I have had quite a few messages and e-mails recently asking about how I organize my records and prepare for tax season.
PLEASE NOTE ~ I am not a tax professional. Take any advice I or anyone else on the internet gives you with a grain of salt.
This is just an explanation of how I try to keep myself organized, and then I hand over all my numbers to our accountant who actually files our taxes (which are complicated not only by my eBay business but also by a past job of my husband which gave us shares of a company which requires us to file taxes in multiple states – it’s nuts!)
I keep a spreadsheet in which I track all supply purchases.
I keep a spreadsheet in which I track all inventory purchases.
I have a pocket calendar in which I note all mileage (seriously, mileage adds up!!)
I also figure out my totals for electric/heating/internet/cell phone bills, and give those totals to my accountant because a portion can be written off.
(And I’m sure there is more, this is just off the top of my head.)
In the past I would also download sales records from eBay and/or Paypal to figure out my shipping costs, eBay and Paypal fees, and sales totals.
For the last two years I have purchased and used the spreadsheet from Easy Auction Trackers. Holy heck, has this made things easier. It automatically imports all of the sales/shipping/fees info for me. All I have to input is my cost of goods sold. I purchased the spreadsheet at the beginning of the year in 2015 and again in 2016. You can import the last 90 days worth of listings, so as long as you are downloading at least every 2-3 months you’ll keep up with all of the info you need.
I started using it at the beginning of 2015, and it made things easier … except I was still struggling to keep track of how much I paid for items. I had it recorded in my inventory spreadsheet, but I had thousands of things recorded in my spreadsheet, so finding the right one could be tricky and TIME CONSUMING! Especially when I was procrastinating most of it until the end of the year.
2016 dawned, and I had a new strategy, which has worked SO well. Now when I list an item I make a note to myself at the very bottom which includes the date I listed the item, HOW MUCH I PAID FOR IT, where I bought it, and the date I bought it. It looks something like this:
Gibberish, right? At least I hope that’s all it looks like. But it means I listed the item today, 12/29/16, and paid $2 for it at Value Village on 12/15/16. So when I need to update my Easy Auction Tracker‘s spreadsheet I have two screens open, the spreadsheet and my sales page on eBay. I look at my spreadsheet and find first item I need to update. I find that item on my eBay sales page, click into the listing to see how much I paid for it, update the spreadsheet, and then move on to my next sale.
This has made my life soooooooooo much easier. The added benefit is that eBay only keeps our sales listed in our account for 90 days, so I can only procrastinate about that long, and then I need to get busy updating my spreadsheet. If I waited any longer I would be losing information off the back end, which I really don’t want to do. It makes me stay fairly up-to-date!
I started eBaying around five years ago, and it has taken me that long to finally figure out a system that works for me that makes me feel organized and really confident in the numbers I am handing over to my accountant.
The Easy Auction Trackers spreadsheet is really easy to use, and also offers a bunch of other features and reports I haven’t even taken the time to figure out. In the two years I have used it I have only ever had an issue once where things weren’t downloading correctly. I e-mailed them, they asked me to e-mail me a copy of my spreadsheet to them as an attachment, they did a little magic on their end, and voila! It was working perfectly again. Great customer service.
If you’re looking for a spreadsheet to use I’d definitely recommend this one. They also have a trial version if you want to check it out before you commit. And it’s nice that it is a once a year flat fee, vs an ongoing expense. (If you break it down, the cost is approx $4/mo.)
If nothing else, if you think it could be helpful I would recommend making a note in your listing as to your paid price. That one thing has made all the difference in my record keeping this year!
How about you? Have you figured out any tips or tricks to keep yourself organized? I would love to hear about it!
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