There are lots of good books and websites that explain how to keep your books on paper or on a computer spreadsheet. Some of our favorites are:
Minding Her Own Business: The Self-Employed Woman’s Guide to Taxes and Recordkeeping, by Jan Zobel (Sourcebooks). A good basic introduction to bookkeeping, including detailed examples of income and expense sheets (and it’s not just for women).
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Accounting by Lita Epstein and Shelly Moore (Alpha). Greater detail, for those who plan to keep more complex records and are comfortable with basic accounting concepts (and it’s not just for idiots).
www.toolkit.com. The “Business Owner’s Toolkit” site offers plenty of helpful free information. Click “Managing Your Business Finances” for a crash course in basic accounting principles.