By Linda Kassis—Some of the details fall beyond my scope of expertise since I do not know all the details of what can be charged per notarization in each state so I will keep it general. I use Intuit Quickbooks® Pro but I think Intuit Quicken® would suffice for the Signing Agent business. Each will allow you to create invoices and pull reports to see who owes you, how much and how old it is.
I will outline the way I document my Notary Signing Agent income stream.
Firstly, the order confirmation is received. I make notes along the way on this sheet(s).
Once I have accepted the appointment, I post it in my Outlook Calendar so I don’t double book a time slot. Once the signing is completed and the package is shipped I staple together any correspondence and a copy of the label for the return package. I post an invoice to my Quick books Pro under that customer’s name. When I get a chance I pull up a A/R Aging report which shows me current, 1-30, 31-60, 61-90 and beyond 90 days old. Once something goes passed the 1-30 column I start making phone calls to see that my invoice is in their system for payment.
In Quick books create a customer list. Within each customer, enter their full contact information and the payment terms. I do not add a company to my customer list until after I have done the first job for them.
You will also have something called a chart of accounts to set up. They usually will come with a standard set of chart of accounts and you add to it as is applicable to your business.
If you are in a state that only allows a specific amount per notarization and you need to keep travel and print fees separate, I would suggest you create items in your chart of accounts titled: Individual Notarization fee (or something shorter that you remember what it means), Travel Fee, Edoc fee. Now when you open up an invoice to create an invoice for a signing you did you will choose Ind Notary Fees as a category, choose a quantity (so if you did three notarizations the quantity would be 3). Next category to choose would be the remainder of the fee attributable to travel fees and you could track your miles here by setting it up to enter a quantity by amount of miles traveled for this signing (including to and from miles), then you will choose a third line if it was edocs, choosing the category of edocs and the quantity would be one or if you did a 1st and a 2nd make to edoc fee lines and the applicable fee for each.
Now I have to back up a bit and tell you about something called an “Item list.” So you have created your customer list, your personalized items on your chart of accounts, now you have to place a price on these items. Now we all know signing fees very so you may want to leave the travel fee in your travel fee as $0 to be entered by you for each transaction but if you are in a state where you can only charge so much per notarization you may want the item in your Item List titled Notary Fee preset at the state allowed fee so when you choose the Notary Fee in an invoice and the quantity it will automatically fill in the state allowed fee and multiply times the quantity of notarizations you have done on this signing. Anything left over would be allocated to the line for travel fee other than edoc fee.
So you have set up the chart of accounts to separate out your different bookkeeping accounts.
You have created an Item list which are the items you choose to make your invoices which when created will hook up with the accounts are your chart of accounts.
You have created a Customer list so when you go to create an invoice is will prefill with their name and address information in the invoice when you choose them from your customer list.
Now back to invoices. Many companies don’t ask us for an invoice, we just fax in their status report and that generates payment so you ask why you need to enter an invoice if you don’t need to send them an invoice. Whether you are required to supply an invoice or not this is your way of tracking what is owed to you.
Now when you get payment for one of these invoices you go in and choose “Receive payment.” Enter the payment amount, date received, choose which invoice this payment is paying. Once you have recorded this payment it will show up in your bank account as a deposit. There is another way but it’s a little more detailed than I care to go into here.
By splitting out and recording things in the manner I have presented above, you can pull information at any time of how much is owed to you, how much you have received in income year to date broken down by miles, how many edocs you’ve done, how many notarizations, etc. The break down is flexible and can be made applicable to your situation.