I began using Quickbooks as an author at least 10 years ago. Back then the “Simple Start” program was free, a downloadable version of Quickbooks that allowed up to 10 vendors and unlimited income. It made it easy for me to keep track of business expenses and prepare a profit and loss for tax preparation. Though there is no longer a free version of QuickBooks, I wanted to talk about a very important aspect of royalty payments, and that’s invoicing.
As an author, you may think that invoicing won’t work for you. After all, you don’t invoice publishers. You simply wait for the royalty statements…right?Not so fast. Many publishers have a threshold for sending payments. When this happens, you may receive a statement, but not a payment until many months later. It’s important to be able to go back to the statements and reconcile with the payment to make sure you’re getting paid the full amount owed.
Some publishers may include information in the payment breakdown, but many simply send a statement and then a check later with no indications of what the check covers. That’s where “invoicing” comes in handy.
When I receive a royalty statement, I use “Create Invoice” in Quickbooks. I put in the publisher (Customer) and the amount, as well as a note for what the invoice is for. This allows me to keep a record of the money owed to me.
Once the royalty payment arrives, I use the “Receive Payment” in Quickbooks and put in the information. Because I’ve already put in my invoice, Quickbooks will ask me which invoice(s) I want paid and apply the payment. I don’t need to worry about what month(s) the check may be for, because Quickbooks reconciles it with the inputted invoice. If there are any discrepancies, then I can go back to the publisher and ask for clarification based on my records.
I found that when I started tracking my expected royalties this way that I radically increased my peace of mind. I now knew how much to expect since I knew what the threshold was for each publisher, and I knew which month(s) I had been paid for.
For the publishers that provide checks and statements, those I entered in as “Sales Receipts” and had the information handy.
May you be unscrambled when it comes to your payments, and if you’d like help creating systems or using technology, please contact me using the help button in the lower-left hand corner.
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