was quite a year. Give yourself permission to look back and take stock of your accomplishments this year. And then celebrate them. Whether they were creative, personal, professional, or political, 2018 included victories. Think less about the shortcomings and moments where victory eluded you, and focus instead on the wins you did have. (There will be plenty of time to keep fighting for future victories next year.)
Gather Your Financial Records.
By now you probably have eleven months of records saved and organized. (Or if not, maybe it’s time to do that?) Review them and make sure you have the business purpose noted for each transaction in some sort of system.
Then make sure each expense and income item is in a category that makes sense for your practice. You can name these categories whatever you’d like… But use consistent names from year to year. And maybe think about using Schedule C as a starting point for naming your categories?
Take the time to review and reconcile your bank statements as well. (Don’t have a separate bank account? What a wonderful think to do this month as you prepare for 2019!) Make sure you have recorded all the transactions that took place during the year, including random fees you may have been charged or interest you may have earned.
And while you’re reviewing your financial records, review your 2018 calendar as well. This can help you identify income you may have forgotten to record (cash sales at a festival, perhaps?) or expenses you may not have tracked perfectly (business mileage on your car).
Think Ahead to 2019.
As you gather this information for 2018, take a moment to think about what you’d like to do differently for 2019 when it comes to your systems. Are there programs you’d rather use to track the information you need? Would you prefer to update this information on a monthly basis? Do you need a separate business bank account? (Yes, you need a separate business bank account.) Do you need a way to track and plan your time better?
Take the time to plan your systems for 2019, including your expense system, your income system, and your time tracking system. While you’re at it, think about your customer/client/ally tracking system as well, and your inventory tracking system (if you sell tangible work).
At last year’s Financial Therapy Association conference, one of the speakers asked the question, “How can you tell if someone is healthy or not?” The answer? “Healthy people ask for help.” Ask for help with your systems and organization if you need it. And figure out what kind of help you need.
Do you need a peer to help hold you accountable with monthly meetings to record expenses? Do you need a paid system to sync with your bank account for ease of reconciling and data entry? Do you need a professional bookkeeper to support this side of your creativity? Do you need a financial counselor to help you see the financial side of your practice more effectively? Do you need a tax preparer to make sense of all of this nonsense at the end of the year?
Help can come in all sorts of forms at all sorts of price points. Find the help that makes the most sense for you, and budget for it from an expense perspective… and from a time perspective.