Are you a self-employed artist or photographer? If so, you should understand how vital to your business accurate record keeping is. Record keeping is one of those things that can be fairly time consuming and monotonous, however, by setting aside a little time each week, it can really help in the future and save you a lot of work all in one go!
What should you keep records of?
Ideally there are three main things that you should keep up to date and safe;
- Your artwork
- Financial Transactions including sales
- Customer details and a client list
We are all guilty of it… saving digital files under any old name. However, this can cause a nightmare when you know you have a file but you are shifting through hundreds or perhaps thousands to find one image you needed to send over to potential client 10-minutes ago! To save yourself this potential time consuming problem, you should name files accordingly. Set up your own system that you can stick to and use each and every time you save a new piece of artwork. It is always a good idea to include the date too, perhaps just the month and year and the title of the piece for example, something simple such as ‘January2020_ArtworkName‘ would suffice. By naming your files accordingly, this can also assist when discussing them with someone else, to ensure you are both discussing the same piece of work. It would then be useful to record these file names in an individual spreadsheet too so you can record your sales against this.
By recording all of your income and expenses, you will be saving yourself a lot of time and stress, particularly at this time of year when the dreaded self-assessment return date approaches! Of course, you should be doing this already, however, if you feel like you need help with this, perhaps contact a local bookkeeper or accountant.
Not only does recording financial transactions make it more convenient when it comes to submitting your tax return, it can also give an insight into your business which you may not have noticed. By recording all of your expenses you can check where you are spending your money. Perhaps you’ve purchased a lot of material recently, by checking records you can identify this and it may help you assess where you can save some costs. On the other hand you should also record your sales and other income. This can assist in identifying best sellers – and the worst sellers, which can then be a great tool when developing your work (although of course, trends and preferences change). Obviously, recording sales is also identifying any income you are making which is most likely the main outcome of your business!
Customers and clients
You should record all those that you come across. This includes customers and suppliers. Do you have a massive pile of business cards hanging around that you don’t know what to do with? Why not set up a simple spreadsheet and record those that may be interested stakeholders. By noting details next to each person, for example, where you met them, what you discussed or how they could benefit you and your business, you will be making your life much easier long term. By jotting this information down and storing it somewhere safe you can immediately remove this information from your head and focus on something else! This can be a daunting task if you have a large amount of information to record but by setting aside a little time each week, you’ll really notice how easy it can be!
Do you have anything else you think is important to keep a record of when it comes to your photography or art business? Let us know, we would love to hear from you!
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