There are several parts to owning an online needlework shop of which I’m not so fond.
One is maintaining inventory. There’s the physical inventory, the inventory in the accounting software and then the inventory in the web storefront. Of course, life would be much simpler if the latter two were actually linked, but alas they are not. I actually reconciled the physical and accounting inventories this year for the first time. I know, I know, I should have been doing it at least once a year, but what can I say? I’m not the most fastidious shopowner. But that was the easy part. Print out the inventory worksheet from the accounting software, go through the physical inventory and compare quantities. I was off on a few quantities, but in most instances, I knew exactly why. One set was an error in a shipment from a distributor that I missed, one bunch from from forgetting to account for inventory depletions for contest that I ran a while back and one was an order that I think got entered wrong. Pretty minor stuff, all things considered. The painful part is when I receive new inventory. If it’s just a reorder, entering the accounting information isn’t horrible, but more complex than it needs to be. And half the time I forget to increase the quantities in the web storefront. 🙁 However, when they are items that are completely new to the store, I have a lot of background work to do, with entering all of the details for each item into the accounting software, then adding the items into the web storefront. That part is much, much worse. I have to pull images, detailed descriptions, take measurements and weights for the shipping calculators, etc. And if I’m working with an entirely new vendor, forget about it.
By far my least favorite part of owning a shop, though, is the accounting. I covered part of that when I talked about dealing with inventory. I’m hoping that some of the complexity is due to the piece of crud accounting software (Microsoft) I’m using. For example, just to record a vendor order, I have to create a purchase order, receive the items into inventory, create the vendor bill and finally issue a payment towards the bill, assuming, of course, that the items have already been created; otherwise, I have to start by creating an item and recording all of the details for each item before I can even create a purchase order. Unfortunately, when I was starting out a couple of years ago, though, Microsoft were the only ones that had a package that could handle multiple currencies. Believe it or not, none of the other major accounting software manufacturers (including Intuit and Peachtree) could handle international currencies at that time. And I started off with a UK vendor in my beginning set of suppliers, so I knew it would be a problem right off the bat. Now, of course, Microsoft decided to stop manufacturing the product and is no longer supporting it, either. So, I’m being forced to make a switch. Fortunately for me, Intuit has since gotten their act together and QuickBooks now handles multiple currencies. Hooray! And they even have some conversion software to go from Microsoft Accounting to QuickBooks. Hip hip hooray! While I’m not exactly looking forward to having to convert everything (and I was kind-of hoping to limp my way through this fiscal year), I have finally hit the wall with the Microsoft product. I spent several hours the other night reconciling the accounts for 2009 when it really should have taken less than half an hour. I knew exactly which transactions I had missed recording and I then found the reason why the accounts still didn’t balance afterwards, which ironically had to do with a problem in how the software dealt with the exchange rates between currencies.
I was quite the unhappy camper by the time I got all of the numbers right and was able to hand them over to Terry to finish the taxes. I suppose that it’s actually a good thing, in a way, that I hit the wall in such a profound way with my current accounting package. It makes the decision to invest in QuickBooks that much easier to make, and one that I think I’m willing to make a lot sooner, as well.
Now that the accounting is all squared away, I need to get all of the new inventory I’ve acquired into the web storefront. Oh, and have I mentioned that I need to upgrade that software, as well? 😆
I’m glad your ONS is still going Jenna. I think I tried to access it last year and the site was down – I thought you might have shelved it, since you were pretty busy with school and work, so I’m glad to hear otherwise. Please post when you’ve updated the shop front, so I can check out the new stock 🙂
This is such a wonderful post to read! I have been contemplating getting into the online biz with cross-stitch accessories and stuff. I haven’t really pushed myself yet as I am still in the learning phase of so much. My sister and I are also discussing opening a flower shop, so the accounting will definitely come into play big time there. lol
Thanks for sharing!
I seem to have number dyslexia, so this sort of thing would be fatal for me if I were a business owner. I worked for a bank for a year and I think you could count the number of times I balanced out on my first attempt on your fingers. It was so sad. LOL!