#285–Numbers, numbers, and more numbers . . .

I’m a word person––not a numbers person. That’s why the end of every quarter is a frustration because I have to put together my financial report for the quarter as well as the expense report for the quarter for my business. And the end of the year is even worse. Added to those other reports is the Annual Report for my business.

My five books on display at Backstreet Gallery.

My business is writing and selling books, and now cards, and editing other author’s books. I’m a one-woman show (aka sole proprietor). I do the writing, marketing, and delivery/shipping (aka fulfillment). I also do the bookkeeping, which is not my strong point.

The only reason I can handle the bookkeeping for my business is because my tax accountant, Steve Tollett, spent a lot of time explaining the why behind everything and the how to do it. I am forever grateful to him.   

The key to dealing with all these numbers successfully is saving receipts and invoices and keeping good records, which I do reasonably well. Not only is this good for all business purposes, but also for income taxes. I have one container to keep all income tax records, an accordion folder for business receipts, and I keep a daily log of my activities. So, every trip I take anywhere in my car is recorded.

My cards were such a delight to create during the lockdown last spring.

That way, I can figure my mileage for my business every quarter and figure volunteer and medical miles once a year for income taxes. I itemize to take advantage of every deduction. On December 31, I try to jot down my speedometer mileage, so I can figure my business mileage for the year. But I never remember to do the inventory of my books and cards at that time. I only remember when I’m preparing for my income taxes.

So, this afternoon, I’ll be in the garage counting all my books and cards. I’ve already counted the ones in the house and at Backstreet Gallery. Books that are sold in 2020, I don’t have to count––just account for. And I’m supposed to keep track of any books and cards given away as donations or gifts. AARRGGHH!

This week I’m totally surrounded by numbers. This past Monday, I did the Annual Report for my business––all two pages of it, and next week, I’ll do my financial report for the quarter and quarterly expense report. Between those, I’m doing my tax prep for the income taxes. Dealing with all these numbers is driving me nuts.

When I finished with my Annual Report, I had the hard data to backup what I already knew. My book writing/selling and editing business was down by 87% in 2020. Of the 50 to 60 places that order my books, only three did last year. I did zero PowerPoint presentations and participated in zero book fairs because of the mandate against large gatherings. And I chose not to participate in the Yachats Farmers Market. The restrictions there would’ve made it very hard to sell books. And I had no editing projects in 2020.

Fortunately, things are looking up this year. I’ve already edited two novels and there are more possibilities on the horizon. And I’ve had three books orders placed recently. I’ll send out reminders to all the other venues as soon as I dig out from all these numbers.

Sir Groucho, my helper in nearly everything I try to do in the house. And here he is supervising my tax prep.

Since Tuesday, I’ve been making my way through the income tax prep stuff. So far, I’ve got all the rental info ready to go. The accountant will figure the percentages to be applied.

Now, I’m marking down my personal into–sources of income and all the deductions, etc.

I leave the business part, which I consider the most difficult, to last. After the inventory, I can finish figuring my cost basis. Doesn’t that sound like fun? I hope to finish the business portion tomorrow.

I’ll be having someone different do my taxes this year because Steve, who’s been doing them for about 15 years, is retiring. I’ll be seeing someone he recommended. I gave him a call in February, and he wanted to see my 2019 return. So, I loaned it to him and will be meeting with him soon.

After my end of quarter reports due next week, I’ll be able to get back to my new book. I have only a few segments left to do. Best of all, I’ll be dealing with words! I can hardly wait!

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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