What is a Self-Employment Ledger and Why It’s Important for You?

What is a Self-Employment Ledger | How to Track Your Income
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December 15, 2023
Time to read: 10 Minutes
December 15, 2023
6 min read

One dilemma that many self-employed individuals face is the burden of proof of income, especially when applying for loans or claiming benefits, and even paying taxes. This is where a self-employment ledger comes into play.

This article would help you understand self-employment ledgers and their use for your business.

What is a Self-Employment Ledger?

A self-employment ledger is a detailed record demonstrating a self-employed individual’s income and expenses relevant to a business’s operation. Self-employment ledger documentation could come in various forms such as

  • a handwritten ledger book,
  • a computer-generated spreadsheet,
  • accounting software,
  • anything that catalogs someone’s self-employment income and expenses.

As a self-employed person, there are various reasons why you might find a self-employment income ledger useful. For example, when you need to estimate and verify your income to qualify for government healthcare benefits. You could use a self-employment ledger template through accounting software to generate your records. An income ledger would also serve as a way to track and file your income statements, especially for individuals who choose to work independently.

Need to Know: Proof of Income For Freelancers: Self-Employed Pay Stub 

Although a self-employment income ledger is not an official record such as your tax returns, it could still serve as corroboration for your income statements.

Is a Ledger Proof of Income?

A self-employment ledger should contain records of your income as well as your expenses. This documentation serves to corroborate your income statements along with your generated paystub for self-employed individuals.

Banks and lenders would require you to present proof of income when applying for a loan or securing capital and investors. A self-employment income ledger allows potential investors and lenders to gauge and have an idea of your estimated and even forecasted income. Health insurance applications on the health exchange also welcome self-employment documentation as an acceptable form of income verification.

This gives you all the more reason to maintain an updated record, as it would also help you manage your finances and budget better.

Good to Know: Everything you need to know about proof of income 

Why Do You Need a Self-Employment Ledger?

Owning your own business gives you the advantage of being your own boss. However, being self-employed does come with more responsibilities, especially regarding accounting, bookkeeping, and financial matters that would otherwise fall on professionals hired by bigger organizations.

As a self-employed individual who considers various income sources, your self-employed ledger essentially needs to be precise and complete. Along with its functionality and ease of use, your self-employment ledger documentation would provide you with the ability to track your taxable self-employment income.

Good and effective documentation of self-employment income allows you to prepare and file taxes in a much simpler process. It also helps you to corroborate your income and expenses for when you need to apply for loan applications or government healthcare benefits. Additionally, an organized self-employment ledger documentation could improve your forecasting, allowing you to develop a more calculated and more accurate tax plan.

How to Complete the Self-Employment Ledger Form?

Searching for a self-employment ledger example on the internet would give tons of results with self-employment ledger templates available for free. You might find that some forms are more or less detailed than others. However, each one should include sufficient information for you to decipher accurately and quickly.

Self-employment ledger forms frequently include columns for the date, service, or goods provided and the customer or client’s name. This is why some individuals choose to use straightforward self-employment ledger templates consisting of only the most crucial information. When setting up or filling out a template, consider whether you could keep the form up to date easily. 

Feel free to tweak and change the design and format of any template you prefer to use to fit your preferences and needs better. There is no standardized form, so most institutions would generally accept it as long as the document is easy to follow and contains accurate information.

As such, there is also no single accepted process of filling out self-employment ledger documentation. However, most individuals follow general steps when filling out their self-employment income ledger.

1. Document your gross incomes 

Write down all gross income amounts you earned in each month as soon as you receive them. Record every payment for a service or product, the type of income, whether accounts receivable, cash, or check, and the date you receive or collect them. Group these amounts in your self-employment income ledger according to a month in an orderly manner for easier review.

Log only the dates when you received your income and not when you completed the work or provided the product.

2. Log business expenses

Completing your self-employment ledger documentation involves recording all accepted business expenses, as they have a significant impact on the amount of taxes you pay. Documenting all your tax-deductible expenses would help guarantee that you receive the best possible tax returns.

Self-employed individuals could deduct their accepted business expenses from their self-employment income. Deductible expenses could include major business-related purchases, including machinery, tools, software, and other long-lasting commodities. It could also comprise a certain percentage of home expenses and the rate of real work accomplished.

Write down the date for each expense accrued and describe where the specific expense went, totaling monthly expenditure. You could always consult a tax professional if you have doubts about which costs can be deducted.

If your business’s location is the same as your domestic residence, there are alternatives you could elect for housing deductions. This includes mortgage, home real estate taxes, or house insurance. You could choose to claim a certain percentage of the actual domestic expense and consider it the “cost of doing business” for self-employment.

You could also claim another percentage of the total real housing price as a subtraction in the SNAP budget. Meanwhile, when you use your domestic house as the same location for your business, do not include consumption expenditures. Although, you could include incurred business-related telephone charges.

Your self-employment ledger expense category should not include depleted items, deprecation, taxes, retirement plans, personal domestic expenditures, private internet and telephone charges, and consumption costs for domestic-based self-employment expenses.

Each self-business structure possesses its own unique set of rules defining which expense is accepted in a business. In some cases, there could be expenses that may not be applicable to one business program but are accepted in another program.

3. Review and add up your totals

Keeping up-to-date self-employment ledger documentation is essential at the end of each month. Review your ledger and check for any unintentional omissions or inaccuracies. Add up your total income and expenses, and record those amounts in a separate column or section.

However, you may not always have the luxury to take away your focus from other business-related tasks to fill out each column or add up total amounts. This is where professional online check stub makers come in handy, helping you to ensure that essential details and information do not get lost in the mix.

Self-employment Ledger Templates

A self-employment ledger shows investors and lenders the details of your payments and expenses. It contains details of transactions and invoices, so keep in mind the items you need to consider when creating or tweaking a self-employment ledger example.

- Name and Address

Always include your name, the name of your business, and your business address. For some self-employed individuals, the address is the same as their home address. You and your business are the same entity, which means one cannot exist without the other.

- Invoice Numbering

Write down the invoice numbering of each transaction in an orderly manner. A key to a reliable self-employment ledger is having consistency in your recording.

- Tax Avenues

A self-employment ledger template must contain your tax avenues that should not differ from the form’s date.

- Payment Terms

Decide on your payment terms before working on a specific project or providing services or goods, especially for large companies or bigger clients. It would be best to be critical on these terms as some clients prefer that you include them in your self-employment documentation.

- Bank Details

Include your bank details on this critical document. Forgetting to consider them is a common mistake that some self-employed individuals make.

- Order Number or Referencing

The “Purchase Order Number” acts as a reference for your clients or individuals who hire you for your services. The order number allows you to identify costs on specific projects, budget, or total pricing at the end. This is mainly used with larger clients with multiple succeeding projects, ensuring that payments are not delayed or confused.

- Value Added Tax (VAT)

Specify whether you are VAT registered. This would give you a clear understanding of the rates on your self-employment ledger template. Take note of the dynamics of VAT rates and be vigilant as it could sometimes get confusing.


Constantly create and keep multiple copies of your self-employment ledger templates and forms. Some may still create handwritten templates. However, handwritten documentation can be easily lost or destroyed, and making them could become tedious. Use soft copies so you can easily save and transfer them to your computer. Keep a backup device such as a portable hard disk just in case.

Keeping Records

You could always use the services of online bookkeeping systems to help you with your self-employed ledger documentation. However, suppose you cannot afford their services. In that case, you could always create your own self-employed ledger template with the following important items in the ledger document: client or employer’s name, details of the project or work, VAT and other total amount deductions, invoice date and number, and the date of payments received.

It is ideal for any self-employed individual to provide and create their own self-employment ledger template and form. This would always ensure that you and your investors or clients have sufficient records showing the works and projects accomplished and performed and payment completed. It makes it easier for you to monitor and calculate your monthly and yearly income and expenditures.

Professional Check Stub Builder for Self-Employment Ledger

A reliable and efficient self-employment ledger is essential to maintaining accurate documentation, providing you fast and easy auditing and review. Real Check Stubs offers an easy-to-follow process for generating paystubs for self-employed individuals so that you can easily track and monitor your hours worked and payment received.

Self-employed generated paystubs allow individuals to present them as proof of identification, proof of income, and employment. These documents carry the same authority as those issued by established businesses to employees.

A professional check stub builder for self-employment ledger documentation would provide you with the necessary information to keep your records up to date and accurate. Your independence does not necessarily mean that you have to do everything yourself. Help from a check stub maker would go a long way for your business.


As a self-employed individual, verifying your income could be more challenging as you do not always have a regular paystub to serve as documentation for your payment. Consequently, the burden of corroborating your income and crunching numbers falls solely on self-employed individuals. Although it is not the most desirable task when doing business, it is imperative from an accounting viewpoint.

Luckily, you could use a self-employment ledger to help you record, track, and monitor your income, as well as your expenses. It could help you plan your finances and secure the services your business needs to succeed.

A reliable and efficient self-employment ledger documentation allows you to verify your income in different situations. You could use a ledger when applying for a loan, applying for healthcare, or qualifying for government subsidiaries. Your self-employment income ledger acts as an adequate record of your income.

Visit our website, Real Check Stubs, and check out our professional check stub builder for self-employment ledger and other must-read blogs that would greatly help the self-employed individual.