Questions About Forms, Documents And Accounting

Business By SugarNSpiceDiva Updated 24 Jan 2010 , 2:22am by niccicola

SugarNSpiceDiva Posted 9 Jan 2010 , 1:04am
post #1 of 11

Hi all! I wanted to come on here and bug the pros again to get a little help on organizing (If yall don't kick me out before I get fully organized, I'll be surprised. icon_rolleyes.gif lol)

First, I'm trying to figure out what forms or documents would be important for me to have for customers. I want to be able to cover both mine and their butts without overloading them with paperwork, so it looks more like buying a car than a cake.

So basically I'm only going to be catering to people ordering party and event cakes, along with cupcakes and cake balls. That's about all I'm gonna start with until I feel more comfortable moving to weddings and other stuff. I'll be making appointments for people who want to discuss their cake in person, and offering tastings for orders over $100. All orders will be delivery only to the desired location, so I make sure they get to where they are going in one piece. I live on a small base, so all deliveries here will be free, and I will deliver as far as Barstow (about 30-40 miles away) for a fee of $30 (about a tank of gas, which is what it takes to get there).

So, now I'm looking for a list of forms, or documents that would be important for me to use for customers. As of right now, I have a receipt book and a delivery receipt book from staples. But I'm sure there's more I will need before I make a sale. Does anyone have advice on a list of important forms I would need? Do I need a contract for what I'm doing? Also, if anyone has examples they'd like to share, I'd be more than appreciative, but if not, I'm sure I can come up with something with some research.

Also, I was wondering about how some of you handle your accounting. This is more aimed at the home bakers, or people who don't have a professional accountant. I'm in school for accounting, and I'd like to do all of my own accounting if possible, but the stuff they teach us in school is more corporate accounting. It's all about journals, ledgers, stocks and bonds and stuff. Does anyone have a system that works for them? Or do you just use a system like a home budgeting system? I have a program for that. Also, how do you begin it? Maybe it was dumb, but I haven't actually calculated my total expenses, meaning the amount that I have already put into the business for equipment, website, business cards and stuff. I know corporate accounting, they normally begin with how much the owner has put into the business and go from there.

Any help will be so much appreciated! I'm holding off advertising until I make sure I'm organized.

Thanks everybody!! Yall are the best!

10 replies
SugarNSpiceDiva Posted 9 Jan 2010 , 4:00am
post #2 of 11

Any thoughts? detective.gif

globalgatherings Posted 9 Jan 2010 , 4:25am
post #3 of 11

As far as accounting goes, my recommendation is to hire an accountant for at least the first 6 months to a year. There is so much to learn about taxes, that I really think you need a professional. When I opened my catering company 9 years ago, I learned my lesson the hard way. There are so many details, for instance I wasn't aware I had to pay property tax on my equipment etc... An accountant will make sure you do everything the right way in the beginning; so you don't have to pay extra down the road for your mistakes.

Good Luck thumbs_up.gif

SugarNSpiceDiva Posted 9 Jan 2010 , 4:36am
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by globalgatherings

As far as accounting goes, my recommendation is to hire an accountant for at least the first 6 months to a year. There is so much to learn about taxes, that I really think you need a professional. When I opened my catering company 9 years ago, I learned my lesson the hard way. There are so many details, for instance I wasn't aware I had to pay property tax on my equipment etc... An accountant will make sure you do everything the right way in the beginning; so you don't have to pay extra down the road for your mistakes.

Good Luck thumbs_up.gif




Thank you for your advice! I wish hiring an accountant was within my financial range right now. That would make it so much easier. Thank you for the info. though. I'll definitely have to research that and make some calls. icon_biggrin.gif

larrysgirl Posted 9 Jan 2010 , 7:38am
post #5 of 11

I saw some hwere in these forums Alices pricing matrix she ahd some very goodn information, it was a spreed sheet that you could tweak to fit your own needs.

sugarandslice Posted 9 Jan 2010 , 8:47am
post #6 of 11

I've only just started up recently and have made my own Quote form, customer info form and cupcake stand hire agreement.
If you'd like a copy PM me. I'm happy to share.

I'm sorry that I can't help with the accounting etc side of things but I'm in Australia so it's all different here.

If you search in the Business forum you'll find where people have posted examples of their contracts in the past.

HTH
Emma

SugarNSpiceDiva Posted 9 Jan 2010 , 9:24am
post #7 of 11

larrysgirl - That's good advice! I downloaded them a few days ago, and still studying them to make sure I get them right! Thank you icon_biggrin.gif

Ms. Emma - Thank you very much! I can't express my appreciation enough. I did PM you. Hmm, wow, Australia. Too cool! icon_redface.gif


As for the accounting part, I think I just might set up a simple system like we do our home budget. Not quite sure yet, but I'll work something out.

Thanks again for everyone's help and advice! icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 23 Jan 2010 , 6:26am
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarNSpiceDiva

Quote:
Originally Posted by globalgatherings

As far as accounting goes, my recommendation is to hire an accountant for at least the first 6 months to a year. There is so much to learn about taxes, that I really think you need a professional. When I opened my catering company 9 years ago, I learned my lesson the hard way. There are so many details, for instance I wasn't aware I had to pay property tax on my equipment etc... An accountant will make sure you do everything the right way in the beginning; so you don't have to pay extra down the road for your mistakes.

Good Luck thumbs_up.gif



Thank you for your advice! I wish hiring an accountant was within my financial range right now. That would make it so much easier. Thank you for the info. though. I'll definitely have to research that and make some calls. icon_biggrin.gif




You may be surprised at how inexpensive they are. The one I found was less than $200 a month and he is awesome!!! (He was also recommended by a fellow baker and CC'er!) His pricing was based on the number of transacations I had a month and he showed me a system to reduce that number. It was SO nice to have someone take care of the sales tax, payroll tax, quarterly state and federal tax and all the other taxes that pop up. For that less-than-$200, I got monthly financial reports, and if I needed a current Income Statement or something for the bank, he'd whip it up (no extra charge). The price also included doing my personal and business taxes. If I get audited, I dont' even have to show up ... he handles it all.

You'll be REALLY surprised what you can afford. And I really really recommend getting a professional to handle the books.

It's like the differnce between a DIY wedding cake and getting it from a professional.

HarleyDee Posted 23 Jan 2010 , 6:01pm
post #9 of 11

Having an accountant really is the best thing. So call different ones, try to find one that you can afford.

Also for home, what about Quickbooks or Cake Boss? That will help you track everything like expenses, travel, etc.

niccicola Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 2:18am
post #10 of 11

I do everything myself.

For the accounting, I have an excel spreadsheet with 2 sheets, receipts and income.

The income sheet lists just that-any income received. There is a column for Date, Invoice #, Name (or description of income), and the total. I can use the 'sum' formula to quickly add it all up at the end of the year.

For the receipt sheet, I have columns for date, store, non-food item, food item, service (i.e. business license renewal or website fee), tax, food tax, s/h, and total. I basically copy my store receipt into this spreadsheet so I can have an itemized list of everything. I can copy the list of non-food items to quickly figure up expenses of equipment vs. food expenses, etc.

I have A LOT of forms. I'll list them all for you and feel free to PM me. I'll show you what they look like. A lot of them came from ideas on here. I use Publisher ALL THE TIME to make my own receipts and documents and then convert to .pdf:

General Forms:
Cake Inquiry (form I print out and keep by the phone for phone requests)
Flavors (to quickly email clients if they haven't checked out the website)
Gift Certificate (in case I have a request for one)
Party And Wedding Serving Chart (quick reference mainly for myself)
Receipt for Payment (deposits, final payments, etc.)
Topsy-Turvy write up (since they are priced differently than other cakes and have different options available. It's easier to email clients then explain over the phone or email)

Party Cakes:
Deconstruction of the cake (can be found in the template section)
Party Cake Contract (similar to wedding cake contract-this is only used for BIG BIG party cakes that need to be treated like wedding cakes but without the wedding lingo)
Cutting Guides to show clients if they aren't comfortable cutting their own cakes

Wedding Cakes:
Wedding contract (I think the majority of this came from Doug)
Anniversary cake coupon (I don't give away the top tier of the cake-I offer a free cake on their 1st anniversary)
Bridal Information Packet (includes list of flavors, Earlene Moore's list of what to expect when shopping for a cake, background info on me and my business, and fresh flowers on the cake info)
Consultation Estimate (some Brides aren't ready to leave a deposit and sign the contract so I fill this out so they have an idea of what to expect from me
Non-Toxic Flower list (same as what is in the bridal info packet, but separate in case a Bride wants to see it or I need to reference it)
Receipt for wedding payemtn
Receipt for consultation payment (i charge for tastings)
Cutting Guides if they aren't having a professional cater do it because I don't stay to cut

Let me know if you have any questions

niccicola Posted 24 Jan 2010 , 2:22am
post #11 of 11

Some forms are made for specific cases....like, if I need to make an addendum for a contract because the Client has a special need or request or refuses to let me deliver.

And there is a form to have a Bride's representative sign off on the cake at time of delivery to release me from liability.

I'm sure there are others I am forgetting...

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