Saturday, March 21, 2015

Paperwork Blues

Like many creative sorts, I don't love paperwork.
I've learned though that a bit of organization can go a long way toward alleviating the blues.   In 2008 when the world of the working stiff and I parted ways rather abruptly, I decided that I'd never again work for someone else.  I floundered around for a bit, and then I took the self employment training offered by Employment Services.
This was one of the best things I've ever done for my self and my art, even though I was given an extremely hard time by the guardians of the gate ( artists are not seen by this government program to be in a viable business) I graduated so to speak, and have never looked back.
The program was focused on helping you define what it is you as a business want to accomplish, and how to get there, and THAT takes us to paperwork.
I'll be the first to admit that although I'm not that tidy, witness: my studio. I am very organized,
artists studio, Robin Baratta, Belmont Ontario Canada
which helps.  I take Friday mornings as my administrative time. I have different tasks on a list, that I work through. Website maintenance, marketing aka facebook, blog, newsletter, and mailings, invoicing, sorting, recording and filing are all on it, and I make sure I get to each at lest once a month.
When you break the administrative stuff that has to happen down into manageable jobs, and set aside a specific time on a regular basis, it's amazing how much easier it all becomes.  

For sorting and filing, I keep all of the business related receipts of each type in a large envelope with a sheet of lined paper stapled to the front, as I put the receipts into the appropriate envelopes I record, date, place of purchase, item, hst and total. If I do this once a month it takes very little time, and makes putting my business taxes together for the accountant a breeze.
I do this for the various utilities, vehicle expenses and fuel, art supplies, teaching supplies, office supplies-think printer paper and ink, membership fees, show fees and expenses etc.  Talk to an accountant or bookkeeper for a list of what to record.
In case you're asking your self why on earth you'd want to bother? Let me say, even if you don't file as a business keep your receipts and a good record. If all this is this a hobby that you spend more than you make on, you may never have to worry about any of this. If however Rev Canada ever comes calling, and they've called on a few artists I know, the onus is on you to prove that you didn't make money, and if you have a good year, and actually do make money, you need to be able to prove how much, because Rev Can, has a habit of assuming everyone is a bad guy, and will assess you at what they think you might have made, and believe me, they think we make lots of money....
An artist I knew even had his estate reassessed, and his heirs were hit with a huge bill, so please, take an hour or two on a regular basis, do some paperwork (bleck)  and protect yourself.

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