Invoices & Bookkeeping For Busy Designers

Screen shot 2014-03-31 at 8.01.54 AMI am not a detail oriented person, so as you can assume my experiences with bookkeeping have been a wild ride. When I began freelancing I didn’t track my expenses (I know..I know..), which meant that I had to spent weeks scrambling to gather invoices and deductions before tax time. When I recovered from that nightmare I started tracking expenses and sales through a simple Google document. That worked for many years, but I still had to spend days adding forgotten payments and expenses before starting my taxes.

Last year Tara Gentile, someone who I admire greatly, recommended the free website Outright, so I thought I would give it a try. Since I started using the program mid-year I had to add a few transactions and update the expense categories, but I loved that it automatically imported all of my bank account, credit card and Paypal transactions.

Screen shot 2014-03-31 at 8.02.04 AMWell…February rolled around and it was time to prepare my files. I set aside an entire day for the task, which is a pretty big deal for me to devote eight hours to any one project in a day, and I dove into the program. I then saw that if I upgraded to the paid version they would prepare my tax documents for me, listing out an Annual summary, Schedule C, estimated taxes and sales tax and I could also begin using the program for invoices and time tracking. For $9.99 I thought it was worth a try, so I upgraded and my files were prepared in under an hour. AN HOUR! A process that once took me days, sometimes weeks, was done in under an hour. I was ecstatic. Needless to say I am now a HUGE fan of Outright (now GoDaddy Bookkeeping) and I wanted to take a break from our normal pattern talk to share this resource with you all.

If you are like me and struggle with the details, I highly recommend trying out the program for a few months and getting your monthly “update spreadsheet” task off your to-do list.

Another time saving tool that I recommend is our FREE Rate Sheet Template. It helps you to avoid awkward rate conversations and client confusion by presenting your rate and prices in a well organized pdf document. Download the free template here.

***Update: Since publishing this article my business structure has changed and under the advisement of my accountant I am now using Quickbooks. While it is a perfect fit for my existing business I still recommend GoDaddy Bookkeeping if you are just getting started!


At Pattern Observer we strive to help you grow your textile design business through our informative articles, interviews, tutorials, workshops and our private design community, The Textile Design Lab.

Featured Course

More Stories
Street Patterns: Graphic Florals