Rosie Slosek of One Man Band Accounting is very used to our free-agent ways, and recognises that this is not our favourite annual event.
Uh-oh. The tax return elephant is in the room again.
I have good news.
Doing your self assessment tax return isn’t nearly as bad as eating an elephant.
I give you:
The 7-Step Plan To Tax Return Organisation for Disorganised Freeagent
- Put the kettle on
Let’s start with the basics. A good cup of tea or coffee makes the world go round. There is a
reason the insurance industry started in an 17th century coffee house and the cafe at Foyles
bookshop is always jammed to the rafters. It works.
You know you’re going to. You’re creative, go with the flow, stop fighting it. You have 25 minutes to do full immersion hard-core procrastination with my full permission.
- Get your stuff together
Go get your records: bank statements, receipts, invoices, diary, e-records, everything you need. All the e-records (eg. Paypal emails) put in a folder and highlight/star, so you know when you’ve dealt with each one. Sort the physical records into months.
- Make the tea
I appreciate the water will need boiling again. That’s a reminder that your goal in future years is Put The Kettle On-Have Records Already At Hand & Sorted-Make Tea and will be one single graceful move, with optional Piece of Cake. In the meantime, make your tea.
- Block out distractions and GET ON WITH IT!
Edmund Blackadder is on your tail with a pair of medieval pliers. Your mother is watching you with That Look. Your chocolate teapot is melting. The bridge of Not Doing It has been burnt behind you.
‘Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone.
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled moan
Bring out the records, let the tax return get done.’ (With apologies to Auden)
You have your tea, you get paid in cake when you’re done. Do it.
- Feel how fabulous you are
You have done it. Well done. Give yourself a moment. Celebrate, for you have given yourself the gift of less stress. Less stress means more time for paid work.
- Do what you need to do next
Email your accountant, email me, email your dad who may or may not know what he’s doing. Ask for help if you know you need it, aren’t sure what to do, or if this whole post makes your brain go ‘ahhhhhh! help!’. We don’t bite and the first step is the hardest.
This is often a good time to look over your current way of doing things and see if it’s still working for you – or ask if you’re new to freelancing, running a business. Clue – if keeping your records isn’t mostly easy and stress free, something needs to change.
Have a look at your numbers. Are you happy with them? Where can you increase profit, increase your profit margin, get paid faster, reduce expenses? Any cash flow issues? Have a review. Ask forhelp with that too, it doesn’t hurt to ask, and it’s good if you suggest a budget range so any quote is realistic to what you can afford.
Well done for getting this far. I won’t pretend it’s fun, but it shouldn’t be stressful.
Make a pact with a fellow freeagent to keep you accountable or sign up for my Accountability weekly email on my website.
Now, time for that glass of wine and a chocolate brownie.
Written in the cafe at Foyles, Tottenham Court Road, London.
Rosie Slosek runs One Man Band Accounting, supporting one man bands in the UK with
hassle and fear-free accounts mentoring, with a home made brownie for every client. Start your
week well and sign up for her free Accountability email every Monday morning at 8am.