with Kesha Monk
Paying taxes is a good thing! Anne and guest host Kesha Monk tell you why in this episode of the Entrepreneur Hustle series. How are you tracking expenses and receipts? What counts as a business expense? Do you need tips to save yourself from potential headaches? If numbers aren’t your jam, listen to these VO Bosses for ideas to manage your business finances. You can rock every part of your VO business like a BOSS … even the not-so-fun stuff like accounting.
Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:
Establish yourself as an independent business so you can get a separate business account to help keep your finances organized
It can be helpful to use a separate business credit card so your monthly statements can be digitally downloaded
You should have separate online payment accounts for your business so that customers can conveniently pay you
Get a business credit card that offers rewards and benefits, so you can reinvest into your business
You should get a separate TAX ID (EIN) to use instead of your SSN
When your business starts to take off, it can be beneficial to hire an accountant
If you are using online accounting software, you can give your accountant online access
Keep a digital record of everything you buy for your business
Old receipts fade – Immediately digitize any paper receipts or checks
You can get an app for your phone to scan all of your business receipts
Accepting more methods of payment opens yourself up to more business opportunities
Evaluate everything you use for your business to ensure that it can be categorized as a business expense
Make sure to check your business statements monthly to see if there are any irregularities
Referenced in this Episode
Direct links to things we brought up ++
Some options for online record keeping are: Quickbooks and Freshbooks
A good place to do your taxes online is TurboTax
A common way to accept money is PayPal.
An alternative to PayPal is Wise, formerly known as Transferwise
Recorded on ipDTL
>> It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premiere Business Owner Strategies and Successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a boss, a VO BOSS! Now let’s welcome your host, Anne Ganguzza.
Anne: Hey, hey, everyone, welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with the illustrious, most beautiful Miss Kesha Monk. Hey Kesha.
Kesha: Bonjour. Comment allez-vous?
Anne: [laughs] Ah you know, I’m doing good, except last week I had to pay, I had to prepay my taxes.
Kesha: Oh God!
Anne: That is never [laughs] That is never something that I look forward to doing. However I feel accomplished that at least I’m paying, I’m prepaying taxes, because that means I must be making money. So that’s a good thing.
Anne: That is a good thing. I will be grateful for that, and I will be grateful, I will be grateful to my accountant. [laughs]
Kesha: I’m sure.
Anne: You know, it’s always something that people ask about when they start their businesses. And you know, I saw a couple of questions on the groups today about, what are some, you know, tips for, you know — it’s getting towards that time, where we’re gonna have to do the taxes.
Anne: So what do you think?
Anne: Shall we talk about it? Or at least let’s talk about our practices. I mean…
Kesha: Yeah, we can. Let’s do it.
Anne: I will say like right here and now that I [laughs] love my accountant. It was one of the best business decisions that I ever made, was to hire an accountant and keep her on retainer. So literally it became painful for me to start keeping track of all the finances and all that good stuff. I don’t know about you, Kesha. That’s not a thing I like to do.
Kesha: That’s the worst! It totally isn’t, and — but you know what? It’s a good thing I’m feeling kind of frustrated because now I think I’m coming into my, my flavor. And now I actually am working enough where I literally have to worry about it at this point. [laughs] You know what I mean?
Anne: We’re grateful for that. We’re grateful for that. But then so what, you know, what are some good practices for BOSSes out there to do? Well I would say first of all, make sure that you are a company. Like, in whatever state you work or whatever is required, that you have a separate account, a separate business account, where you can, you know, draw from and deposit your income into. And that way you can have an accountant and just give them that business account. So it’s important to first of all —
Kesha: Super important.
Anne: — yeah, establish the business. I’ll tell you what, Kesha, I was a DBA for many years, because in the state of California, that’s really all I needed in order to get myself a special account, a business account. And it just served me. It was, it was relatively cost-effective. I know I’ve talked about this on past podcasts, but what are you — so what are you doing for your business? Do you — are you a DBA? Are you LLC?
Kesha: The thing is, before I even get into that, if you’re listening, BOSSes, try not to co-mingle your funds. You will have a headache.
Anne: Oh God, yes.
Kesha: I have had plenty of headaches —
Kesha: — I can tell you about. But once you establish yourself as — for me, I am a sole proprietorship. And get your tax ID, and you go ahead and open up that bank account, it makes life so much easier to deposit all of your, you know, voiceover checks into that account, and draw, you know, for the business — I mean, there are [laughs] I write off a lot of things, like you know.
Anne: Oh yeah, absolutely.
Kesha: You know, carpet. I needed carpet for my studio, you know? I mean, I did! I did. Even when I purchase —
Anne: Exactly. It’s sound absorption material right there.
Kesha: For sure, absolutely. I mean, anything from — I put my AA batteries that go on my little light.
Anne: Oh my gosh, yes. Absolutely.
Kesha: As far as, those batteries kind of, you know, they pile up, girl. It certainly is. Yeah, I am a sole proprietorship. I’ve got my, I’ve got my little bank account. That’s how I operate.
Anne: So I’ll tell you that it makes it — gosh. I’m gonna say being at least part of the digital age [laughs] makes me a little happy because I don’t have to keep track of the paper receipts as much —
Anne: — as I used to, which was always so, oh my gosh, that used to just give me a knot in my stomach. At the end of the year, when I hadn’t really done much during the year to, you know, checks and balances with my accounts, to go and find those receipts and make sure that they were available in a folder — I had one big folder where I threw all the receipts.
Kesha: Me too, me too.
Anne: But then it was like, you know, I forgot to rotate that folder when the year changed. Then it just became messy. You know, sometimes those receipts, when you go to the office supply store, they’re on that thermal paper. And so if they’re almost a year old —
Kesha: They’ll fade.
Anne: Oh my gosh, and so I don’t even know like what it was [laughs] that I paid. And so I’m thankful now that things are more digital. And so if, you know, I would always give this tip, you know, if you guys are getting receipts, if you can get digital receipts or emailed receipts, that is really awesome. Or if you can do things electronically for example. You know, I, when I got my bank account, it was wonderful. I also made sure that I got a business credit card as well. That is probably another thing that really saved me a lot of work was just anything that I purchased went on that business credit card. And I paid that credit card off every month. It was just one of those things that I was like, I’m not paying interest on that.
Kesha: Right. Exactly, exactly.
Anne: That way all of my monthly statements could be digitally downloaded.
Kesha: Yeah, absolutely. And if you can’t do the credit card, definitely do the debit card so you’ll have that.
Anne: Yes, yes, absolutely.
Kesha: You know what I mean?
Anne: And checks.
Kesha: Absolutely for everything, for sure. Absolutely. And here’s another trip, tip because I just thought of this.
Kesha: If you do the credit card, make sure you get a credit card where you can earn points.
Anne: Yes. Or cash back.
Kesha: And those points can — or cash back — and then that way you can just continue to reinvest in the business. You know what I mean?
Kesha: Free money. It’s free money. I’ve done it.
Anne: Absolutely. And I have to say, Kesha, I did have to order — like who writes checks? I mean [laughs] there are still some, you know, when I, some people that I pay, that, that need checks. And so therefore I had to get checks. Oh my goodness, they are so expensive these days.
Kesha: They are, they are.
Anne: It’s kind of crazy.
Kesha: I don’t use checks at all, but you.
Anne: I try not to, but I do have some vendors that I have to pay with checks. They only accept checks.
Kesha: Got it.
Anne: Probably for the reason why we want to accept, we don’t get a fee taken out of it. If it’s, you know, if it’s a digital transaction through Paypal or Stripe, or a credit card transaction, we’re always paying that fee. But with a check, and I always like, can’t we just all just do direct deposit? But that has been helped of course by, there’s Zelle, there’s Venmo, there’s all kinds of direct deposit —
Anne: — which is really lovely. Except I would, I would say to the BOSSes out there, if you have an electronic account like Venmo, make sure that it’s not your personal account, and that it’s going to your business account, so that everything is channeled through your accounts. I think I have multiple accounts that I allow, and as I said before my accountant, to have access to through my software. I do an online software through QuickBooks. I love Quicken, Quicken Online. And my accountant has access to it.
Anne: And the cool thing is, we can both — I can look at what she’s doing while she’s doing it. And we can be on the phone together, and she can be — most of the time what happens is, for me, you have to categorize your, you know, you have to categorize things.
Anne: This is an expense, this is income, what type of an expense it is. And so that’s usually where you have to be in communication with your accountant to make sure you have the proper categories there. And then as they get to know you, they pretty much will know like based on the vendor what category to put it in. That I think is an important, very important thing.
Kesha: Extremely important. So let me ask you, do you track like your auditions, and then — because there is software out there where you could literally put all of your auditions into the system, and then you put the amount that you, that it would be, the talent fee that would be received if you were to get it, and then if you book it, you just click booked, and then it automatically knows oh, you’ve earned $1200 for this particular thing. And then kind of intertwines with your QuickBooks. Do you do any of these outside ?
Anne: You know, that’s actually, that’s actually really kind of cool. I only know of one software, a couple different softwares that would allow you to do that right now. I know that there is a service out there that, and I can’t remember the name of it, goodness — that is out there that can do that, but I don’t audition enough. I audition for my agents, but in terms of, you know, having that be, you know, I could, I could live without that probably.
Anne: And just manually input —
Kesha: Just another —
Anne: That’s kind of an interesting, that’s an interesting little shortcut.
Kesha: Yeah, it is because I audition a lot. I really, really do, and so, so much until it’s just, I mean, and again I can’t remember —
Anne: Click it, click it, click it. [laughs]
Kesha: And then you can kind of like input which agency you are, you are —
Kesha: And so once you put the audition in, you just click the dropdown and you select which agents it’s for, you just put the money in. Yeah.
Anne: That’s great because not only are you doing your accounting, but you’re tracking your success rate with your auditions.
Kesha: And that’s another thing that it does.
Anne: I did that in the beginning when I was in a lot of pay-to-plays. I actually kept track — it’s not the software that’s out there now, which is great. I think Dani States does something. She has a software that tracks your auditions. And then there’s another one paid I can’t remember the name of it, but you can keep track of your auditions as well. That’s really great in figuring out like what’s working and what may not be working for you.
Kesha: Exactly, yes, definitely. Dang it, I should have copied and pasted the name of that little joker. Because it’s, it really, it really does help me. And then it’s good on the analytics. Like it just —
Kesha: — it gives you little graphs on how much you booked this month versus what you didn’t book. Again it’s an excellent tool to help you, you know, figure out where to hone in on where you may need improvement on. I don’t know, but it’s good. It all works out.
Anne: Let’s talk about — that’s reporting on your auditions. What about reporting on your income, and reporting on what expenses, what are you spending a lot of money on? Like this year I spent kind of a little bit of money on my studio because it was built for me this year. And so that’s gonna be a big, huge expense. And I also spent some money on website hosting, because I have multiple websites, so that’s an expense. Also I have a certain amount of money that I spend on subscription programs, so, which would be my mail programs. It’s —
Kesha: Me too, me too. I’m gonna have a ton of —
Anne: It’s kind of crazy.
Kesha: Yeah. I’m gonna have a ton of — the important thing is to, you know, you just really have to keep track, and also [laughs] maybe I shouldn’t say that, say this, but I mean, seriously, like if I’m gonna do, you know, new head shots, and I got to go get my pictures taken, or I got to go get my hair done, I should say, that’s an expense. That’s a legitimate business expense. A lot of people don’t think about stuff like that.
Anne: Oh absolutely. I used to do, when, back when we could travel, and I used to travel —
Kesha: Back in the day.
Anne: — to shows, to conferences, and I used to speak at the conferences, if I got my hair done, that was absolutely an expense. [laughs]
Kesha: Oh girl, and I know you had to write those nails, those pretty nails of yours.
Anne: I did the nails. Yeah. I did the nails too.
Kesha: The nail polish cost money, didn’t it?
Anne: Well it’s interesting, it’s similar to if you’re an on-camera actor, if you’re gonna be out there presenting, or it’s part of your brand. And so I literally made my nails part of my brand. And so that became like an expense. BOSSes, every single thing that you use for your business, you need to actually consider it if it’s an expense. Like can you, you know, can you expense your nails? Maybe not now, during — unless maybe you’re, you know, you’re presenting on a Zoom webinar, and people have to see your nails.
Kesha: I mean, why not? Listen, I, I can’t see why that wouldn’t be legitimate.
Anne: Yeah, absolutely. You have an image to uphold.
Anne: So Kesha, do you have any particular software that you use? Do you use an electronic software to keep track of your accounts? Or how is that happening right now? Or you, do you collect your receipts, and then you’re gonna be doing something, like will you give it to your accountant? Or will you do TurboTax?
Kesha: That’s so old school. And you know what? This year I am definitely going to shift, because I feel there is a shift in the atmosphere as it relates to new work. And I’ve got to really get better. What I do, whatever expenses I have, I just always, always, always use my debit card. And then that way I don’t have to keep up with receipts and whatnot. I can just download my entire statements and highlight all of the, you know, the minus signs —
Kesha: And I just give that to my accountant. Which is, she’s by the way in California.
Anne: I’m gonna say though, it’s important that you actually, like, have a regimen to at least look at your statements every month. I can’t — oh gosh. I can’t stress that enough. Because sometimes, you know, when you have a credit card — I tend to be like, “oh, I’ll just throw that on the credit card.” They make it so easy to use your credit card these days.
Kesha: They do.
Anne: If you happen to be buying something on Amazon, and the credit card is stored, and you just click. And so make sure that you are looking at those statements every month. Because things can kind of get out of control. And then all of a sudden it will register on your credit card as some weird vendor, and then you won’t know what you spent your money on. So I actually make it a point every month to sit down —
Anne: — and go through my credit card statement, yeah, and my bank statement. Because you want to make sure — a lot of times, what will happen is people will pay me through Paypal or Stripe. Those are the two electronic methods that I have, or they’ll do direct deposit. But a lot of people pay me through Paypal and Stripe. And so what happens is Paypal accumulates a certain amount of money. And so after awhile I’ll just check every week or two, and I’ll just download, because I don’t want to keep a ton of money in Paypal. I like to keep only $1000 in Paypal, in case, I don’t know, something weird happens.
Kesha: Right, right.
Anne: So I only keep $1000 in Paypal at a time, and I download the rest to my bank account. Well, when it downloads it, it downloads it as one big galump.
Kesha: Right, right, right.
Anne: That’s a word, galump, by the way. One big amount. And so my accountant has to go and download the statements from Paypal what was the actual category of the payment so that she can reconcile it in my QuickBooks. So it’s important for you to kind of keep track. Because sometimes softwares like, like sometimes QuickBooks will automatically like try to make things easier, but in reality it doesn’t make it easier for you.
Anne: It will assign, you know, a vendor. Let’s say you get paid $100, and the last person that paid you was a different vendor that paid $100. It might want to assign that same vendor name. So it will screw up, so you’ve got to be on top of things, before it escalates and gets out of control. It’s like at the end of the year, when you look at your folder, and it’s like, oh my gosh, I have 2500 receipts, and I don’t know what happened when. I can’t read the date. What did I buy that for? And sometimes the receipt doesn’t have the item. So if you’re saving receipts, I always used to write on my receipts like what it was in pen, just to make sure [laughs] —
Kesha: But you know what?
Anne: — I knew what it was.
Kesha: But you know what? Now that I think about it, there is, and again we’re doing all of this wonderful, you know, sharing tips and whatnot. It’d be great if we could name some things, but I don’t want to be an endorser. But there is an app that you can scan your receipts.
Anne: Yes, oh yes.
Kesha: And you can also, you know, there’s like a little notes section where you can just enter what the information is, just in case it isn’t legible. So yeah, digital is the way to go. Paper sucks.
Anne: But again that’s assuming you have paper receipts. Right? I always try to get electronic receipts if I can. But you know, sometimes that’s not, that’s not a possibility. So I would say schedule yourself some time on a monthly basis so that you can actually, you know, for your own knowledge, figure out what are my incoming? What are people paying me? What’s my incoming income, and what am I paying out so that that can, you know, keep an Excel spreadsheet, whatever you’ve got to do. Or get QuickBooks, there’s lots of —
Kesha: QuickBooks is great.
Anne: Fresh Books. They use Fresh Books. What’s some other ones? Microsoft Money.
Kesha: Microsoft Money.
Anne: And I would say that that is going to be definitely worth your investment. And if you can, I’m telling you hands down the best thing I ever did was hire my accountant. She’s not, it’s not really expensive. So it’s, you know, I mean, it’s definitely a monthly fee. But by the end of the year, let me tell you how simple it is for her to do taxes, and she can generate reports for me. So she can say, “this month you did really well in automotive voiceover. You did really well in your e-learning voiceover.” Or “you spent a lot of money in your studio, Anne. What’s goin’ on?” And again those subscriptions that can kind of get away from you. A lot of times the software subscriptions — so for example I have Adobe, an Adobe subscription. And by the way, if you’re checking those things, you make sure — my Adobe subscription keeps, every once in a while, like every year, it will go up.
Kesha: Yeah. They’re not gonna tell you.
Anne: Wait a minute. I’m a teacher. I have, I get the teacher rate because I taught, I taught for many, many years. And so, “or I had it at this rate.” And I call back and say, “well, what just happened? Did it go up and why did it go up?” Usually I can get that back down. But you have to make sure that your costs are still the same. Those subscriptions can kind of get, they’re a little slippery sometimes.
Kesha: They can be. You got to really, really pay attention. Another expense that I really, literally started doing was, I buy a lot of apps that help me make my, like social media tools, things for, I —
Anne: To automate.
Kesha: — to automate. I subscribe to a service called Over, which is basically, it’s like a graphics app. But I use that when I want to post like little clips of audio. And I want to animate it, I want to have the nice text. It’s like $99 a year, but it’s so worth it to me. These are all legitimate and very, very great expenses. Your return on investment is gonna be, you know, quadrupled.
Anne: Oh my goodness, yeah. Software is kind of that thing you don’t think about all the time, but yeah. I use Canva.
Kesha: Me too.
Anne: I use Dropbox. I do a yearly, a professional subscription for that.
Anne: Adobe, yeah. It’s, you know, there’s just a lot of these. Every web hosting site out there, DNS, when I buy my domain names, that’s also a charge. My web developer is a charge. I have, you know, I have a team of people that work for me, that they are expenses as well. So it’s, it’s —
Kesha: It’s a real business.
Anne: It is.
Kesha: It’s a real business.
Anne: It is a real business. And I was thinking about, that’s gonna be another episode, is how to be a real BOSS when you have a team of people, because that adds a whole additional element to things.
Kesha: Oh for sure.
Anne: But those also need to be accounted for when you’re doing end of year, and you need to provide W9’s or that sort of thing at the end of the year. And again, it’s really nice to have my accountant who can generate any needed paperwork —
Kesha: Yes, absolutely.
Anne: — that she needs to do.
Kesha: That’s really, really dope. Yeah!
Anne: Make it a definite part of your monthly process to just, first of all, get yourself, get that separate business account, get that separate credit card, get the separate digital Paypal account —
Kesha: No co-mingling! No co-mingling!
Anne: Co-mingling will make your life a misery. So don’t do that. And then make sure you schedule some time regularly to go through that. And third, I would say, get yourself an account. [laughs]
Kesha: For sure.
Anne: The best thing in the world. By the way the accountant can tell you, if you’re unsure, as to how, you know, what type of — everybody’s like, “well, should I do an LLC? Should I do an” — by the way, I have an S-Corp now, but I started with a DBA, but my accountant was very helpful in telling me when it was going to be appropriate for me, right, to go from one to the other, because I would save money on taxes.
Kesha: Right. That makes sense.
Anne: I know it’s not fun stuff, but you know what? It’s necessary stuff. Kesha, thanks so much for sharing those awesome tips. And you BOSSes [laughs] it’s coming up on tax time, so.
Kesha: Yeah, baby.
Anne: Yeah. [laughs] Big shout-out to our sponsor, ipDTL. You too can connect and network like a BOSS. Find out more at ipdtl.com. You guys have an amazing week. And we’ll see you next week. Thanks!
>> Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your host Anne Ganguzza. And take your business to the next level. Sign up for our mailing list at voboss.com and receive exclusive content, industry revolutionizing tips and strategies, and new ways to rock your business like a BOSS. Redistribution with permission. Coast to Coast connectivity via ipDTL.