Hi Folks,

Due to a recent change in philosophy, and the realisation that I am making a living only doing sound, I realised that I needed to do some proper bookkeeping to get a handle on when, where, how much etc.

I don't want to add work that I don't need, but I suppose spending 1 to 2 hours a week sorting out my books will aenable me to see where I'm going ('When will I be able to by that 744T?') Or how I'm doing("How much do I need to put away to pay for renewing my AppleCare and replacing a mic if it goes down?") etc.

Ya dig?

What do you guys use to do the accounting. Ledger books? Or software? how do you split up expenses, e.g. batteries for a shoot, buying lunch when out recording sounds for work and the like?

Im looking at something FREE asn in beer or not more than 100 USD/EUR

Any hints (i.t.o. software and accounting process) would be appreciated


7 Answers 7


you can do basic bookkeeping in excel, if you already have ms office. just a matter of cashflow layout

  • thats what I do - I make my invoices in Filemaker Pro & do the income/outcome tracking in Excel, my accountant inherits the Excel spreadsheets no problem
    – user49
    Nov 14, 2011 at 18:52
  • +1 for excel! Setting up formulas is a pretty efficient way in Excel for keeping track of things. Nov 14, 2011 at 20:17

I agree with Sonsey, hiring an accountant can save you a ton of time and money.

If you decide to go at it yourself, I'm a bit fan of the Quicken line. They have software that starts at $29 and up. I use Quicken Deluxe, which is just $60. Does really well for me. I also keep track of my expenses for tax write offs in an Excel doc, then I just give all the files to an accountant at the end of the tax year to file my returns, which only ends up costing me about $200 since I've kept track of everything.

Obviously, keep your receipts too. I keep them categorized in envelopes in a binder, and in my Excel doc, I keep Amount, Date, Location, Who it was with (lunches, etc...) and Why it was a business expense.


PC or Mac there are a number of decent low-cost accounting programs out there - do a quick search on Google or here. HOWEVER, if you also use the services of an accountant than you'll save much more than the cost of the program, by using whatever software they use. They will bill you for the time they spend copying the information from your stuff to theirs, so a couple of hours saved will quickly add up.

  • A very good point that I hadn't even considered. Nov 14, 2011 at 14:10

I use billings 3 for all my invoices. It's great for keeping track of payments and to see how I've been doing for a certain period of time. If I remember correctly, I paid 40 dollars for it.

Like others here, for accounting stuff, I use an accountant. As a freelancer, there's lots of potential write-offs and percs I would not necessarily be aware of. It's not worth my time to try figure it out, and whatever I end up spending, will be for sure way less than the amount I'll make back.

  • To clarify, I mean I go to the accountant once or twice a year giving him all the stuff he requires to submit my return. Nov 15, 2011 at 3:59

Have heard good things about Billable, now called ProfitTrain: http://clickablebliss.com/profittrain/

It's more of an invoicing app than a bookkeeping app, but you can track and categorize expenses, etc...


Just heard about QuickBooks and remembered this thread. Might be worth taking a look. It covers book-keeping, invoicing and general accountancy, aimed at small businesses. You can control/access it from tablet and phone apps too. Not sure if it's just available in the UK though.


We use Billings Pro + iCal + quicken but are always looking at other options

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