Bookkeeping and inventory software

My recent series on finances has brought up the question: “What software do you recommend for keeping track of my art work and having the correct information for tax purposes?”

What you need are two different pieces of software: one for your inventory and mailing list database and another for your financial records.

Based on feedback I receive from artists, I speculate that these are the top three inventory-mailing list databases. They will keep track of your inventory, sales, and contacts.

  1. Flick!
  2. eArtist
  3. Bento (Mac only)  January 2015 update: No longer available. Definitely look at Cloud-based ArtworkArchive

Both Flick! and eArtist are formatted for artist use. Bento is like “FileMaker Light” and requires formatting, but I’m told it’s quite user-friendly. There are other options, but I narrowed down your choices based on what I’m hearing in the field.

7/6/09 Update per Ron’s comment. I should have been more specific in the above paragraph. Bento is not an art management platform, but a general database. Therefore, it requires significant formatting–unlike the others here. Because of this, you can use it for all of your database needs-not just for your art inventory or contacts. Also, because of this, you can personalize it and make it look however you like.

See these related posts:

As I say in I’d Rather Be in the Studio! Most of these options can handle every aspect of your art business except the detailed financial reports that a program like QuickBooks can provide.” (page 17)

So, for financial records, I recommend QuickBooks, although many people are very happy with Quicken. If you have a bookkeeper or accountant, I’d certainly ask them for their advice in this area before you purchase bookkeeping software. You want to be able to share files easily.

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