Growth Group | Accounting for Musicians

Paper Chasers and Stackers

I don’t like paper, but you keep chasing paper and stacking it. Well, that’s great! But, then what do you do with the paper you’ve stacked?

Paper, is a term for money it is also used often in the hip-hop and rap music genres. But, instead of talking about making money in the music business, today I’m referring to paper as receipts, invoices, bills, and contracts.

Paperless accounting works well for musicians, artists and other entrepreneurs (including accountants). Here are some tips to keep your business records organized:

  • Chasing Paper: Run around and collect all your business documents. This includes travel receipts (hotel, gas, train, plane, rental car, meals, or hey, even a tour bus), equipment purchases (instruments, computers, even iPhones), agreements you have signed (aka contracts), and any other paper items related to your business. Many of these can be tax deductions, so look everywhere!
  • Stack Paper: Organize all of your paper that you chased and stack it into related piles. For example, put your ASSet receipts (business items that can be used for 3+ years – like your guitar) in one stack and your meals for on road traveling for business into another, you get it.
  • Rip It Up: Okay, wait. Not yet! Take all of the documents and scan them into an electronic format (such as PDF files) or if you already had electronic receipts simply organize them into a folder using your e-mail account. Once you have them all in one place, find a qualified accountant to hold them until they’re ready to be utilized. Okay, now you can rip or shred and recycle the paper.

This method is the most time consuming and difficult way to keep your business records. It also risks you loosing the paper before you start chasing it, so consider an online accounting system to help keep records in real-time. We use Xero. No more paper chasing!

If you’re interested in giving back to invest in future musical artists, consider donating to The Musicianship and sponsor a musician to attend their 6-week summer band camp. (Yes, you may even be able to write it off)