Where can I learn about accounting and small business administration?
November 26, 2009 10:12 AM   Subscribe

Where can I learn about accounting and small business administration?

My husband and I own a small record label. In the last couple of years, it began picking up, and at the moment we find ourselves working with at least 5 bands at a time. Anyway, things are paid for, records designed and printed, artists fees met, and revenue is received, all in an incredibly disorderly manner. We tried to keep track of things but we have come to the realization the we haven't a clue about how to do it. a friend even told us that it was very silly of us not to keep track of our business expenses for tax purposes, and also said we should be paying ourselves wages. Is this true?

Can you help me find a place were I can learn how to manage a small business, that isn't necessarily college? I am thinking something on the lines of accounting/business administration would help, but i definitely don't want a degree, since I may soon start graduate school, and my husband is currently enrolled.
posted by Tarumba to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I assume you're also not looking at MBA programs.

Probably a good place to start would be the SBA Training Network, in particular their links to local mentoring programs.
posted by dhartung at 11:03 AM on November 26, 2009

I know you said that you would prefer an option that isn't college, but I would suggest that you investigate options from your local university or community college for either taking a 'certificate' type program that is meant to take up only one term's worth of time or in taking courses for personal/professional enrichment that do not earn you college credits.

Many community colleges offer courses such as Small Business Management and Bookkeeping (could be called something like Applied Accounting) that you can take without necessarily interfering in your graduate studies or your husband's coursework.

Alternatively, since it seems you're in the US, you might want to look at the Small Business Administration's offerings, such as courses in finance and accounting.
posted by asciident at 11:12 AM on November 26, 2009

You should be paying yourself an income, yes. You need to separate your personal finance from those of your business.
posted by dfriedman at 11:30 AM on November 26, 2009

What you're looking for is classes in entrepreneurship, which will give you a background in running and growning a small business. There are often a series of classes or workshops available from local community colleges with info on accounting and taxes, financing and marketing. This may be available for free or a nominal fee.

But a simple plan begins with a business checking account and credit card. All money in and out of the business should flow thru this account which you should track with Quickbooks or a similiar program. You will be surprised how easy this is. Quickbooks is nothing more than an electronic check register that does all the math for you. You need nothing more than a regular old check book with handwritten checks. Now you have not just yourselves to keep track of but you owe it to the bands you are working with to keep better track of things.

Good luck and here's hoping you become benevolent tycoons!
posted by readery at 7:02 PM on November 26, 2009

Small Time Operator is a nifty book that goes over a lot of the sort of thing you need to do to keep your small business organized.

I would say you definitely, definitely need to keep track of your business expenses - both for tax purposes and to know whether you're truly profitable. As to paying yourself a salary, that's up to you - a small business can often choose to go either the salary route or the cash draw route, but either way, you will need to know how that affects your taxes at the end of each year.

Good luck with your label! I used to run a little indie label, and I know how immensely rewarding it can be.
posted by kristi at 11:56 AM on November 27, 2009

I'm currently taking classes put on by the Women's Initiative for Self-Employment, for low-income women entrepreneurs. A mentor of mine took classes offered by her local Chamber of Commerce.

Try your local community college, your Chamber of Commerce, or SCORE.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 3:12 PM on November 27, 2009

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