The Proofreader's Parlour
A blog for editors, proofreaders and writers
I was chatting recently with some fellow editorial freelancers, and a few of us shared our accounts spreadsheets so that we could see how we each keep track of our projects.
I've added my own Excel spreadsheet template (scroll to the end of the article) for anyone who wants to take a look or download it for their own use.
The figures are completely made up but show the basic structure.
For new entrants to the field, there's a lot to think about when setting up your business, and it's especially with these people in mind that I've shared this template.
If you're a newbie, perhaps you can use this as an interim way of managing your accounts; one less thing to worry about for now!
This template includes a number of columns with formulae that I find useful.
Another thing I like to do is differentiate between different stages of the process. I use black text for complete and paid-for projects, red for complete and payment pending, green for active, and blue for forthcoming. It helps me to see, at a glance, what's going on in my schedule, especially when a client asks about availability.
I keep track of whether the job will be returned to a client via email, the post office or courier (at the client's expense). The UK's HMRC allows the freelancer to offset a percentage of mileage costs against their tax liabilities.
I've also elected to have a little summary box at the bottom of the spreadsheet. This shows me my average earnings, my average hourly rate and my average rate per 1,000 words.
These figures are really only for curiosity, since each job varies quite considerably in size, type, budget, difficulty and speed.
If I was doing any serious analysis I'd look more deeply into the data to assess whether there are patterns in terms of, say, client type, service offered and subject matter.
Feel free to copy, amend or ignore as you see fit. You can add your own formulae to particular columns if the way in which you charge for your work differs in some cases. I'm no Excel guru but I am familiar with the basics, so if you're unsure of the correct formula that you'd need for a particular cell or group of cells, feel free to ask.
Louise Harnby is a professional proofreader and copyeditor. She curates The Proofreader's Parlour and is the author of several books on business planning and marketing for editors and proofreaders.
Visit her business website at Louise Harnby | Proofreader, say hello on Twitter at @LouiseHarnby, or connect via Facebook and LinkedIn.
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Winner of the Judith Butcher Award 2017 in respect of 'highly visible contributions to the SfEP and its membership'.