The "so-called experts" in the handmade or creative business world all seem to recommend spreadsheets.  I'm betting that most of them actually use software, even though they tell YOU that spreadsheets are the way to go - so they can SELL you a spreadsheet that they designed but don't use anymore!  
Bookkeeping Basics for your creative biz

Software or spreadsheets for handmade business bookkeeping

Wondering if using bookkeeping software or spreadsheets for your handmade or creative business bookkeeping is a better choice?

Well, you aren’t alone – it’s a tough question and doing the research makes it an even tougher decision.

And, let’s face it, I KNOW that most handmade or creative business owners DETEST doing their books and will make every excuse in the world to avoid the dreadful data entry required to keep their financial information under control.

Which should I choose? Software vs. Spreadsheets Let’s do a little comparison shall we.  We’ll do some Pro’s & Cons for each.Whether you use bookkeeping software or spreadsheets for your handmade business bookkeeping system, that system must be:

  • Flexible – meaning it’s something that you will continue to use as your business grows
  • Easy to use – something that you don’t have to spend a lot of time fussing with
  • Meet your needs – you know, track at lest 99% of the things you need/want to track
  • Grow with your business – while you might not need a specific functionality today, you can’t predict the future
  • Take the least amount of time to use – so you can get back to doing what you love
  • Allow for the least amount of data entry errors – that’s caused by having to enter the same numbers in multiple spreadsheets
  • But, none of this is going to work without YOU!

You must make a commitment to yourself and your business to do your books at least once a week OR you will be tempted to throw everything into a box where it will pile up and you’ll have a big mess on your hands that you won’t like.



Which should I choose – Software or Spreadsheets for my handmade or creative business bookkeeping?

Well, I can’t answer that for you, it’s a personal choice.

But, let’s do a little comparison shall we.  We’ll do some Pro’s & Cons for using software or spreadsheets for your handmade or creative business bookkeeping tasks.

First, let’s look at spreadsheets. 

I’m starting with spreadsheets because that’s what the “so-called experts” in the handmade or creative business world all seem to recommend.  I’m betting that most of them actually use software, even though they tell YOU that spreadsheets are the way to go – so they can SELL you a bookkeeping spreadsheet that they designed – but don’t use anymore!

The Pro’s of using spreadsheets:

  • Already installed on your computer or free
  • Everyone says it’s super easy
  • You may already know basic formatting & formula’s
  • CPA’s & Accountants like them because they don’t have to learn anything new and they get to see EVERY detail about your business

The Con’s of using spreadsheets:

  • Cumbersome – spreadsheets were never intended to be or replace bookkeeping software
  • Enter the same info in multiple places – as we saw in the video on using the Inventory spreadsheet not only do you have to remove materials from the Materials Inventory Spreadsheet when you complete a finished item, but you also then have to put the finished item into your Finished Item or Consignment Inventory Worksheet.  And we didn’t even touch on what happens after that.
  • Be careful not to break formulas – one of the biggest issues with spreadsheets is that it’s super easy to break or even delete a formula – then you’ve got a big mess
    Might need to learn formatting & formulas

Now, bookkeeping software. 

Now, you’re probably wondering if I’m trying to sell you software!  No, not really.  I’m just providing you with information so YOU CAN MAKE AN INFORMED DECISION!

I’ve used spreadsheets and I’ve used those OLD, HUGE paper ledger sheets that would take up the entire top of your desk and I know that software can make bookkeeping for your handmade or creative business easier, faster, and perhaps even less distasteful.

The Pro’s of using software:

  • Enter info once – updates MULTIPLE places with no extra work by you
  • No formatting or formulas
  • Easy to utilize additional features as your needs change
  • Easy to add something new – like an Accounts
  • Lots of reports to help with business decisions at the click of a button

The Con’s of using software:

  • Costs money
  • There’s a learning curve
  • SO MANY CHOICES!!!

Have I given you something to think about?  I hope so.

Until next time – happy creativity!

Nancy

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Nancy Smyth, The YarnyBookkeeper

Hi, I'm Nancy. I'm a yarn addict, career bookkeeper, and handmade business owner. I get the same feeling of joy when working with yummy yarns as I do when working with a column of numbers that all add up correctly.

Bookkeeping for your handmade or creative business doesn't need to be scary. I can help you learn to handle your bookkeeping and other behind the scenes STUFF with confidence!

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