As a photographer or cinematographer, you tend to focus on the creative side of your business. Your creativity leads to new sales and clients, driving your business to new heights. But what happens when the accounting side of your business doesn’t add up? You may be spending too much time trying to calculate your finances, losing money, or end up being investigated by the IRS. Without proper accounting techniques, your business can come crashing down on you. So let’s talk about some accounting tips for photographers and cinematographers to help keep you and your business in the green and away from legal issues.
5 Accounting Tips for Photographers & Cinematographers
- Get a business bank account & credit card.
Many entrepreneurs, photographers, and cinematographers tend to start accepting checks or depositing cash in their personal bank accounts which can be a big mess and red flag. To make life easy, open a separate bank account just for your business and get a separate credit card to keep track of your business expenses.
- Get your finances in order.
This one sounds obvious, but you may be surprised by the amount of outstanding invoices you have. Even if you have a firm grasp of your fixed costs (camera equipment, lighting, etc.), you may not understand where your variable costs (subcontractors, gas, etc.) come from. These costs can add up, and if they aren’t budgeted for, you may be making less money than you think.
- Schedule a set time for bookkeeping.
You’ll see how helpful it was to get all of your finances in order. Now, keep them in order by setting aside some time every week to invoice your customers, pay expenses, and handle any other financial tasks that come up. Since you just organized everything, keeping things in order will be much less time consuming and save you a massive headache at the end of the year.
- Invoices, expenses, and payments.
Make sure you have a good system in place to invoice your clients, receive payments, manage your expenses, and get your accounting in order. There are many apps online that can help with each function separately but try and find one that can do everything all-in-one to save you time and duplicate data entries.
- Learn about applicable taxes.
In the US, there are three main types of taxes: Federal Income Tax, State Income Tax (only in some states), and State Sales Tax. There may also be a local tax. Make sure you stay up to date on your taxes to ensure you don’t get audited. If you’re struggling to keep things straight, look online or consider consulting with a CPA.
Photography and Cinematography Accounting Feedback
If you follow these tips, you’re one step ahead of your competition and well on your way to becoming a successful photographer and cinematographer that can grow and scale their business. Save time and enjoy more freedom doing what you love most.
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Comment below on any accounting tips you may have for other photographers, videographers, and cinematographers.