As you start to strategically plan for your blog’s new year, now is the time to plan for events and conferences that you would like to attend. Blogging conferences are great for networking, making new friends, establishing relationships with sponsors, and getting information about niche trends and best practices.
In 2017, I have plans to double a number of travel blogging conferences and financial blogging conferences I attend. Since there are costs associated with each event, it’s time to get financially organized.
Why Business Travel Expenses Are Important
If you’re a U.S. based blogger, you might be able to write off business travel expenses at the end of the year.
Even if you blog as a hobby, it’s still good practice to keep track of your expenses. The least you can do is offset your blogging income. Consult your accountant or the IRS for specifics.
Types of Blogging Business Travel Expenses
- Conference fees
- Hotel charges while at the conference
- 50% Dining charges while at the conference
- Entertainment for clients you take out when doing business for your blog
- Transportation (car, airfare, train etc) when doing business for your blog
Planning for Blogging Business Travel Expenses
After lots of trial and error, I’ve found that simple spreadsheets work best for me. I use spreadsheets to budget and keep track of my business travel expenses.
You can also use small business accounting software and apps, or you can work with a business travel management company like Statesman Travel. With a dedicated team of travel consultants, Statesman Travel can take care of your flights, hotels and ground transportation. They also manage business travel expenses and reporting.
Open A Bank Account
If you don’t already have a designated bank account for your blog, what are you waiting for? Open one!
A designated bank account will help you keep your personal life separate from your business. It also shows the IRS that your blog is more than a hobby.
**Just make sure that your bank account doesn’t charge any maintenance fees – banks make enough money!
Designated Credit Card
Besides staying organized, credit cards offer purchase protection, extended warranties and return protection.
With a credit card, if your card gets lost or stolen, you’re not responsible for the fraudulent charges. Unfortunately, with a debit card, that money is gone temporarily.
Also, if there’s a duplicate charge, credit card companies correct the error and open an investigation right away.
I would recommend using one credit card per blog.
Credit cards also simplify bookkeeping. Bookkeeping is the process where you record, categorize and reconcile bank statements.
The good news is that if you use a credit card (or debit card) to make blogging purchases, you can use the monthly statements as an expense record. All you have to do is categorize and reconcile.
If you’re a DIY person, export your statements as an Excel file and copy and paste it into your spreadsheet.
Use your year-end credit card statement to quickly total your annual loss. You can also use your bank account statement to quickly calculate your annual profit (revenue – expenses).
Collecting receipts has two benefits: 1) it helps with reconciling and 2) it’s proof that you incurred an expense.
The IRS requires small business owners to keep documentation that proves income and deductions. In this case, the proof is in maintaining receipts. For a comprehensive list of deductions for bloggers and freelancers visit Wise Bread.
To keep things squeaky clean, I keep both my blog’s bills and receipts. The bills break down the costs and the receipts are proof that I paid the bills.
It’s also a good idea to save your credit card, bank statements and invoices.
Tip: Always write the purpose of the cost on the receipt. At the end of the month when you’re ready to reconcile and categorize expenses, you can quickly reference your notes.
Tools To Help Manage Expenses
- Milebug – tracks miles driven
- Freshbooks – organize expenses, invoicing and reporting
- Shoeboxed – takes photos of your receipts and creates expense reports
Reconcile your bank and credit card statements to make sure that all of your financial transactions are correct.
A reconciliation compares your financial records (spreadsheets, apps, and receipts) to bank and credit card statements. Go through each transaction and make sure that your financial records match your bank and credit card statements.
Reconciliations are a great way to make sure that there aren’t any discrepancies, omissions or fraudulent charges in any of your records. It also confirms how much money came in for the month, what expenses you paid out, and how much cash you have on hand.
To better manage your blog’s business travel expenses, create a system that fits your business needs. Take control of your business finances and plan for the future!
How are YOU keeping track of your business travel? Have any questions? Insights? Let’s chat about it below!
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