Bookkeeping spreadsheet for authors and writers (please share!)

September 22nd, 2014 → 8:56 am @


I had lunch with a friend, Joules Evans, author of Shaken Not Stirred: A Chemo Cocktail from my writers group and we talked about taxes and the dreaded record keeping.

Joules is a writer (and a very funny one!) and she detests keeping records, but she knows it is important to her success as a business owner (and because I nagged her!)

I tried to make it easy on her and shared this spreadsheet I created with her. Joules doesn’t need accounting software like Quickbooks to track her income and expenses. A simple spreadsheet will do.

Then I had an “aha!” moment and thought I’d share it with you all, too.


Author Bookkeeping Spreadsheet

(click to open the spreadsheet)

Please feel free to share this spreadsheet. All I ask is that you do not delete the box on the first tab giving me credit.

I hope it’s helpful!

Carol Topp, CPA

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13 Comments → “Bookkeeping spreadsheet for authors and writers (please share!)”

  1. […] you want to keep it basic, you can either use the digital or printed version of this accounting spreadsheet created by accountant and author Carol […]

  2. Katharine Godbey

    9 years ago

    Great spreadsheet! Thanks for sharing this. Where you recommend putting in paypal fees? Misc.?

  3. wendy beasley

    9 years ago

    Thank you Carol, It’ll be very helpful.
    Are your suggestions equally valid for those in Canada?
    Happy holidays – Wendy

  4. Carol

    9 years ago

    Wendy, I’m happy to offer the spreadsheet. I’m not familiar with Canadian taxes or deductions to be able to answer your question! Sorry.
    I do know that good record keeping is essential in every country! 🙂
    Carol Topp, CPA

  5. Carol

    9 years ago

    I put my Paypal fees and other banking fees (like credit card fees) in a category called Bank Fees. You could put them under Misc if they are insubstantial. My fees started adding up, so I created a separate category for them.
    On the tax return (Schedule C of the Form 1040), I put bank fees under Other Expenses.

  6. Leah E. Good

    9 years ago

    Wow. What a great resource. Quick question. Putting a dollar amount into the “income” category flows into the “total expenses” category. Is that an error or am I missing something? Also, I see you have “office” and “postage” listed separately. Are they considered different categories on the tax form or do you combine them for that?

  7. Carol

    9 years ago

    Thank you for pointing out that error in the spreadsheet. I fixed it and have uploaded a corrected version.
    Postage (you paying to ship out books) could be included as part of Cost of Goods Sold on your tax return. I separated it from Office Expenses, just to have visibility into how much I was spending on postage.

  8. Thanks so much for this info, Carol. So glad I found your site just before tax time!

  9. […] separating everything out and keeping good records, starting now. Topp offers a free downloadable business income/expense spreadsheet you can use to keep track of your podcast finances. While Topp’s site is aimed at writers, […]

  10. Brenda S. Anderson

    7 years ago

    Thank you, Carol, for providing this very helpful resource, and for sharing your expertise with fellow authors.

  11. Vicki

    6 years ago

    Thank you so much! I have Quickbooks and they are selling and to upgrade costs $$. I hardly use any feature except income/expenses. This is absolutely perfect!

  12. Timeko Whitaker

    6 years ago


    The spreadsheet was extremely helpful. I would like to talk with you by phone when possible. I think we could partner. I have over 50 authors and would love your help. 317.710.9533

  13. […] spreadsheet templates available online. Just search ‘free spreadsheet for authors’. This is a nice, simple spreadsheet —  great for new authors. Find one you like and use it! Even the most attractive spreadsheet […]