The importance of tour accounting

From the Enterprise team at Leeds College of Music
Keeping track of financial outgoings and income is a basic fundamental for any company or individual across any industry. As an artist on the road, it is easy to forget to look at finances or keep a record of sales. The tour accounting spreadsheet template will hopefully help to keep all of your figures in one place and provide a great set of data to use for future performance dates. Below is a brief explanation of the accompanying template along with some general tips for finances while on tour.
Tour expenses
Here you can collate all of your expenses, broken down by type of expense, and date. This sheet can then calculate the average cost and total expenditure. Include items such as petrol, taxis, hotel rooms, road tolls, daily allowances, venue hire etc.
Tour income
This sheet is laid out in the same way as the previous Tour Expenses sheet, allowing you to list different income streams (e.g. performance fee, t-shirt sales), with it then calculating how much they have generated for each date, as well as in total.
Tour totals
This sheet simply allows you to see the balance between your expenses, and income.

A few tips to consider

  • Keep hold of receipts – this will not only help you keep track of how much you have spent and on what, but will also be useful for your tax return (if applicable).

  • Always have a float for merchandise sales – make sure you have enough money to provide change for any sales you make. Keeping items at simple round figure prices (e.g. £5, £3, £1, etc.) will limit the amount of different coins or notes you will need to carry.

  • Change for parking – perhaps keep this as a separate float to ensure you aren’t caught out when you find that elusive parking spot.

  • Drive economically – by lowering your speed you can gain many more miles per gallon, reducing your spending on fuel. This website has a handy calculator for seeing what the most economic speed is for your vehicle: (

  • Although this isn’t highlighted on the attached template, it is important to know the per unit costs for any merchandise you may sell. For example if you had 200 CDs produced at £360 total, each unit would have cost £1.80. You then know that to break even they would need to be sold to the public for £1.80 minimum. It is useful to note this down as you can then take it in to consideration when calculating income from merchandise.

  • Audience/ticket sales – this is another figure you could add to your spreadsheet and will help you to gauge the success of each performance.

In its simplest form, these spreadsheets will keep a  nancial record of your performance dates. However the data you collect may be much more useful than you initially think. It may be that you can use the data gathered from each tour or live date to plan future dates, as well as things like:

  • Over time being able to use this information to initially estimate costings, allowing you to see how viable your plans are, and whether you can make them more pro table or not.

  • Planning PR campaigns - knowing where you have had the best attendance or most record sales could allow you to target particular cities or areas for regional PR.

  • What of your merchandise lines was the most successful/pro table?

Download the tour accounting spreadsheets to use yourself here.

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