Four Accounting Tips for Artists to Consider

Categories: Blog
Why This Matters: Beth Allen, partner at GreerWalker, offers accounting considerations for artists who make a living from their work to keep in mind.
Beth Allen (front) leading an accounting workshop for cultural nonprofit staff members. Allen was recently named partner at GreerWalker.
Beth Allen (front) leading an accounting workshop for cultural nonprofit staff members. Allen was recently named partner at GreerWalker.
By Bernie Petit
Communications Manager

Beth Allen’s involvement with Charlotte-area nonprofits started after joining CPA firm GreerWalker as an intern in 2003.

“I was doing it for career growth, but I soon realized I was getting much more out of it than I was giving,” she said.

She’s since had considerable involvement in both professional and volunteer capacities with local nonprofits, including ASC, Charlotte Ballet and Cain Center for the Arts in Cornelius.

Over the past several months she’s led two workshops for those working in the cultural community—one on new accounting standards for nonprofit organizations and the other an introduction to accounting basics for nonprofit board members and staff without financial backgrounds.

“They’re a group of people that value that expertise and look at us as a partner,” she said. “It’s my way of giving back.”

Allen, a lifelong resident of the Charlotte region with undergraduate and graduate degrees from UNC Charlotte, was named partner at GreerWalker in January.

“Beth has been a tremendous part of the success of GreerWalker during her 16-year tenure,” said Tony Smith, partner-in-charge of GreerWalker’s Assurance Practice. “She’s the first to start with the firm as an intern and progress to the partner level. We could not be prouder of her, and we look forward to her future contributions as a partner.”

She is continuing her contributions to the cultural sector by offering these four accounting considerations for artists to keep in mind:

  1. Track revenue and expenses. Consider what it takes to run your artistic practice, from space and supplies to business cards and marketing. Are you paying fees on an Etsy page? What is your net income after expenses? Consider having separate banking accounts to prevent commingling your professional and personal finances.
  2. Be organized. Whether you use a notebook or Excel, it’s important to have a basic (accounting) system in place to keep your finances organized. Depending on the size of your practice, it may make sense to utilize accounting software like QuickBooks.
  3. Set money aside. While the amount of taxes you’ll have to pay each year is based on your net income, you will still need to plan to pay taxes. Setting aside portions of your commissions as you go will keep you from having to come up with a large chunk of cash when taxes are due.
  4. Have a financial advisor. It’s important for artists who rely on the income they generate from their work to have a trusted advisor to guide decisions that impact their financial futures.