Episode 451

Jan 13, 2023

Don't know where to start with the bookkeeping for your business? Allissa and Michael go through some tips and habits so you can handle this side of your business like a boss.

Listen to "E451: Bookkeeping 101 for Massage Therapists" on Spreaker.
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Weekly Roundup

Discussion Topic

Quick Tips

  • Test your stuff
  • Do the thing, get the client.



Sponsor message:

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Jojoba is good for all kinds of work. You just modify the amount and how you warm up the tissue, and it's really, really great. It works for everything. If you can only have one massage product, this is the one that you want to have. You can have many, but you should also have this one. You, my friends can get 20% off the price of the product when you shop through our link, massagebusinessblueprint.com/Jojoba.

Michael Reynolds:

Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we help you attract more clients, make more money, and improve your quality of life. I'm Michael Reynolds.

Allissa Haines:

I'm Allissa Haines.

Michael Reynolds:

And we are your host. Welcome. We're glad you're with us today. And Andrea, right off the bat is saying good morning on Facebook. Just a reminder for those who may be newer, we do broadcast this live on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter at 9:00 AM Eastern on Wednesday. So you're welcome to join us there, but we realize that is most of you definitely join us via the podcast on Friday. So welcome. A lot of words, sorry.

Allissa Haines:

No, it's good. What have you been reading, Michael?

Michael Reynolds:

I'm reading an article from, well, the article's from Time, but it was linked from the Anti-Racism Daily Newsletter, which I recommend everyone subscribe to. Just Google Anti-Racism Daily and it's free. They produce a daily article or a daily newsletter with various information, insights, practical advice on being anti-racist and making a difference in the world in a positive way for marginalized voices.

So this particular article is called, Is It Meaningful Action or is it Virtue Signaling? And this is from Time Magazine, Time.com. And this kind of hit home to me because I've been making more of an effort lately to make my actions meaningful and not performative. And I think a lot of us are sometimes prone to this. And by the way, I don't like the word virtue signaling because I find that often extreme conservatives like to weaponize it and use it against people that are genuinely trying to do good.

So I'm a little torn on the term virtue signaling, but this is kind of the term used in the discussion here. And some of the takeaways were, take a look and evaluate your actions, was the advice kind of discussed here. And decide if it's in their words virtue signaling or if it's truly making substantial difference or if it's really substantive action.

So examples like, hey, posting a Black Lives Matter image on Instagram is one thing, but actually making a monthly recurring donation to organizations that make real change or support marginalized communities, that's something else. Not that either is bad, not that posting on social media is bad because it can have a good effect, I think.

A lot of people will watch and observe and potentially be thoughtful because they see someone they respect posting something. But I'm personally making more of an effort to be less performative and more substantial in my support and in the change I'm looking to make in the world. So it kind of hit home to me. It was a useful read. And that's what I've been reading this week.

Allissa Haines:

Rock on Michael. I...

Michael Reynolds:

What about you?

Allissa Haines:

Have been listening to a podcast, Kate Bowler, Everything Happens. And she's just really, really neat. I think she's a divinity professor at Duke. She's a minister and she's someone who was diagnosed years back with just a lifelong type of cancer. And she had a very small son at the time she was diagnosed and they didn't think she was going to be living very long at all, but she has.

And she has written prolifically, I think her book is called Everything Happens And Other Lies I've Been Told. And she's got a really great podcast and she had a guest in October. I'm kind of going through some back episodes. That was Melissa Urban. Now I need to copy out this.

Melissa Urban is a creator of Whole30, which is a theory of cutting a lot of things out of your diet for a month and then slowly adding back things, things back in. And I'm not a huge fan of that kind of stuff. It veers into dangerous diet culture and disordered eating. But nonetheless, I listened to this episode because Melissa Urban has a new book out on boundaries.

And so the whole episode was about boundaries in your work, in your personal life and also specifically around when you have chronic illness and you are limited by your chronic illness for what you can do for work and your personal life and such, and how to create, how to navigate issues of boundaries surrounding that.

So it was a really neat episode. I really liked it. I'll link to it in show notes. It's Kate Bowler, Everything Happens. It's a episode called Worthy of Boundaries with Melissa Urban. Check it out. I think you'll get something from it. I think everyone can get something from it. And that's what I have.

Michael Reynolds:

One of my three words for 2023 happens to be a boundary, so I'm intrigued.

Allissa Haines:

It sure is.

Michael Reynolds:

All right.

Allissa Haines:

You'll like it. I think it's pretty cool.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. So I am still excited for our new sponsor that we're going to talk about here in just a second, Jane, a new practice management tool that we're going to talk about.

Allissa Haines:

Indeed. Jane is an all-in-one practice management software with helpful features like online booking, admin scheduling, integrated payment processing and charting. But there's more to Jane than just that. The team of Jane cares a lot about the problems you face as a practitioner. One of those problems is a prevalence of no-shows and late cancellations.

So they've made it easy with a few simple tools built right into Jane to fix that. That includes the ability to implement an online booking payment policy, send out unlimited text and email reminders. And this is golden, enabling weightless management features to fill those last minute gaps that were not preventable. Because you know, that's happening.

People getting sick, they cancel. We want them to cancel when they get sick. It's cool. You can see Jane in action st jane.app, Jane.app. And when you're ready to give it a shot, you can enter code MBB1MO, letter O as in Octopus at signup for a one-month grace period on your new Jane account. That is what I have to say about Jane.

Michael Reynolds:

Awesome. Glad to have Jane on board. All right. I am particularly interested in our topic because I'll just be honest, I suggested it, I thought it was a great idea for Allissa to share her knowledge about bookkeeping because I think a lot of times massage therapist, especially running a solo practice feel like bookkeeping is mysterious, feel like it's kind of a black box, not sure what to do. And Allissa does our bookkeeping and is pretty darn good at it. And I think it's great to be able to kind of demystify what bookkeeping is. So Allissa, Bookkeeping 101 for massage therapists.

Allissa Haines:

Yeah. And Michael specifically asked, said, "You know what? I think people need to hear the step by step what physically do you actually do as part of the bookkeeping tasks." And I think that's a good idea, because I don't know that I've ever fully expressed that. Not in one place, at least. A few caveats. I have a professional tax preparer. I have always had a professional tax preparer.

I do not do my own taxes. In the way back times I would hand my professional tax preparer a literally written on a piece of paper kind of synopsis, here's how much I took in doing massage. Here was much I paid for rent and utilities and new massage linens and laundry and education and insurance and all that stuff. It was a piece of paper. And then, because I started in 2005, so there's that.

And then it progressed into using a program on my computer, Quicken, which is kind of QuickBooks only less complicated and for personal use versus business use. But it's just an electronic check register. So it was essentially just like a spreadsheet or my written list of stuff, expenditures and income. And it would organize it into reports for me so I wouldn't have to go through all of my written reports and total up all of the laundry fees and total up all of the whatevers.

It would do that for me. Yay. Programs that do math for me. Love it. I then eased into using QuickBooks for a couple of years when my business got more complicated, when I was essentially running two businesses, my own massage practice and then the whole wellness center that accepted rent from all of my renters and stuff. I had a bookkeeper who set up the QuickBooks and ran it for a year.

And then the second year I managed it myself, made very few mistakes. So that was good. But then when I started to realize I didn't need it, QuickBooks was way more than I needed. I didn't like playing the 20, 30 dollars a month for it. I didn't like having it take me 10 minutes to run a report when I wanted it to take me two minutes.

So I moved away from QuickBooks, I think probably back to some kind of Quicken-ish. It was from Mac, it was called iBank at the time, which was essentially, again, electronic check register. And now I use a, and have for several years, I use a program called Wave Apps and it's waveapps.com. It is free. There are certainly paid features you can use. I don't use any of the paid features.

I've never needed them. I use it for bookkeeping in Massage Business Blueprint, which is our partnership. I used it when I had a sole proprietorship and I filed as a Schedule C and I used it for the last year 2022, which was my first year as an S-corp. So it was just a little bit different. I had to add payroll to things. And so that is my history with bookkeeping, with apps and tools to assist in bookkeeping.

I like Wave Apps. I tell everybody about it. Most people who've tried it, like it. There's a little bit of a learning curve, but just like with anything. But if you use something else and you like it and it works for you, but you just need a little bit more of a routine or you struggle with some consistency or whatever, use the system that you know and works for you.

Maybe upgrade if you feel like you need to or if your tax preparer is bugging you to. The thing that I really like about using an actual software and specifically one that connects to your bank is that you're not going to miss anything. You are never going to miss a deposit. You're never going to not claim income that was deposited into your account because the software is connected and it's going to catch every transaction, so and every expenditure as well.

So as long as you're making those transactions from your business account and it just, you're not going to forget anything. And ditto that for you're not going to lose any receipts because Wave App and many programs can hold an image of the receipt in with the transaction. So if you take a picture, you scan it immediately and you get it up into your software, which is a process I'll talk about in a minute, you're never going to lose anything.

So it's a good way of compensating for human error. And that's what I really like. I say in any kind of bookkeeping software, simple is best. Unless you have a more complicated business with lots of renters, lots of employees, lots of retail, for most of us, the vast majority of massage businesses are one person shops and they're sole proprietorships and occasionally S-Corps. So simple is best.

Don't choose a program that's too complicated for you to use. And I'm not just talking about QuickBooks. There's other ones out there that people try and they're like, "Oh, good lord." They're based on double entry accounting, and it can be very confusing. So pick what works for you. And I say go less than all the bells and whistles because you probably don't need all the bells and whistles.

All right. So we're going to start with how I handle incoming receipts, invoices, and bills. So if I get a bill that comes to me via email, I flag it in my email box until I sit down and pay it. I pay my bills once a week. So it gets flagged with a little red flag in my inbox so that I don't lose it. And then if it's paper, then I literally I put it in a certain part of my backpacks that I will have access to by my computer when I sit down to pay the bills.

So I sit down, I pay my bills. For invoices and bills and stuff that came, or receipts that came via email. And same thing like when receipts come in. If I'm not at the computer, I don't have the minute to save it onto my desktop, I'll flag it red. But any bill receipt invoice that comes in into my email box when I pay the bills when I'm doing my bookkeeping, I save it as a PDF to a desktop, to a folder on my computer desktop.

It just, that's what I do. It's just what I do. And if I've got a paper bill I scan or a receipt from a transaction, I immediately scan it and I email it to myself. So then the next time I sit down at my computer, I can move that image into the folder on my desktop that says 2023 Haines Massage Receipts or 2023 Massage Business Blueprint Receipts. So it's a process that's really smooth.

It's all based out of my email box, which works really well for me because I'm a computer based person. I don't do the bulk of my stuff on mobile. If you are mobile, then what you would want to probably do is scan and upload immediately to a Google Drive file. I also use a Google Drive file. I'll get there in a second.

So if you're mobile, you want to find an option that works better for you mobile. That's up to you to figure out because that's how you do things. All right. So daily or weekly, you want to have a set time or at least a set day to catch up on all these things to make sure everything gets moved out of your email box, gets paid, moved out of your email box, moved out of your wallet, whatever, and stored on your desktop or wherever you're going to store that receipt initially.

I do this two, mostly two days a week now because I tend to do it first thing when I walk into my massage office. I do all my massage office stuff two days a week. And then with the Blueprint stuff, I actually do it all over coffee on Sunday mornings. But sometimes it's Monday mornings and that's fine because I know it's going to happen weekly or twice a week.

As I'm sitting there and paying all my bills and I see all of these receipts either in my mail or already moved to the folder on the desktop, I pay my bills and then I open Wave Apps and it uploads all my transactions. So if you're using a program where you are manually are adding all of your transactions that this is when you would do that.

You can add your transactions into the software or your spreadsheet or a piece of paper, whatever. And you want to add your deposits and your withdrawals. You want to make sure everything is in there. And then you categorize them. So you literally select what category this gets applied to. So if I accept money for massage, it goes into my massage income category. If I have accepted money for consulting that week, it goes into consulting income.

If I have paid the electric bill, it goes into utilities. If I have bought Jojoba, it says massage product or massage supplies, pardon me. And when I bought my massage table, it went into massage equipment. If I buy paper clips, it is general office supplies. That is it. I make sure that every transaction that has happened since the last time I sat down and did bookkeeping is correctly categorized.

It only takes a minute, and if you're using software, it will begin to automatically categorize things. So you just have to scan it and make sure it's correct, which is really nice. As I categorize each one, I upload the receipt into Wave App. So I pull it out of the email or the folder on the desktop and I upload it into Wave App, which is great. It sticks right to that transaction.

It's easy. In the check register, essentially in the transaction register, it even gives me a little icon after I upload the receipt so that I know that it's been uploaded. So I can really quickly scan through my transactions and see that what's missing a receipt and what's not. So it's really sweet. I put it into Wave Apps.

And then because I'm super anal retentive, I also put all of my receipts into a Google file. So I have that open, and on another screen I switch screens. I slide it into Google, and I do that for everything in my folders and every transaction that's happened. And then I just, I clean out my desktop. I just trash everything in the desktop because now it's stored in Wave, and now it's stored in Google Docs.

So I have two copies of that receipt, which is overzealous, but that's how I am. And it's all right there. It's great. And then my desktop is clean, which is something I really like. All right. So I've paid my bills, I've uploaded all of the receipts, I've categorized them, I've uploaded all the receipts, cleared those receipts off my phone or my computer, whatever I'm using.

I will then, depending on the time, the date, I know that my bank statements come out the first week in Jan, for the first week of the month for the previous month. So in that first or second week, I'm going to just check for a new bank statement. I'm going to download that and put it into my Google file so I have a record of the bank statement. If I wrote any checks, I'm going to download the images of the checks. And... I forgot where I was going next.

Let me just check my notes here. Yeah, and I reconcile that statement. I just make sure that my Wave matches up with the amount that my bank statement says I should have had at that last day of the last month. A thing I didn't mention is that when I sit down to pay bills, most of my bills are on Autopay, so there's very little physical bill payment going on. Even my rent check cuts from my bank and goes to my landlord's mailbox.

So that's really easy. I like Autopay. I know that's a luxury. Not everybody can have. Not everybody is confident they're always going to have enough money in their checking account to pay the bill when it withdraws. It is something I took a long time to work towards, but having everything on Autopay is pretty sweet. So every week-ish, sometimes twice a week for my massage practice, I do all of these things.

And because I'm doing it, I'm only handling a couple transactions at a time. So it's super quick. We're talking 10 minutes. I walk into my office, I turn all the heating elements on in my massage room. I sit down at my desk, usually have my coffee, and the first five minutes of, five to 10 minutes of being at work is handling this. And it doesn't take very long.

I have some other tasks that happen, they used to happen monthly. Now I'm doing it every other week. Because I have an S-corp, I have to run payroll. So that's just logging into Gusto, my payroll system and doing that. And I make deposits to my retirement account. That only happens monthly. And I do deposits to my savings account, which I haven't decided if I'm going to do every other week or weekly because we're only, or every other week or monthly.

We're only January 11th here. But those don't happen every single time I sit down to pay bills. But they do happen on a regular basis. I love paying myself. So it's really motivating for me to get all my bookkeeping in order so that I can pay myself because I can't pay myself until I'm confident I have all the money where it needs to be. So that's a good motivator for me.

I don't even need to reward myself with a cookie anymore because I pay myself. So it's great. That's my every two weeks, monthly stuff. And that's really it. You're going to create the routine that works best for you. It doesn't need to exactly match mine. I drop an email to my tax preparer usually a couple of weeks before any particular quarterly tax is due. And I say, "I've taken in this much money for massage and consulting.

My payroll has been this much. I have paid myself this much in dividends. This is how loosely, how much should I be paying for estimated tax this quarter?" And she does her little magic thing and she says, "Give the feds 2000 and give your state a grand." Awesome. And then I pay them and that's great. So my system's going to look a little different from yours, but that's the foundation of all bookkeeping.

You save your receipts, you make sure all your transactions are tracked, you put them in the right category, and you make sure your receipts and invoices and such are stored somewhere. That's it. It's however you work it, but that's literally the nuts and bolts. And less than a half an hour a week, it does it all. I fully advocate for people paying a bookkeeper if they're really struggling with this kind of stuff.

I don't like to put out that money. I'm super cheap and I really like knowing exactly where my money's at. So and you can always do that when you have a bookkeeper, you can still look at all your money stuff, but I don't like waiting for somebody to categorize things for me. I like a real instant reward of knowing where my money is, so I do it myself. If you don't want to do it yourself, hire somebody. That's cool too. Everybody needs to support the economy in one way or another.

So at the beginning of every month, also, I run a P and L, which is a profit and loss statement, which is just a fancy income and expenses report. It's just the math saying, you made this much and you spent this much. And if you don't even do that, that's okay. I kind of hesitated to even put that on the list because I didn't want people to think we're getting too technical here, but you can run a report that says, you made this much and you spent this much, and that's nice.

A little miscellaneous note is that tracking your mileage as part of bookkeeping, just use an app. Pay the 80 bucks a month to for MileIQ and use an app to categorize miles when you, and it's super easy. It's a swipe left or right for personal or business drive, and you run the report at the end of the year if you're claiming certain amount of business mileage or if you're reimbursing yourself for mileage. It's super, super easy.

It is part of bookkeeping that tends to get overlooked for the first couple of years of people's businesses, or they think, "Oh, I'll just write it down in my planner" or, "Oh, I'll just make a note." You're never going to do that. Just use an app. Two resources that I want you to know exist are our latest column, an ABMP, a Massage and Body Work Digital, and I put the link for it in the show notes.

It's the January, February 2023 article. And I just want to bring it up so I can give you the exact title properly. How Solo MTs Can Pay Themselves a Wiving wage. It's one of our better columns, I think. So if you're like, "My, she sits down every week and pays herself, that's insane." We also have a podcast episode, episode 347 about why you should pay yourself.

I talked about how I love paying myself, and that motivates me to sit down and do my bookkeeping. If all of this feels like crazy and too big for you, maybe start with that column and that episode. Start to recognize why and how you can pay yourself more regularly and in a way that makes you feel rewarded for the work that you're doing. And that's all that I have to say. Follow the steps, pay yourself, track your mileage.

Michael Reynolds:

Question, you said MileIQ is 80 bucks a month, do you mean per year?

Allissa Haines:

No, no. Yeah, 80 bucks. It's between 80 and 90 bucks per year.

Michael Reynolds:

Okay. Thank you.

Allissa Haines:

I'm sorry. I apologize.

Michael Reynolds:

Just making sure that didn't freak anybody out by the cost. It's much more reasonable.

Allissa Haines:

My God, I would never pay.

Michael Reynolds:


Allissa Haines:

$80 a month for a mileage tracker.

Michael Reynolds:

Exactly. All right. Thank you. This is awesome. This is exactly what I was hoping for. I'm glad you're able to kind of step through all of the details and the steps of bookkeeping and hopefully make it less intimidating for those who maybe want to tackle it themselves. So thank you. Good stuff.

Allissa Haines:

Yeah. And I really nerd out on this. So this is something that our community members and I talk about a lot during office hours. I have demonstrated how I do stuff in Wave with a screen share. We also, there's another facet we're not going to get into, but I also use a budgeting software that's actually separate, and I nerd out on that every day. I make sure my money is going where it should and is being saved for what it should be saved for.

So I'm never short on for office expenses. But we do like these kinds of screen shares and walking people through this in our premium community, which is something you may or may not want to check out, massagebusinessblueprint.com/mastermind. And I had a premium member message me yesterday with a couple questions about bookkeeping. And I was like, "Hey, you know what? We're covering this tomorrow." So we love this stuff.

Michael Reynolds:

Do indeed. Thank you. All right.

Allissa Haines:

You bet.

Michael Reynolds:

Well, any questions, definitely send them to Allissa about bookkeeping. I'm sure she'd be happy to answer. So before we wrap up, our next sponsor is our friends at ABMP.

Allissa Haines:

Yay. ABMP says they're proud to sponsor us, and so we're going to believe them. There are so many memberships of ABMP. I'm going to blow through all of them. Well, not all of them, but the top three that we like to talk about. ABMP's five Minute Muscle and ABMP's Pocket Pathology apps. They are quick reference apps that are going to get you the information you need for a quick session planning or even a little bit of knowledge outside of that nervous five minutes pre-session when someone has shown up with a health issue that you don't know about.

You can spend a little more time on the apps when you've got the time and watch palpation videos. It's super awesome. There are also the ABMP Massage and Body Work Magazine, which is an award-winning magazine included imprint for ABMP members. But like I said before, available for free online to everyone, massageandbodyworkdigital.com. Our columns pretty good, and there's some other great regular features and regular columns and features as well.

And finally, there's the ABMP Education Center with over 600 hours of continuing education courses that are included with ABMP membership, also available for purchase to non-members at a ridiculously affordable price in all kinds of topics, hands-on ethics, business cultural competency, and courses for massage educators. You can find all of this at ABMP.com.

Michael Reynolds:

Thanks, ABMP. All right. Quick tip, you got anything?

Allissa Haines:

Not yet. I have one, but I forgot to write it down, so I'm going to think of it while you talk about your stuff.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. My quick tip is test your stuff. This is from personal experience. So in the past 24 hours, one of our members, thanks, Leslie, invited us to take a look at the recent e-book that Allissa launched, the Communicating with Healthcare Provider's book. And for some reason, something went wrong on it. I think we're still trying to figure it out.

But this is a reminder, whenever you publish any kind of marketing offer or email you're going to send or anything at all that is especially a marketing or a content piece, don't forget to test it. Test it by sending a copy to yourself, test it by going to your website and filling out the form and seeing if everything works properly. Just go review the stuff that you have ready to publish, triple check it, take some extra time to test it out to make sure that everything works for you before you release it to the public. So I speak from personal experience. That's my quick tip.

Allissa Haines:

Yeah. An addition to that too is make your friend or business partner test your stuff. Because I thought I tested it, but I'm thinking maybe that I didn't. I think maybe we made some changes and then I didn't retest it. So yeah, I should have done that too. My quick tip is to do the thing and get the client.

And what I mean by that is I had not sent an email to my, I have a master email list of massage clients, and then I have some little subgroups of infrequent clients or people who never came back after pandemic stuff. I finally emailed my infrequent clients and my long lost clients. I sent them an email and I booked five appointments in the first hour or two hours after I sent the email. And one of them was someone that I only see a couple of times a year.

I've seen them a little bit here and there. And the other four were people I have not seen in three years. So and I think a couple of them are probably going to start booking regularly, which is something that I really need and want. So I cannot tell you how much I struggled and delayed over this silly email, which is ridiculous. And I had four different friends proofread it for me. I was so freaked out about just doing this thing, which I used to do all the time, and it was totally fine. But I was super freaked out about it. But do the thing, get the client.

Michael Reynolds:


Allissa Haines:

Thank you very much.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. Well, I think that's it. Are we good?

Allissa Haines:

We're done.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. Let's do it. Well, hey, as a reminder, our website is massagebusinessblueprint.com. All the stuff we talk about you can find there first, including our Blueprint Mastermind community. And as always, if you enjoy this podcast, we appreciate you giving us a review and send it to other massage therapists in your network as well that might enjoy it.

If you want to email us, the email address is podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com. And that goes to both Allissa and me and we would be happy to answer any questions you have. We do read them all and love getting your feedback. So with that, thanks for joining us today. Have a great day. We will see you next time.

Allissa Haines: