Good Bookkeeping Makes Life at the Market Easier

Bookkeeping is one of those things that make most people cringe! But it’s also one of those things that makes your life as a market manager or vendor that mush easier when done properly. And like most things, there is a wide assortment of methods and good products available based on the size of your operation. Let’s have a look at some basic considerations that should be part of good bookkeeping practices.

The Basics of Bookkeeping

The fundamentals of bookkeeping are based on tracking revenue and expenses. To do this, most systems utilize a ‘Chart of Accounts’. The Chart of Accounts lists all the ‘accounts’ or primary types of your business’ income and expenses of your market or business. If you work with a bookkeeper or a chartered professional accountant, they will most likely provide direction on which accounts are necessary for doing taxes and managing the organization.

Income accounts can include: vendor booth fees, sponsorship, grants, fundraising and other income. Expense accounts can include: employees and contractors, legal and professional services, bank fees, supplies, rent, advertising and promotions, insurance and a catch all such as miscellaneous.

If you are not using accounting software, records should be kept electronically in a spreadsheet (Microsoft Excel) on your computer. It may be easier to keep track manually in a notebook while at the market and then transfer to your spreadsheet when back at home.

Bookkeeping is one of those things that make most people cringe! But it’s also one of those things that makes your life as a market manager or vendor that mush easier when done properly.

Things That Require Tracking

The documents you need to keep are receipts for expenses or purchases as well as invoices for sales. If you’re not able to get a receipt for an expense, make a note of the purchase and include the details.

While most accounting software packages allow you to keep electronic records of documents, if you are using a simple spreadsheet for bookkeeping, it is easy to keep track electronically as well. For invoices issued, keep a pdf copy of all invoices on your computer. For expenses, there are several free PDF scanner apps that allow you to use your phone to take a photo of a receipt which will convert the photo to a pdf which can then be stored on your computer. You can find an app by searching: free pdf scanner app.

Accounting Software

While some markets or vendors may want to keep things simple and use an Excel spreadsheet, there are several alternatives for software to make the task easier. While there is a cost to utilizing most accounting software, remember that the cost is a deductible expense and utilizing software will save you a ton of time and effort. Here are a few popular software packages available.


Quickbooks is the market leader in accounting software as it has outstanding general accounting features that can be customized easily for markets or vendors. It is cloud based meaning you simply subscribe and access the latest version immediately. Your data is automatically synced across your devices so you can access it from anywhere. It also means you can run your business from the office, the car or the kitchen table.

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Wave accounting software is free and the perfect solution for small markets. Wave is a fully cloud-based double-entry accounting application, meaning its users do not even have to download and install the application, and Wave is functional on a variety of mobile devices. As a cloud application, access to Wave is possible from any desktop, laptop, or mobile device. However, the free Wave offering is restricted to a single user. Wave is also popular due to its easy-to-read and navigate dashboard. Users will have few issues navigating the Wave platform.

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FreshBooks is a good choice for small businesses because of its exceptional usability and aesthetic properties—and its smart selection of features. It’s easy and fast but still detailed enough to satisfy your accountant Bottom line is that it saves you time and makes you look professional.

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Consistency Makes the Difference

Unless you love numbers, the task of bookkeeping is like watching paint dry (apologies to accountants!). Life is much easier if you take a structured approach and look after completing the week-to-week requirements in a consistent manner. At very minimum, you should deal with updating your entries at the conclusion of each market day, if not that day, then the day after. Every time you receive a receipt, bank statement or invoice, file it in the correct folder on your computer right away. Storing receipts in a drawer works for short periods of time but the longer they live in the drawer, the harder it gets to remember specifics. If you really can’t get to this task after the market, try handling the chore at mid-month and end of month. At year’s end, you’ll feel some much better with a little effort.