Cash flow and other tales

Now that we’re talking about money – how to deal with rates, discounts and all that – do you know how to keep track of your money?

You can always hire an accountant and only worry about the core task – i.e. translating. But I simply can’t no matter how passionate I am about what I do. I think I am so passionate that I want to control every aspect of my business – marketing, translation and also finance. So here’s how I handle my business.

You probably have different payment terms – maybe some clients pay you within 10 days, while other pay within 30 days from invoice. You can go with the good old worksheet and track everything manually. Or you can go automatic. I have to tell you – it’s not perfect, but it might save you some time.  I use TO3000. It was developed for translators, but since I don’t know many tweaks, I only improved it a little bit. As I said, it’s not perfect, but my main needs are served – I get to invoice a project automatically based on my previous input and check the list of payments to see if everything is running smoothly. If it isn’t, there’s a red font that warns me.

But even using TO3000, I still make use of the worksheet. I started keeping track of my incomes and expenses over 10 years ago, when I wasn’t even professionally translating, and got to learn many tricks on Excel. Now, after a few improvements, I have a light version to keep track of how much I’m expending, how much I’m making and what was expected (for in and out).

I’m currently migrating to GnuCash. It is not the most intuitive tool, but I’m finding it interesting. This tool has a more in-depth analysis of your finances, showing imbalance as well,

It looks a bit like this:

There are several profiles to be set up. I chose one and started adding and removing the fields that most suited my needs (e.g. in expenses, fees).

It’s important to keep track of everything – what’s coming in and what’s getting out, simply because in the feast period, you must have enough to make for the low volume of work. Without keeping track, there is no way to know how much is expected, how much has been paid already and if any invoices have not yet been paid. Also, you have all set for IRS when the time comes!

What tools do you use to keep things smooth? Do you prefer to have the help of an accountant?

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