Tax time will now be made easy for any artist, crafter, or anyone that makes handmade goods. This is a huge breakthrough in accounting by none other than Timothy Adam, creator of Handmadeology, (The Science of Handmade) website.
Tim says, “When it comes to bookkeeping, we’ve heard the requests of our community, and developed a one product solution to all of the handmade community’s bookkeeping needs that is specifically designed for the handmade artist and is very affordable.”
This metal artist turned online networking expert (who also sells on Etsy ) has been encouraging handmade artists to unite and promote one another. One of the questions the community was commonly asking Tim, was how to easily organize their expenses and revenues for tax time.
“There is really nothing out there on the market comparable to this, because normal tax accounting software does not have these specialized categories “, explains Heather Lewis, of Mattie Reid Designs.
Tim felt the same needs of the community, and being a handmade artist, developed the software. He says, “In many ways, it rivals QuickBooks, but cuts out the nonsense, complexity, and higher costs. This system has also had developmental input from a CPA that is a small business expert and has “audited” the functionality and reporting—you know you are getting a product you can rely on. “
The Handmade Bookkeeping Spreadsheet allows you to track data including: raw materials, finished inventory, monthly sales and expenses, marketing data, cash, banking, or PayPal accounts, IRS mileage, sales tax, bill tracking, Cost of Goods Sold Calculator, contacts, and social media statistics. This is just a few highlights.
The data entry is user friendly and easy to understand. The reporting is created automatically! You can choose from 30-some monthly graphical reports or 150-some yearly reports. Let’s just say this is fun to play with and has many options, customizable to your own needs and logo/design. The best part in my opinion is the fact that you can customize your books to your needs via a custom set up function. Not all artisans have the same expenses, so you can tailor the program to fit your needs. Not to mention I love playing around with the colors.
Tim explains, “Since this bookkeeping system is based in spreadsheet form (Microsoft Excel), it is also fully customizable to cover any unique needs of your business – you can also manually change the colors to match your business brand or add your logo for a personalized touch. If you are overwhelmed about the bookkeeping responsibility of your handmade business—don’t sweat it! There are detailed instructions as well as bookkeeping hints and reminders specific to each transaction throughout the tool.”
Here are some other key points what I verified during product review, I’m rating them from one to ten, ten being the best:
Compatibility (10): This product can be used with a PC or a MAC if Microsoft Excel or Open Office is installed. Instructions are easy to understand and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist.
Navigation /Set Up / East of Use (10) : It’s easy to input and choose reports accordingly. You don’t have to know a thing about spreadsheets to use this because the software navigates like the web. There are what Tim calls, “Visual numerical stories” which are graphs that make financial trends, warning signs, and success easy to recognize for your business. I particularly like the idea of entering data and importing it via a CSV file (comma separated files, these are an option for the Etsy seller), and letting the software do the rest. One may need to “copy and paste” key information, import or, choose from drop down menus, but some sections are automatically updated when you complete other areas. Tim did indicate that the goal was to make bookkeeping easy, so an artist could focus on the business side of selling and not the paperwork side. A little data entry and this turns into a huge time saver.
Micro-Tracking (10+): I find this amazing that a jewelry seller can easily track their beads and raw supplies to get organized. You can now micro-manage your business in a quick and easy way. This is important when dealing with costs and profits.
Tax Information / Security (10): The (COGS) Cost of Goods Sold functionality which makes filing a Schedule C easy. Tim had a CPA review the software before selling it. Since you are using your own program essentially, you aren’t on a third party site nor do you have to trust your data or personal information with any other sources.
Multiple Etsy Shops / Selling in Other Venues (10+): No worries if you sell on Etsy and have more than one shop. A supply shop and handmade shop can still work perfectly. If you sell on Etsy and elsewhere, it still works. If you aren’t even an Etsy seller, this program still works. One can choose to import files or do data entry, either way this is a huge time saver. You have two options with this software. You may choose to combine all your selling venues in one which you then could have total expenses and total profits shown for simplicity, but still see the unique source or stream of where the revenue came from. The second option is to simply “separate” your selling venues and keep multiple versions of the spreadsheet (one for the shop, one for the craft show, one for Zibbet, one for Artfire, one for Dawanda….) I have to say I am truly amazed.
Cost (10): This is very affordable, and you only have to buy once and use the same program year after year (no annual fees or costly upgrades like some online bookkeeping systems). The Handmade Bookkeeping Spreadsheet ranges in price based on the bundle you choose. I chose to review the Savings Package priced at $56. This package includes the Bookkeeping Spreadsheet, Bookkeeping Tips – FAQs – and Know-How , and Handmade Bookkeeping Spreadsheet Cheat Sheet. Quickbooks is priced anywhere from four to five times the cost of Tim’s software and does not come with the tips, tricks, and cheat sheet. Why buy a huge accounting program if 90% of it is not going to be used for the needs of your business? On a side note, it’s eco-friendly. No CD’s or paper waste. Upon receipt of payment, this bookkeeping system will be emailed to your PayPal related email account.
I wasn’t paid to write this review, and I don’t have a free copy of the software. As an artist I want to say that this software is a must for any handmade artisan and an answer to the handmade community. Don’t take my word for it, the HandmadeologyBiz store sold many copies on Etsy the first day it hit the shelves. You can go there to check out the various options, and read Handmadeology for any special savings coupons or offers related to the software.