AMMREN BlogLatest NewsAccounting and budgeting tips for journalism entrepreneurs

October 15, 2020by ammren_admin

Most of us on a journalism career path have little or no experience with the financial management of a news organization. This article is aimed at those of you who are thinking about, or already are, operating a journalism startup and feel that you need to know more about the topic.

While you might not know a lot about accounting, you are journalists, so you know how to ask questions, investigate topics, process what you have learned, organize the material and present it in a clear, understandable fashion. You know how to tell a story. With accounting and financial reports, you tell a story with numbers. A financial report answers the question, “How’s business?” The response is a story for you, your employees, your investors or your financial supporters. 

Monthly expense budgeting

Let’s start by creating a monthly expense budget. A budget is a road map. It tells us where we are going and how we are going to get there.  It also marks each milestone of the journey. 

Start by making a list of all the things you are spending money on each month, or that you will need to spend. Let’s say you don’t know what the figure should be for web hosting, or how much to pay a freelancer. Make like a journalist and network: do some research among businesses of a similar size and type. 

Monthly expenses might include salaries, employee benefits (estimate 25-35% of salary), freelance expenses, website hosting, web designers, technology consultants, subscriptions to software, internet access, digital storage, rent and utilities expenses (only when you have an established location), etc. 

After you make that list, ask yourself, “Are these expenses aligned with our objectives and priorities?” 

For example, are you spending a lot of money on web design when there are free tools available to produce an acceptable level of quality? That is, can you produce a minimum viable product that satisfies your audience at this stage of your development without incurring an exorbitant cost? Do you really need an office or can your team meet in a home or a public place with wifi?