Creative accounting

Creatives and numbers – do they mix? Well, we’ll soon find out when I have to submit my first VAT return. A frightening prospect it is too. Most creatives, in my experience, aren’t all that when it comes to money. Conversely, how often do you see an accountant blow your mind with an award-winning integrated marketing campaign? It’s a left brain, right brain thing.

Well, I have a rather old-fashioned looking bright red double entry accounting book sat in front of me which I really do need to start making entries into. By my reckonning, pencil first, check, double check, then a pen over the top with serious trepidation.

Earnings, expenses, flat rate VAT, proportional mileage, receipts for everything, capital expenditure – am I cut out for this? I’ll have to be as the alternative is paying an accountant to do that every month. Fortunately for me, I’ve a very good designer friend who set up on his own a few years ago and has been through the pain of such a steep learning curve. As you can imagine, I’ve been tapping him up on a regular basis for advice. Paul – I am eternally grateful for all your wise words.

Choosing an accountant – that’s another thing. On what criteria do you make your selection? For me, there’s only one… word of mouth. Luckily, that’s also something Paul has helped out with. The accountant Paul recommended happens to live just around the corner from me, has a bone dry sense of humour and a three-legged greyhound called Dexter who is a cracking dog. I think Dexter’s really what swung it. We creatives are so rational.

So here’s to the VAT man, three-legged rescue greyhounds and that big red book that keeps staring at me. Gulp.

By Simon Anderson