I want to help you build a sustainable, profitable handmade business that makes you consistent income and sales. I only ever teach or recommend marketing, social media, pricing, production and branding tips that I’ve personally used successfully in my own 7-figure handmade businesses.
I'm Mei, from Los Angeles!
starting a business
get more traffic
running a business
make more sales
growing a business
mindset & productivity
pricing & money
selling on etsy
selling on amazon
Bookkeeping! Every creative entrepreneur’s favorite topic. One of the first steps with setting up shop is to choose and set up a bookkeeping system for your business.
It can be challenging to navigate the murky waters of options if you aren’t totally clear on what you should be looking for in a bookkeeping system.
As a maker myself AND an accountant, an ideal bookkeeping set up for makers includes the following:
Of course, bookkeeping systems aren’t one-size-fits-all. A lot depends on what type of products you sell and what your bookkeeping & tax needs are (whether you have employees, type of entity, etc.).
As an Etsy shop owner, maker, and accountant, I recently tested out and compared three popular bookkeeping options, QuickBooks, GoDaddy, and Wave, plus I created a 4th option, Paper + Spark.
Below, I summarize the results of my testing in order to help you figure out which system best fits your personal biz needs. I’ve also got a handy quick guide for you to download.
If you’re really curious, you can watch this video, during which I attempt to actually set up my Etsy shop in QuickBooks, GoDaddy, and a Paper+Spark spreadsheet and compare the resulting numbers.
The results were interesting to say the least!
QB is basically the big mama when it comes to bookkeeping software. QB has a few options covering a span of capabilities and price ranges, from QuickBooks Online Simple Start ($10/mo) to QuickBooks Desktop Pro ($200-$300). There’s also the popular QB Self-Employed, which Etsy has recently endorsed.
WaveApp, a relative newcomer on the bookkeeping scene, is growing in popularly amongst creative business owners.
GoDaddy is another popular option with Etsy sellers, and seems to be a bit more user-friendly and affordable than QB. There are currently three options, ranging from about $4/mo to $15/mo.
The biggest potential issue of QB, GoDaddy, or any system that automatically integrates data from outside sources is that people often blindly rely on the software to do the work for them. Anytime you have a robot sorting your transactions for you, bad things can happen.
It might be something as harmless as putting your postage label costs as “advertising” rather than “office expense”, or it could be double counting your Etsy sales imported directly from Etsy with your actual Etsy deposits in your bank account. Five months in, you notice your Etsy sales are totally off, and you’re left scratching your head wondering why.
At year-end, I see a lot of makers scrambling to troubleshoot why their bookkeeping system’s numbers are so different from their Etsy, PayPal, or Amazon reports. A bookkeeping system that you can’t trust to be correct is no help to you.
That being said, I definitely do not mean to imply that these systems are not worth considering. I just want you to be aware that the numbers are usually not going to be correct right “out of the box”.
No matter what system you use, you must double check the numbers and make sure everything is set up correctly.
Check that transfers between accounts aren’t being counted as revenue or expenses. Set up rules so that repeat transactions are classified correctly each time. Take the time each month to review your books and reconcile. Verify that transactions are classified correctly and the numbers make sense and match to external reports. As long as you are a diligent bookkeeper, these systems can work splendidly for you!
Just full disclosure here, these are my products! So obviously I’m a bit biased. I created these spreadsheets to address some of the issues with other methods that I’ve mentioned above.
I hope this summary helps you find a bookkeeping solution that meets your specific needs. Always remember that the best bookkeeping system is one that you keep up-to-date!
No matter what system you choose, whether it’s free or cost you $500, an unused bookkeeping system is useless.
Staying on top of your finances is a sure-fire way to grow your business, make more money, and eliminate stress and overwhelm at tax time.
Take the time to set up a bookkeeping practice that works for you and make it a consistent habit!
Janet is the founder of Paper + Spark, where she offers educational content, tools & spreadsheet templates to help makers and creative entrepreneurs become more confident about the financial side of running their business. She’s a maker, mama, numbers nerd, Etsy shop owner, and an accountant.
Her passion is to help other creative women bring their entrepreneurial dreams to life by going from confused to capable when it comes to their money.
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This workshop is for anyone who makes and sells a handmade or physical product, including jewelry designers, artists, paper designers, bath & body product makers and more!
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