View Full Version : Accounting?

10-08-2001, 03:51 PM
How do you keep your records of sales? I'm always trying to improve on my bookkeeping for Ebay auctions!

Personally, I keep a notebook with plastic slip-in pages (called Sheet Protectors). When I set up a new item for auction, I print out the listing and slip it into one of the sheet protectors.

When I get a bid on that painting, I use a large blue paper clip on the side to tell me it has been bid on...Blue = Bids

When it closes, I write the high bidder info on a 5x7 index card and clip it to the same page with a "yellow" paper clip...which means its on hold for payment.

When the payment arrives I add info on how the bidder paid to the index card. If I can ship immediately, a green paper clip is used to tell me...its green for go!

After shipping, I drop the receipts from the po into the sheet protector along with the index card and the paper clip is removed. That way I know its been shipped!

This helps me with keeping up with buyers who purchase more than one painting too!


10-08-2001, 05:52 PM
Sounds like you have a great system. I especially like all the color clues you use to tickle your memory.

I have had zero internet sales....so tracking in this area is not a problem for me, but I can share with you my method of keeping up with what has to be done on some of my business projects which could translate very well to sales. Here goes...

I use WORD to make a list of everything that has to be done for a particular project. I have columns for beginning dates and completion dates. As each activity has been completed.... I check it off and fill in information that I need or add notes. At any given time, I can look and see what is still left to do. Each project has the same list.... I just mark through the ones that don't apply. Keeping the list the same for each project keeps me from having to stumble through reading every line because I've grown acustomed to where to find what information quickly.

I keep all of my project information in folders and then on the outside of each folder, I place my project check list ( I just tape the sheet to the outside). Then when I pull that folder, I don't have to look through the folder to see what is going on... I just glance at the outside. The folders I use are the pocket kind so things don't fall out.

I think a binder with sheet protectors would be excellent for sales. You could place your tracking sheet so it would show through and just file the backup behind it .... I think that is what you already do with your index cards.

The tracking sheet could look something like this:

Item Number: ___
Medium: ________________
Title: ___________________
Image Disk Made: _____________ (place inside folder)

Sales Information:
Individual Sale: __
Gallery Sale: ___
Auction: __
Donation: ____
Artist's Collection: _____

Set Price:

Gallery Address: _________
Phone Number: _________
Contact Person: _________

Auction Address: _______
Auction List Date: ______
Auction Listing Printed: Y ... N
Opening date:______
Bids: ____ _____ ____ _____ _____ _____ ____
Closing date:
Bid accepted: _______Who______________________

Payment Received Date:
Payment Method:
Ship Instuctions:
Ship Date:
Customer information added to contact list: Y ... N

Thank you note: _______

This would need to be modified as you found what information you really need to keep up with and what steps you really need to take... but it would be a great beginning.

Thanks for making us all think about records. They are so important. I think having a master list at the beginning of your book or file cabinet would also be great so that when you sold an item you could mark that item sold. It would be great to see how many of your paintings you have actually sold.

Wow you have my head spinning just thinking about how you could use this information to help make wise choices and keep up with all the facts you need to sell your work. Guess you could also add tax information as well. Sigh.

10-08-2001, 10:24 PM
This is a good topic. I would sure like to know what every body does. I started out with special software, Working Artist. I liked it a lot, it's every comprehensive, but after a while I found it too much trouble. I switched to setting up a spreadsheet in my computer listing all my paintings. But I also like to keep track of shows, I want to know where each painting has been shown, what the price was, etc. But I was always reprinting my master list every time I made an addition, and that was a pain. In the end, I ended up going to a manual system (talk about going backwards). I now use index cards. I have a card for each painting, details are shown on top as to title, medium, size, price, whatever. Below I list every time I show the painting somewhere, until it is sold. When sold, I put it in a different section in my box (move from 'paintings for sale' to 'paintings sold'). I also keep a card for every show or venue, listing all the paintings shown at that time. This way I can keep track of what I've shown and where, because I can't show the same painting twice in the same show, so I need to know. It's old fashioned but it sure works for me.

As to the original question, I never sell more than a couple at a time and I always ship as soon as payment is confirmed so I don't find that hard to keep track of. I don't have special records for that.

10-08-2001, 11:07 PM
Hi Girls,

I found it!

I keep track of my ebay sales right now with lo tech, index cards like suzette.
I make a card when a piece is sold; title, size, framed or not, date sold, high bid, whether it was a Buy It now, the fixed ship, and then the actual that I paid for future reference.
Also record the buyer, address, email and whether or not they left feedback. Right now each card is numbered so I always know how many sold, when sold and if I want, I can get a total quickly,see the total amount of all sales. Also note ship date and receipt date.

I also print out the deposit sheet from Billpoint for my records there.

10-08-2001, 11:29 PM
I do a monthly printout from BillPoint and from PayPal.

And a monthly printout from my eBay account...this one really helps me to keep up with all the listing fees I pay and final fees...to eBay.

Then taxes are easier...I have all the totals monthly for my fees paid and my gross amount received.


10-09-2001, 07:35 AM
Wow, you guys are so organised!

I do a monthly printout of my ebay and paypal accounts - I just add each up and enter them as one item each in my accounting book: PayPal Fees and Ebay Fees.

I don't keep track of what's on auction. I just check my auctions every day. I have a separate pile of work that is for eBay so I can pick and choose what I list. When something sells they get a receipt from my receipt book just like anything that sells in the real world. Carbon copies of the receipts go in the accounting book. Since I list a bunch of things at once, they all finish the same day and anything sold gets packed to go, then put in another pile until funds clear.

I probably should have an inventory system but tried in the past and just couldn't keep up with it. The only record I have is a digital image of everything I've done which is kept in an ongoing images folder for my web site. I have separate lists of everything that is in a certain gallery/show/competition so I know what is out and what is in and available for the next competition.

Believe it or not, internet/computer guru me does all her books and lists on paper. :D


10-12-2001, 12:25 AM
Hey, thanks guys. I didn't know you could get a printout of your account. I'll do that from now on. Nice and easy.

10-19-2001, 11:26 AM
I use an Excel spreadsheet that includes EVERYthing -- starting bid, a link to the HTML template description I use for that particular item, etc. I can use this same spreadsheet to track my non-Ebay sales, too... it's basically a list of everything I've ever made and key information about where it went. Then I can sort or filter by title, date, price, whether it's sold or not, etc.

There's a column where I can note whether or not the item is currently up for auction (I note this by dropping the link in that slot, which of course includes the item number). If it sells I add the end bid, how much I've been paid by the bidder (that's how I know whether to ship), a column with a tracking number once I ship it, and the date it was shipped. Another column for whether or not I've received confirmation that it arrived. ANOTHER column for whether or not we've left each other eBay feedback.

I've been seriously considering turning this into an MSAccess-based mini-application for myself, customized to my needs. I've seen and used WorkingArtist myself, but it doesn't have blanks for everything I want to make a note of... and I'm more familiar with Excel and Access for generating custom reports.

So I can check for example, how much $ I've sold in a particular year, and then check how much of that was auction-based... I track how my clients find me (friends? random internet people? people who saw my business card?) and I can use that to study which of my marketing schemes work.

Complicated enough for ya?

-=- Jen

10-19-2001, 12:33 PM
I have a cardboard box which have within it manilla file folders. Each are marked for eBay sells, Postage costs or all postage receipts, insurance etc. Other auction sales and one for my supplies costs receipts. One also for my eBay costs, I also make print outs from My eBay for that. For the eBay sells folder, I print out the winning auction including the picture of the sold painting. When I receive payment for the painting, I staple the envelope, letter whatever that the payment came in to that auction. On the first page of the printout I record when and how payment came and date I sent the painting. ( I only take Money Order or Check payments) Most of the time I will put check information or scan and print out a copy of the Money Order to. I have a notebook where I keep my blank Sale invoices and also copies of each sales invoice that I send to my customers along with a Columnar Pad that I may one day get all my numbers recorded into. I also keep records of my buyers. I don't use them for spam. I use them in case I need them for taxes or etc.
Well that's about it.
(Believe it or not, I love paperwork)

10-22-2001, 07:10 AM
Jen, I am like you in that I liked MSAccess. Check out the program created to fit that software by Rick Lee. I have started using it, taken a break from computer, and will now have to start again with his program. I even started customizing it for my ways. I have been trying to list all my previous paintings in this program - so it will take quite a while to bring it up to date. But it will be wonderful to have a complete inventory with everything needed to track or print a report. I even created a separate database for the frames that I collect (antique). I am still learning MSAccess - have a long way to go.

Rick Lee is a member of WetCanvas - do a search for his program. Sorry I don't have the link. Think you might like it.

Good Luck!

Marsha --
Marsha Hamby Savage Art (http://marshasavage.artistnation.com)

10-23-2001, 11:33 PM
I don't have MSAccess. Too expensive. :(

Nancy Lee
01-20-2005, 12:08 PM
:clap: Whew, finally found it. I've been looking for this thred for 2 days. I currently have about three ways I am keeping track of my paintings. Very confusing..... I need one, and maybe a back-up I'd think.
Since you've all posted in this thread, have any of you changed the way you keep books?

Thanks ....... Looking foreward to seeing what has changed.

01-20-2005, 12:56 PM
right now I am using Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. It is the easiest way so far. I do like Carly's method. I could use those colored reminders....if only I can remember to use them. :D

01-20-2005, 01:15 PM
I use QuickBooks Pro to manage all the money end and invoicing. For just a tally of my paintings, I have a spreadsheet, with multiple pages for each venue I list to keep track of where my sales are. I also use this to number all of my paintings. I do this to have a ready set of item numbers for setting up PayPal buttons. I also keep a digital image of all paintings and archive past year's paintings.


01-20-2005, 01:39 PM
I use QuickBooks Pro to manage all the money end and invoicing. For just a tally of my paintings, I have a spreadsheet, with multiple pages for each venue I list to keep track of where my sales are. I also use this to number all of my paintings. I do this to have a ready set of item numbers for setting up PayPal buttons. I also keep a digital image of all paintings and archive past year's paintings.


me too.... if you are listed as a biz with the state/fed govt. it's a great program for entering ALL of your studio/shipping/art supply receipts as you go.

It's a little 'spensive, but very good.

01-20-2005, 07:59 PM
I too printed out each month's Paypal activity and each month's eBay invoice info...on each listing that sold I marked SOLD (that was fun!)...if I relisted I added that...and if I painted over the painting I told what I painted. Ha!

I've always kept a ledger sheet to keep track of where my paintings have gone. Names addresses tel#'s that sort of thing...how much it sold for too.

What I need to do is copy each listing as they sell to keep with the shipping documentation. That way I will gain experience in how much to charge for shipping.

What I really like is seeing the $$$ that are accumulating on Paypal because I signed up for their 1.5% cashback program.

01-21-2005, 01:41 AM
I've been using Quicken for about three years to take care of basic accounting. It's far cheaper than QuickBooks and has way more features than I am likely ever to need.

I keep track of my works for sale and sold in an Access database, which I also use to power my website. I wouldn't use the computer method otherwise -- probably just index cards would suffice -- but the database makes keeping web pages up to date MUCH easier and faster, so the web stuff has more of a tendency to get done.


Nancy Lee
01-21-2005, 08:10 PM
Thanks for all the interesting replys.
I use: the index cards .... I've used them, add more info. & as time goes on some are pretty messy.

I use Rick Lee's template on Access..... (Thank you Rick)... it's great.

I've also in the past used llis project sheet.... I really like that... I'd even print out a sketch of what my original thought for the painting would be, and a finished picture of my painting and adheared them to my project sheet, .... I love seeing... and handling all my finished projects. All the accomplichments if you will. I think if I continue to use this, I think I'll some how incorporate Carly's color coding.

So.... I think after all this I'll eleminate my index cards, just keep a binder of my project sheets, and then Access for a computer file. BUT........ where is my mailing list? located someplace else? so I'd have a 3rd batch of "record" keeping? Care to share how you manage with that list?