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Do you care accounting. As a business owner, of course you do, but it’s not always the most fun or it may be easier to kinds… guess.

In this article we look at the types of accounting and software available for mum makers and other crafty types.

Software… boring but necessary.  Let’s start with the cost. This is what makes most shy away from software. First, who needs another subscription to something and pay for it all year just for a seasonal business. If you want to make it big, then YOU care!

Software Cost

Let’s start with free.

Free is good and I don’t mean “free trial” good. I mean straight up no money free for life. There are a few that are straight up zero dollars. 

Wave is free. It offers free accounting, free invoicing and free bookkeeping.  This is a nice software if you want to track your income & expenses and don’t want to pay a fee. Plus it offers connect to bank account for free and makes accounting a lot easier for tax time.

Let’s face it, if you don’t know what you make or what you spend, then how can you track your business income  and profit. If you think you’ve got it all in your head, let’s purpose a challenge.

For mum Makers in business, do you REALLY know what you spend on each mum or do you kinda guess? What if the prices of inventory have changed since you last ordered, or what if you add a little more of this or that to make your creation pop? DO you know what you kinda spent, ballpark? Or do you KNOW where each penny went? This is why accounting is a good idea. 90% of mum makers would be shocked to know how much they spent versus how much they charge. 

Here’s an example from one of our mum maker customers:

Eddi has been making mums longer than most anyone we’ve ever met. She started with real flowers in 1951. For those of you who know your mum history that’s only about 13 years past the 1st known record of homecoming mums. She was 7 years old and working in her mother’s floral shop with her sisters. She tells us that she took over when her mother passed away when she was only 16.  From age 16 on she was the accountant, florist, shop keeper, etc with the help of her little sisters she kept track of the accounting in her head until 2010 when she experienced a health problem. With the encouragement of her children, she taught herself QuickBooks. For anyone that remembers QuickBooks back then, that was no easy task. Her floral shop was picked up by 1-800 flowers and FTD. And by 2017 she was a giant. She still makes homecoming mums for her special customers and orders her supplies from Mum Factory Outlet but Eddi says, that when she first had to map out how much she spent on her floral creations from funerals to mums she was not accounting for the whole enchilada. 

“I had it all in my head. I’ve been doing this my whole life. My mother never kept accounting, she just bought what she had orders for. So did I until I noticed that the bank account was getting lower every year. I knew I needed to make a map. When my daughter introduced me to Quickbooks I wasn’t going to use it. I thought it was sweet of her to suggest but it was just one more thing I was going to have to keep up with. But to keep her happy I sat down and typed in the parts to make a single mum. Nothing fancy, just my simple single. I knew I used ribbon, flower backer, but as I kept adding things like, my time spent in labor, staples, glue and the small things I was shocked that It cost me $19 just to make the base of it. Then my additions were upwards of about $40 and I was only charging $49. I made 9 bucks each?! There has to be a mistake so I did the math in the software four times! And sure as rain, I was making $9. How did I get here? How did I work 6 hours to make $9? Once I got over the shock, I made my numbers work better and then we started to make some money. Soon we were making GOOD money and FTD was looking at us. If not for accounting software I would have spent myself out of a job 10 years ago.”

Unfortunately, we hear this a lot. Many Mum Makers don’t think they make that many mums to matter or they’re just hobby, or they don’t want to charge to much that families can’t afford it. All which is fine, but numbers do matter. Software can be the difference between having a next season and not.

Eddi mentioned QuickBooks. Some swear by it. Over all it can be a great tool, but in resent years they have gone subscription based which can cut into the profits. They’re basic self employed costs $50 a month after their trial is over. Which can add up to some serious mums in a year. $600 a year to be exact. 

Another one to try is craftybase. This is an Etsy recommended software. It is a little complicated to learn if you’re not familiar, and it is subscription based as well. Anywhere from $15 to $72 a month depending on the plan. (at the time of this writing). 

In the end, software is a must if a mum maker means to grow their business. Learning the ends and outs of custom making and how to translate into software is another story, but doable.  Even if spreadsheets are your thing, after a few 100 mums one may out grow that method. 

Do you care, accounting? Yes! We hope you do. 

More on this subject in future editions of Mum Maker Magazine.