The following post is an excerpt from my new e-Book series, How to Become an e-Learning Freelancer. The three volumes in the series are designed to be easy-to-use, practical guides to getting your freelance e-Learning career off the ground. Learn more here!
When I first started freelancing, I did all of my financial record-keeping myself. Although I wasn’t making a ton of money, I had a system for tracking invoices, expenses, and payments myself—I kept manila folders for each, and I would spend hours reviewing each on a monthly and quarterly basis. I convinced myself that this was the most efficient way of doing things, because I didn’t want to spend money on a financial professional, and I was confident in my abilities.
What I didn’t count on, however, was how much time it took to track my own finances, and how difficult (and boring) it was to spend time making sure that I was preparing my taxes accurately. Eventually, I hired a Bookkeeper and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and despite that adding to my expenses, I learned through experience that I am better off financially when I work with money experts to handle my business accounts.
The Case for Hiring an Accountant or Bookkeeper
It took me some time to mentally adjust to the idea of hiring a financial professional. My business was in its infancy, I didn’t have a lot of money coming in, and I was proud of myself for how organized I had become. But over time, a few things occurred to me:
- I found myself spending inordinate amounts of time dealing with my financial records. I needed to be spending more time on growing my business—marketing myself, finding new clients, developing my portfolio—and I was losing precious hours each week keeping track of my money.
- I hated working on financial tasks, like many creative professionals do. The more time I spent staring at spreadsheets and calculating totals, the more I found myself missing the creative work I had set out to do in the first place.
- I couldn’t shake the feeling that my limited understanding of tax laws—and yearly updates to those laws—was holding me back. Was I counting all of the right expenses? Was I ignoring new laws that could potentially land me in legal trouble?
The more I reflected, the more I came to the conclusion that I needed to find a professional—and once I did, the only question I had left was, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”
[This topic continues in my e-Book series, How to Become an e-Learning Freelancer.]