Bookkeeping … A Path to Empowerment? (Part 1)


Over the last month, while my fellow bloggers are creating masterpieces and snuggling up with their new quilts, I have been spending time with Quickbooks and my accounting system. This is what my desk looks like. Note the lack of a sewing machine, fabric, or a happy atmosphere in the room.

Two books of purchase receipts, organized by month

I’ve spent days trying to get my accounting in order. I’m not proud of it, especially given the fact I have a business degree with an accounting major.  Yes, I knew better. No, I don’t have any excuses except that building my business was more fun than book-keeping. I’m guessing I’m not alone.

I’m going to spend a few days this week talking about the financial side of the business and the importance of record-keeping. Not because the IRS demands it, but because it makes us feel empowered. And because good information leads to better business practices.

I read a book this summer that deeply affected me. It’s by Geneen Roth and you’ll find the link below. This woman is a very successful author and workshop leader. However, she has lost her life savings three times. Once because her father “incorrectly” set up his will, despite advice from some of the best estate lawyers available, leaving her without an inheritance. The second time, her accountant took all her money. The final time, she invested in the Bernie Madoff scheme and again lost everything. In her book, she admits that she relied on other people to take care of her finances without trying to understand them herself. She didn’t ask questions and she didn’t want to appear stupid.

Although I’ve always done my own book-keeping (at least, in a previous business), this year I decided to also prepare our tax returns. Maybe it is foolish, as I’m not a CPA, but I want to truly understand where our money goes. No longer do I want to passively hand over a package of receipts to our accountant, despite how much I like her. I want to feel empowered. (Caveat: I haven’t actually tried to prepare our taxes yet, so I may change my mind. But at least I will have tried.)

So I encourage you brilliant quilters and artists to look at the other side of your business — the financial end — with new eyes. We need to understand the how’s and why’s of what we’re doing. We are small business owners. We need to be in control of our finances, just as we are in control of our customers and our quilting skills.

In the next couple days, I’ll share some resources that have helped me. Hopefully they will help you, as well, get organized and feel empowered.



2 responses »

  1. Bravo. Finances are the icky side to running a business, that most of us would rather be in denial about. I’ve read the same Geneen Roth book (that you recommended) and it hit home with me too. Glad you are brave enough to post your messy desk!

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