From the title of this post, you might think that I’m going to write about the care and keeping of your fine books. Alas, that is not to be today. There have been a few distractions besides housekeeping that have delayed my book cataloguing — poor Dante! He continues to languish on the shelves, wondering when he’ll get to be properly catalogued and go live with someone who truly appreciates him.
First, I’m planning for February’s book fair and now I have to plan for taxes. Today (and probably for several days to come), I’m trying to get the business end of my book business organized. Why now? Because it’s almost the end of the year and I hate to do things last minute. Before he retired, my Dad used to be accountant. He and Thoughtful Husband keep reminding me that soon it will be tax time and have I got all of my business records organized? Since it’s my first year in business, this will be the first time I’ve filed a sales tax return and done taxes for the business. I want to make sure I do it correctly. You might think that I’d be familiar with this, but as a teacher I only had to file income tax returns. I’ve never done business taxes and I am (as usual) a bit intimidated. Also, I admit that a part of me really does not want to know whether this first year has been a profit or a loss. I’m the type that loves bookselling so much that I will want to keep at it regardless of whether it’s costing me (and poor old Thoughtful Husband), though from a business standpoint that would a bad decision. Lucky for me, I don’t make many of my decisions from a business standpoint.
Does your bookselling database (mine is BookHound) run sales tax reports for you? I didn’t know if mine did, and I was worried I’d have to go back through each individual invoice and write down the taxes for taxable sales. I hadn’t taken this into consideration when I purchased a bookselling database program, but if you’re about to purchase one, you should. I was blinded by BookHound’s easy to use cataloguing program, customer records, and invoices. Unbelievably, I never thought to ask about taxes. “Sure, honey, I’m sure BookHound has something for sales tax reports,” I said nervously to Thoughtful Husband. I was not at all sure. Fortunately, I discovered this morning that when you click on a tab called “Reports” (a tab I had ignored all year) it has all kinds of reports, including sales taxes! Yippee! Thanks, BookHound. I promise to read the user manual because I now realize there are all sorts of helpful reports I’ve been ignoring. That means there are probably all sorts of other useful bookish aspects of BookHound of which I’m not at all aware.
Luddite that I am, I have been keeping a ledger book with pencil to record my other expenses. Thoughtful Husband, who is also smart and tech savvy, smirks when I say that. He said, “I’ll mention it to the accountant and see what he says.” (I should mention that Thoughtful Husband also owns his own small business and has an established relationship with an accountant. With all of this small-business-owning and a wife who uses an old-fashioned ledger book, you need an expert to help figure out your income taxes.) The accountant said I should get Quicken or QuickBooks and transfer all of my accounting to computer ASAP. As I hate numbers and only respectfully tolerate computers, I cannot imagine a more boring way to spend my time, yet I know this investment of time will ultimately help me refine my costs of doing business. So, it’s off to check out Quicken and Quickbooks, and then (gulp) transfer an entire year’s worth of pencilled-in ledger book into the computer.
I know what this struggle with accounting is. Dante has put me into one of his circles of Hell for failing to complete his catalogue in a timely manner. Accounting is my punishment. 😉