“I gotta say, I kinda rock at accounting. Hard to believe but I actually like it.”
The scary thing is that I totally understood what this person was saying. Okay, I didn’t exactly love accounting in school (especially a certain teacher who will not be named) but I did like the precision of calculating financials.
That said… accounting has become one more thing to add to my already overly long to-do list as an author. The business of being an author goes soooo much farther than simply writing and editing. This is only the tip of the iceberg. Just like any small business there is the financial end of the business to consider.
As any author will tell you, money begins flowing out long before it ever flows in. First there might be classes you take to improve your craft. As well, every writer should belong to an appropriate writing organization. I belong to three – Romance Writers of America, Rose City Romance Writers, (a chapter of RWA, but paid for separately) and Willamette Writers. Next there are conferences you attend to network, pitch your work and again improve your
writing skills. These can set you back hundreds of dollars. And finally there is the cost of marketing yourself and your writing; website costs, business cards, material to give away (like bookmarks), book trailers, author photos… the list goes on and on.
The good news is that, if you can prove you are actively engaged in the business of writing, not simply doing it as a hobby, many costs are tax deductible (okay, here is where I write the disclaimer that much as I like accounting I am not actually an accountant and you should check with one before writing off any expenses!)
The bad news is that unlike when you work for a company or as an independent consultant, there is no one else picking up these costs for you. Because of this, writers should always track their expenses and then create, even in the simplest way, a cash flow statement (with income and expenses) as well as a balance sheet with assets (ex. your books, $ sent aside for marketing, your computer) liabilities (the contracts you have for your books, taxes owed,
credit card debt owed) and equity (the amount you, as an author, are worth = assets-liabilities). Overwhelmed? Read more here: http://www.moneyinstructor.com/lesson/linkincomebal.asp
Tracking your financials in this way helps you to better understand both how to spend/invest your hard earned money and also makes you appreciate and not take for granted the very important assets that often get overlooked by everyone, including spouses… your talent and your creative imagination.
Thankfully these are the very things which save you from being an accountant in your day-job.
“Why can’t Obama be more like Clinton?”
Seeing as how this was coming from my very conservative father, it piqued my interest. It turns out he was comparing their positions on helping small business. It took me a couple of days to go in and do my own research on this but here is what I found:
-Sept. 2010, CNN reported: President Barack Obama signed into law a $42 billion bill to aid small businesses Monday, saying it would create jobs by providing tax credits and helping banks increase loans.
-Feb. 2012, CNN Money reported: The government program, one of President Obama's many attempts to
pump capital into small firms, disbursed only $4 billion of the $30 billion it was allotted. The original bill, in Feb. 2012 was designed to help small businesses acquire much needed financing . Unfortunately, as one journalist points out there were two problems: small banks were using it to clear their balance sheets instead of lending it out; and small businesses weren’t convinced that demand would support expansion.
-Jan. 2012, The Business Review reported: President Barack Obama’s proposal to consolidate government programs for business into one agency could make it easier for small businesses to find the information and resources they
need. They also pointed out it could dilute small business’ voice… but in the near-term this is avoided, because Obama elevated the SBA administrator’s post to a Cabinet-level position... Something it hasn’t been since Clinton’s administration.
To be fair, there are many very real reasons why small businesses favor Romney in the election. But comparisons of Romney to Clinton seem simplified, like reading a picture book version of Anna Karenina rather than Tolstoy’s original. This seems to me to be exactly what media would like us to do; ignore the difficult details and accept instead a snap-shot as handed to us by whatever partisan group has the money to spend.
I have mentioned before that I have a penchant for wearing rose colored, historical glasses. Now I see that I may
have inherited this from my father, who with the distance of time (and a lack of negative ads) has finally begun to acknowledge some of the positive things Clinton accomplished.
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