Accounting, Best Practices

Discussion in 'Professional Trading' started by aeliodon, Dec 23, 2006.

  1. I know a lot of guys that don't account for any of their trades and do no record keeping at all. But these were prop guys so at least when it comes to tax time, all you really need is your K-1.
    For us retail traders you have to maintain a set of trade accounting exactly in the format that the IRS wants or else its so time consuming to convert everything into IRS format when you have thousands of trades.
    And then if you ever want to manage OPM you also have to have another set of accounting with statistics that OPM like to evaluate. If you ever become a CTA or CPO then that's another set of accounting you have to do.
    Furthermore, it helps to keep detail records that way you can see exactly how you're progressing as a trader and if you're trading multiple systems you can compare each one so it helps you better allocate your funds into your systems.
    So I'm wondering is there any good trade accounting software out there where you can download or input data from your broker and it automatically converts to IRS format and also allows you to separate data and analyze accord to which system you're trading? If not then I'd like to discuss best practices for doing your own accounting so that it can be improved right from the start for 2007.
  2. I guess the first question you have to ask if if you're going to only deal with actualized gains/losses or mark to market all gain/losses. I prefer not to deal with mark to market accounting because its seems more messier and complicated.
  3. Here is the IRS format for stock trades:

    Date Acquired
    Date Sold
    Sales Price