It’s been awhile since I’ve done a book review. As I’ve recently done my taxes, I thought I’d talk about a text that I own and have consulted when I decided to set up a company to produce and market Sunnyville Stories.
This book is titled Small Time Operator written by Bernard B. Kamoroff, a certified public accountant, and published by Taylor Trade.
Before I continue, I need to emphasize a very important DISCLAIMER to all your readers out there: my blog is not a substitute for any sort of legal, financial, dealing with the government, tax advice and so on. Please consult the appropriate individuals for information and advice on starting a business. The information I mentioned in this blog post also applies more to the United States; if you are reading this in another country like Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, and so on, you’ll have to check local resources to see what to do about turning your creative enterprise into an official business.
That said, the book itself has gone through many editions. I possess the 12th edition of Small Time Operator with a copyright date of 2011. Taxes, laws, fees, regulations, official paper forms and so on are constantly changing so the book is not able to keep track of everything. The book itself is also in its 14th edition at the time of this writing; should this text interest you, you are best off getting the latest edition.
Now for the book itself – it starts up with a preface that explains what the book is and that it’s meant for the self-employed, whether you run a service business, a mail-order company, offer consulting services or make comics (like me). The various chapters then talk in depth about getting started, bookkeeping (a must), growing a business, taxes, home businesses, handy advice for your own businesses and an appendix with ledgers available for you to photocopy.
The first chapter about getting started discussing the realities of running a small business, location, financing, legal structures, and some other legal information. The second chapter deals with the topic of bookkeeping. It explains why you need to keep track of your business finances, business bank accounts, credit and how to use all this information.
I’d like to say that this chapter alone along with the aforementioned blank ledger sheets in the back are worth the price of the book as well as their weight in gold. Tracking how much money comes in and how much you are spending is a must when you make comics (or for any business venture). This is also very important when it comes time to pay taxes.
The third chapter talks about growing your business like hiring employees, incorporating and partnerships. The fourth chapter deals with another business must – TAXES! This is why keeping track of your money is important. The fifth chapter deals with working out of the home and the last chapter talks about other business matters like collecting what you’re owed, intellectual property, the Internet and other things.
So what’s the verdict on Small Time Operator?
It is a superior book. It is a gold mine of information but the content is presented in simple English rather than complex, boring technical jargon. The chapters about taxes and bookkeeping are good to have – single entry and double entry bookkeeping are discussed; traditional pencil-and-paper ledgers (which I use) and computerized bookkeeping software get compared; plus you’ll find handy advice on other taxes besides federal income tax like state sales tax, excise taxes, self-employment tax and so forth.
Copies of the blank ledger sheets in back for tracking income and expenditures are incredibly useful. I use them myself to track what comes in and what goes out of my bank accounts.
All in all, Small Time Operator is a magnificent book that any self-employed professional should own. Grab this today!