Tracking Income and Expenses for Simple Self-Employment

So, you want to start your own small business, or you want to be self-employed.  But, how do you plan to track you income, expenses and mileage?  Let’s keep it simple.  First, figure out what you want to track.  I suggest starting with:

  • Date of the job
  • Income earned from the job
  • Expenses for the job
  • Mileage to and from the job

I also might want to track the customer’s contact info (if applicable), any resources used for the job, or anything else I might want to track.

  1. Track with a calendar.  I love this solution for the very small business or a business that’s just starting out.  If you don’t have a ton of work or don’t have very many clients, then tracking your income and expenses on a small calendar or day planner may be the right solution for you.  Just write in you earnings and mileage for the day in question.  Staple your receipts to the pages and you’re well on your way.
  2. Track with a spreadsheet.  If you’ve got too much going on for a calendar, but not enough to justify a full-on bookkeeping program, a spreadsheet will probably do it for you.  What you’re doing, in effect, is creating a single-entry bookkeeping system.  It’s not as robust as double-entry, but that may be overdoing it.  You can find out more about how to put together a simple system at Beginner Bookkeeping – Single Entry Bookkeeping.

Whether you’re just starting up a business or self-employment venture, bookkeeping is an integral part of your venture.  Start simple, and move up from there as the situation requires.

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