Paper Can Be Beautiful


Today, I am reorganizing my account sheets.

It’s not thrilling.

Back story, I’m a consultant, and I do all my own bookkeeping. And because I tend to do everything on a shoestring, and generally feel that things I make for myself are more useful to me than things that are commercially available, I don’t have any kind of fancy bookkeeping software. I have Open Office, the open source equivalent to Microsoft Office. That is, I have the spreadsheets I’ve built for myself to track the data I want to track.

My business is simple. I’m in creative services. No overhead, no inventory. Most of what I track is intangible: how many hours I put in on a project. The type of writing, the wordcount. For copywriting especially, I like to put some of these figures together: how many minutes per word did I average? How many dollars per word? The more you know, the better you are at bidding: different kinds of writing, different ratios.

Paper Can Be Colorful

These are both stock photos. Sorry.

Here’s the problem, my record-keeping is inefficient. I have all these different spreadsheets, which means I have to enter data in a lot of different places to keep things accurate, which means I have to remember (with my mind) where all those places are, which means I make mistakes. At least, I can’t guarantee I’m not making mistakes. Which makes me nervous. So I’ve been rebuilding my approach to try to solve that.

On an equally dry note …

It’s tax week. Welcome to the world of small business in the Pacific Northwest: I fill out thirteen different forms a year. The federal government, the State, the city, and my favorite, the public transportation district. Gone are the days of 10-40 EZ; I am a business-owner. Thank God I don’t have any employees.

If you are paperwork-free this week, raise your glass in gratitude. If you are drowning in papers of your own, raise it in solidarity. We’ll make it through. I think we will. (I think.)