How to manage finances – Income, and Expenses as an Artist
While building Stoned Santa, I had the opportunity to interact with 1000s of artists who come from different backgrounds and specialize in different art forms – Caricatures, Illustrations, Handicrafts, Portraits, and many more.
One thing that remained constant throughout was their struggle to manage and deal with managing their finances, and keeping a track of their income, and expenses.
I think I have hardly met any artist who claims to have their financial management in check with a structured way to approach, and I am writing this article in the hopes that it will help someone.
This blog is a detailed account of how artists can track and manage their finances, and business operations using one of the best free tools I have come across – Refrens.
Although the company provides for a lot of great tools that can take care of a business’s finance management needs end to end, in this blog we will cover 3 key tools provided by Refrens that are vital for a business to operate –
- Invoicing – Creation of professional invoices
- Expense Management – Recording Expenses, adding vendors, etc
- Payments – A gateway to accept payments(international & national), & a tool to track income, cashflow & expected income
Many artists would relate to this feeling of sending out payment requests over Whatsapp, or email, and then losing track of the payment, and the corresponding documentation related to a deal or order they have served.
With Refrens’s invoice creation tool, one can choose from multiple design templates for invoices, and create invoices on the go.
Following is a snapshot from my Refrens dashboard that gives me an overview of the following details –
- Total number of invoices
- The total amount of invoices amount due
- Payment received, Amount due
- GST amount – To be paid to the government
- TDS – Tax Deducted at Source
The best part about generating an invoice from Refrens is that you can send out the invoices to the customer, and the dashboard allows you to monitor the following important details –
- Invoice details – Date of invoice generated, Due date
- Status of the invoice – Paid, Unpaid
- Invoice status – Unread, sent, unsent, etc
The powerful dashboard provided by Refrens allows you to keep a track of all your invoices, and information related to it at one place which makes it super convenient to track and manage.
There are 2 major types of expenses that occur when you’re running a business,
- Fixed Expenses – These are recurring expenses that a business has to pay to keep the operations running – Salaries, Rent, EMIs are some examples of Fixed Expenses.
- Variable costs – These may or may not be recurring. Example – Marketing expenses, costs incurred on shipping, etc
Measuring expense is a breeze with the suite of tools provided by Refrens, and some of the key features of their expense management tool are as follows –
- Creation of expense & vendor reports – This implies that a business can not only track the number of expenses done by them, but segregate it vendor wise to truly understand where their money is being spent, and accordingly plan their expenses, or optimize them as per need.
- Easy management of all expenses at one place – More often than not freelancers, and small businesses have their expenses all over the place which is not only unproductive but can prove fatal when planning for growth. With the expense management tool by Refrens, it’s super easy to have all the records of expenses in one place that can be visualized using graphs through reports.
Attached is a snapshot of how expenses are tracked in the tool, and the best part about this is all of this is GST compliant, and for people who struggle with GST have one less thing to worry about. The GST compliant expense reports allow a business to precisely measure the amount of money they can get back as GST input credit.
The dashboard allows you to keep a track of your expenses, and view them in real-time, and know their status – Due, Overdue, Paid.
A payment gateway is a final integration that makes the entire suite of tools offered by Refrens a complete package for any freelancer or a business owner.
The payment gateway allows people to collect all forms of payment – be it national or international, and in partnership with Cashfree, Refren’s payment gateway is super smooth to use, and its integration with its financial services.
The payment gateway charges are one of the best offered by Refrens, which is as follows –
Domestic Payment : 2.9% + GST
International Payment : 4.9% + GST
Minimum charge per transaction: INR 25
All in all, if we look at the suite of tools provided by Refrens, then it is safe to say that it is the one-stop tool that freelancers, artists, and small businesses need to get their work going.