As one or two readers will know, in my work like I started, like Daeguowl and Jenny, as an accountant. So here is an entirely non-IFRS-compliant statement of LKL’s activities for 2007.

Summary PnL

1 Revenues

As many readers may appreciate, the object of this website is not to make money. And because I prefer to have control over the look of the site I don’t like having javascript ads all over the place. This means that my initial blog was ad-free, and when I joined Google Adsense in the second half of 2006, the advertising panels I introduced were extremely low-profile (as were, inevitably, the resulting revenues).

Adsense graph

Moving to version 3 of my blog templates in August 2007 gave me the opportunity to introduce a Google panel in the sidebar while still leaving plenty of space for navigation, and the change paid off for a while. Here’s how the revenues have trended (in $) – though I think the lesson is to keep moving the ads around.

In fact, Google revenues per month now exceed monthly charges at my current webhost. But webhosting charges are not the only cost of a website. And even if they were, you can see from the numbers that I’m not going to get rich any time soon.

For, I am grateful to the individual who bought a copy of Understanding Korean Literature, and also to the person who ordered DVD boxed sets of 24 and Prison Break. I have £4.25 of accrued wealth as a result (- if ever my earnings reach the point where it’s worth Amazon writing me a cheque, that is).

YesAsia earnings: a big fat zero. Similarly

2 Webhosting & domain registration

This number is bigger than I would like, and represents the cost of inexperience (or, with a more positive spin, the costs of a growing site)

Webhost costs

As you can see, I paid for three webhosts this year. 2008 will hopefully see something a little more streamlined.

3 Software and other services

Software etc

4 Marketing

Well, you’ve got to have some business cards, haven’t you? It’s easier to get the contacts and interviews if you look “official”.

5 Investment in content

These are the costs I might be incurring anyway without running the website. But without these costs, I wouldn’t have anything to write about.

The costs look rather large in isolation, but considering what some people spend their money on it’s rather tame. Look at it this way: it’s the equivalent of 23 cigarettes per day. (non-Brits may not be aware of the price of death sticks in the UK: over £5 per pack of 20 according to the UK cigarette lobbying group. Fortunately, I don’t smoke, so I can afford to amuse myself in other ways)

Here’s the way those 23 daily cigarette equivalents (dce) were spent in 2007

  • Lunches & similar network building (2 dce)
  • Events, seminar attendance, society memberships (4 dce)
  • A trip to Seoul tacked on to the back of a work trip to Asia (- unfortunately I only ever get to Korea when work takes me out East, which isn’t very often). (6 dce)
  • Books, CDs, DVDs (11 dce)

Accountants out there will spot that if I were preparing these numbers under whatever GAAP is appropriate I wouldn’t be expensing my book and digital media costs: I should be capitalising and depreciating. But having looked at the accounting policies of university libraries (depreciation periods anything from 4 to 10 years) I reckon that if I were to depreciate over 5 years (useful life of my library is at the shorter end of the range because the number of impulse buys I make means that many of the purchases are only fit for the bin as soon as they enter my CD player) the depreciation charge would not be too far off what I spent this year. I’ve been in this game for over 5 years now and I don’t think my annual spend has changed much. Early years were skewed towards film, now it’s more books and music.

Here, for the record, are the beneficiaries of my content-buying habit in 2007:

Where the money goes

Other costs not included

If I were really trying to establish some tax losses I’d chuck in the following:

  • Depreciation on an extra computer — we had to get a second one because I was hogging the existing one rather too much.
  • Depreciation on a smartphone — my security-conscious employer blocks access to personal webmail via work PCs, so I had to get myself a Treo so that I can read and send emails when I’m not at home.

Also not included above (in either the revenue or cost lines) is the notional benefit and cost of the occasional free Press ticket to London events that I get given. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s nice when it does.

2 thoughts on “The LKL P&L

  1. I think you should record some employee costs for all the hours you spend doing this….

    On a nother note, I see the North Korean Philarmonic are going to visit the UK later this year…’ve been scooped by the Telegraph!

  2. LOL

    Re the North Korean Phil… Rats. I hadn’t realised it was all fixed up. I knew Suzannah Clarke wanted to organise it, but hadn’t heard that it was a done deal. I’d seen it reported that David Heather – who was behind the DPRK art show last year – was maybe going to help with the funding but it just shows what happens if you take the eye off the ball! Too focused right now on the opening of the Cultural Centre next week, and a backlog of posts on various recent talks & conferences.

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