Working as a self-employed photographer can be a dream come true, enabling you to turn your hobby into a career. That said, running your own photography business comes with additional tasks like business planning, organising logistics, customer management, tax paperwork, and so on.
Bookkeeping can be especially tedious but is inevitable in business. That’s why we’ve compiled these bookkeeping tips for photographers to help you manage it easier:
- Familiarise yourself with tax rules and brackets
- Keep your business finances separate
- Optimise your invoicing process
- Consider hiring a professional bookkeeper
- Use the right accounting software
Familiarise yourself with tax rules and brackets
As a self-employed photographer, you’re responsible for managing and paying your own taxes. To help make bookkeeping easier, it’s good to familiarise yourself with the new tax brackets and deadlines each tax year since they tend to fluctuate. For example, “Personal Allowance” for income tax is currently £12,570, but last year it was £12,500.
Staying on top of any changes will help you ensure you set aside enough of what you earn each month and avoid scrambling to collect the funds when tax season comes. It’s also crucial to be aware of the different deadlines for filing your Self Assessment tax return. Failing to submit your return in time can lead to hefty penalties. For that reason, it’s a good idea to check the government site regularly, so you don’t miss any updates.
Keep your business finances separate
Limited companies of any size are legally required to open a separate account for their business finances. Sole traders may choose not to, but having a dedicated business account will make your bookkeeping so much easier.
Using a separate account for all your business transactions helps you keep track of which purchases were made specifically for your photography business. This way, you won’t have to sift through your bank statements to figure out which transactions to include in your Self Assessment.
Having a business account to receive and make payments also looks more professional. In fact, some clients might even refuse to make payments into a personal account at all. So whether you’re a sole trader or set up as a limited company, separating your finances is a smart move.
Optimise your invoicing process
As a self-employed photographer, invoicing is likely part of your operational routine. So, optimising your invoicing process can significantly impact your photography business.
One way to do this is to build a template that you can then customise to fit each client and project. Having a template speeds up the process, helps with consistency and makes it easier for clients to recognise your invoices.
Another way to optimise your invoicing process is to send your invoices out as quickly as possible. After all, the faster you send them, the quicker your clients can pay you. Always send your invoices out promptly and pay attention to how your clients respond. For example, if one client always pays their bill late, it might be time to implement a late fee.
Setting clear payment terms is key to a smooth invoicing process, so always spell out when you expect to get paid and what happens if a client doesn’t pay on time. If you want, you could offer an incentive (like a small discount) to clients that pay within one or two days of receiving the invoice.
Consider hiring a professional bookkeeper
There are plenty of companies that offer bookkeeping for photographers. So if you decide it’s too much to deal with your business bookkeeping, you could hire an accountant or bookkeeper to manage it for you.
The key here is to partner with a bookkeeping professional that understands your needs. In addition, you want them to have the qualifications and experience to cater to those needs.
When looking for someone to help with your bookkeeping, it’s also important to understand the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant.
Simply put, a bookkeeper’s job is to oversee a company’s financial data and perform accounting tasks like record keeping, financial reporting, general ledger adjustments, expense tracking, and so on.
An accountant performs the same tasks and also examines the data to determine the company’s financial performance. In addition, accountants often also double as business advisors, meaning they can help you make better financial decisions. Since accountants do more for your business, they also tend to cost more.
Use the right accounting software
Another bookkeeping tip for self-employed photographers is to invest in accounting software. That said, it’s essential to select the right solution to suit your business needs. When running a business alone, the last thing you need is a system that adds complications instead of minimising them.
Instead, you want a solution that’s tailored to the needs of one-person businesses, such as Countingup. This system gives you a business current account and accounting software rolled into one app so you can manage your finances in one place. Designed with the smallest businesses in mind, Countingup has all the features you need to run your photography practice effectively.
Key features include:
- A unique two in one app including a business account and accounting software
- Invoicing on the go: create and send unlimited customised invoices to clients straight from your phone.
- Receipt capture tool: simply photograph the receipts with your phone to scan them into the system.
- Automatic expense categorisation: Countingup automatically sorts your expenses into HMRC-approved categories, making it easy to stay organised.
- Tax estimates: the app generates monthly tax estimates, so you know exactly how much to set aside.
- Business insights: you can access accurate, and up to date cash flow reports, so you know exactly how much money you have at any time.
- Accountant access: if you work with an accountant, you can give them instant access to your financial data by emailing them an invite. Simple, seamless and safe!
Save yourself hours of accounting admin so you can focus on growing your business. Sign up for a Countingup business account today.