6 Ways to Master Creative Business Finances as an Entrepreneur using QuickBooks Self-Employed | Atlanta Wedding Photographer
Being an entrepreneur calls for having a lot of grit, discipline, and ultimately requires you to wear many hats. In addition to being an expert in your industry and providing excellent service for all of your clients, you must also be in charge of running your social media campaigns, project management, contract negotiation, networking...The responsibilities can seem endless! One of the things that I often hear is that many fellow creatives don’t categorize themselves as “business savvy”, meaning, that the responsibility of bookkeeping, taxes, and profit margins are not their forte, which is understandable.
Having gone to business school (and still being in it!), I’m so thankful to have been taught the mindset you need to have about money in order to thrive and be financially successful and have a business last. It’s so important to know your numbers: your revenue, profit margins, expenses, and what you should set aside for taxes so that you can be faithful with what you have and strategize different ways to make more.
As an entrepreneur, one of the most valuable assets anyone has is time. And sometimes, it can seem as if the daily operational tasks can take away from the things that you do best and the things you love the most. For many, it’s bookkeeping, the numbers. If I’ve learned anything during my time being a student and a wedding photographer, is that it’s so important to invest in products and services that will allow your business to flourish and be efficient.
Quickbooks Self-Employed has been one of the best tools that I have ever used for my business as a photographer. It’s allowed me to grow my business and has saved me a lot of time in a number of ways by streamlining my finances and creating a workflow that serves me throughout the year, setting me up for success for when April that rolls around each year. In short, Quickbooks Self-Employed is my personal, virtual assist, serving as my bookkeeper, invoice system, tax preparer, and mileage tracker.
It’s been my bread and butter, my saving grace, and has allowed me to master my freelance finances with ease.
1. Tracks Business Expenses
When I first jumped into life as an entrepreneur, I did not keep every receipt and I used the same card to make personal and business purchases. When April rolled around and I had to fill out my 1040, trying to go back and remember everything that I had done for my business and what the costs were was a nightmare. I had to go through an audit each of my bank statements and write down what I had purchased. After nearly 3 days of racking my brain and wanting to pull out my hair, I knew that this method had to change. The next day I went to the bank and created a business account after creating an LLC for myself.
Doing this not only saved me the headache of trying to figure out which expense should be categorized (because now expenses were separated), but I then registered for Quickbooks Self-Employed. after joining, I started to realize exactly where I was putting my expenses every single month. Direct reports were available just buy a simple click of the button. I was able to set realistic expectations for what I should be doing and make sure that I was making more than what I spent.
When April rolled around the next year, I was able to fill out my 1040C quickly within an hour. Because of Quickbooks Self-Employed I was able to make sure I maximized my deductions. Quickbooks Self-Employed users find an average of $4,340 annually in tax savings!
2. Bookkeeping is automatic
Quickbooks Self-Employed Has drastically cut down the time that I have to spend categorizing my transactions because the system allows you to connect your bank account to their platform and automatically transfers all of your expenses and income to their platform. The system records each transaction and their source and also allows you to set up “rules” so that recurring transactions are automatically categorized for you. This is super helpful for when I go to the post office, or need to order supplies on the regular (like film!) because the program will categorize each transaction for me. Huge time saver! :)
In addition to the seamless way that QuickBooks Self-Employed categorizes everything for you, they have also just introduced a system where they will transport all of your receipts into their system for free. All you have to do is email the receipt to them and it’s put on file within minutes. if you have a physical receipt, all you have to do is take a photo of it with in the app. Quickbooks Self-Employed has made it so easy to stay on track and on top of all of your finances. It’s definitely saved me a lot of headaches when going into meet with my accountant! My accountant has always been super impressed with how organized and efficient I am able to be. Plus, having all of this already done will actually cut down on what your accountant will charge you when they prepare your taxes!
3. Mileage Tracking
As a wedding photographer in Atlanta, I’m often in the car driving. Driving to sessions, weddings, various meetings with clients, and to the store to get supplies. It’s so important to track mileage because you are able to cut down on a lot of what you would be paying in taxes!
The Quickbooks Self-Employed app is included with all subscriptions and features automatic mileage tracking. The platform shows you how much deductible mileage you have, which will not only make your April’s seem a little less heavy, but it’s super rewarding to see the dollar amount you have left over. In 2017, I had over $5,000 in deductions just through my mileage. Goodbye driving log!
4. Easy Invoicing
Quickbooks Self-Employed offers and easy to use invoicing platform with rates that are far cheaper than most card processing systems. Because I use Quickbooks Self-Employed on a daily basis, it made sense to also implement invoicing with in the platform. From there I can track invoices that I’ve said, invoices that are due, and invoices that are being paid.
5. Quick & Simple Financial Reporting
On the homepage of every account within Quickbooks Self-Employed is a graph which shows you your net income every year. sometimes, it’s just easier to understand all the numbers when you have something visual in front of you. Quickbooks Self-Employed does just that. This is super helpful for when you are preparing your annual taxes. Within the platform you can select different types of reports to view and generate. you can do you a report of all of your different receipts, your profit and loss statements. Your tax summary with all of your deductions and each of your expenses categorized, and prepare 1099’s (with TurboTax) to send out for various contracted work. It has been a huge help to me!
6. Quarterly Tax Estimates and Payment System
Within Quickbooks Self-Employed, at the very top of the client portal is information about when the next quarterly tax payment is due, and the system also provides estimates for what you should pay. it will send you reminders as well as provide a way for you to pay within the system. as someone who is a busy business owner, and who has accidentally forgotten to pay a quarterly payment, having this feature is priceless.
At first, implementing a new system for your business can seem a little bit overwhelming, and perhaps like something that is a little out of your league. For me, in the beginning, it was definitely overwhelming. However, the staff at QuickBooks Self-Employed are some of the most friendly, and helpful people that you will ever have the pleasure of working with. They are eager to help make your experience perfect, and quick to respond.
Since using Quickbooks Self-Employed, I have been able to understand the financial aspects of my business better than ever, and I have been able to set goals for what I want my business and my life to look like. Taxes are never a surprise, and I know exactly how much I spend each week simply by spending 15 minutes each week to review and analyze my growth compared to past month. I’m so thankful to have had Quickbooks Self-Employed as a part of my journey as a creative business and entrepreneur! It has been such a necessary tool as an entrepreneur and something that I believe all freelancers should have. I can truly say that because of this wonderful platform, I have been able to make sure I am confident with my finances and it’s allowed me to ensure that I can put myself through school debt-free and I’ve also been able to purchase a 2018 Toyota Corolla with cash.
Quickbooks Self-Employed has been gracious enough to extend a 50% off discount for the first year to all of those who are considering the platform.
I know that you won’t regret it, and I highly recommend you look into it. I’m more than happy to help and would love to answer any questions that you might have. it’s my greatest desire for all creative business entrepreneurs to be financially successful and for them to know exactly what their numbers are.