I work and chat with Photographers on the daily. Between my monthly clients and the members of my free FB Community, (Financially Focused Photographers), I see a lot of misconceptions.
But that’s ok. That’s Why I’m here to help photographers understand the financial aspect of their business.
One of the biggest mistakes I see Photographers make is using their CRM (Customer Relationship Management) as a business tool to help them with everything, including bookkeeping and accounting.
I’m sorry to be the one to break it to you (well, not too sorry!), but there’s no one magical business app to handle all your customer relationships as well as the bookkeeping side of your business. Every photographer who runs a business needs a professional bookkeeping app.
That’s because a CRM is great for handling very simple, on-the-surface bookkeeping. However, a professional bookkeeping app will capture all of your business’s financial data and organize it in a tax-compliant manner keeping you fully prepared for tax time, budgeting, and any possible audits.
In today’s blog post, I wanted to talk about your CRM vs QBO, the differences between them, as well as the pros and cons of CRMs and QBO (QuickBooks Online), so that you know exactly why I recommend using both TOGETHER!
The benefits of using a CRM
(Customer Relationship Management)
A CRM is great for precisely what it’s named after customer relationship management. CRM apps offer workflows that are incredibly easy to set up, which automate & streamline your client journey. Many have included client portals, lead capture, proposals, and contracts with e-signatures.
There’s no doubt a CRM will help you become more efficient, spending less time on redundant admin tasks allowing you to focus on fostering a personal relationship with each client and serving them even better.
Looking for some CRM options? Find out more about my favorite CRM platform and why I love it so much by clicking here.
Unfortunately, CRM’s are not an all-in-one solution. Every single CRM comes up short in the bookkeeping department.
Even 17Hats, Honeybook, and Dubsado, which are considered more robust, have lackluster bookkeeping. Yes, you can see your income and if you MANUALLY bring in your expenses, you’ll get a very basic P&L (Profit & Loss) Statement. Due to the simplicity of the bookkeeping component of most CRM’s many items are accounted for incorrectly.
Due to the lack of full financial tools, many items that should be on a balance sheet hit the simple P&L and can totally skew your numbers! Yup, you read that right. I’ve had many photographer clients who have misreported income and sales tax because they relied on CRM financials. I don’t want that for you!
The benefits of using QBO
Having been an Accountant for over 20 years an Intuit QBO Advanced Certified ProAdvisor for ten of those years, I can tell you that you get what you pay for when it comes to your bookkeeping software. (Isn’t that the theme for life in general?)
QuickBooks Online checks all the boxes for photographers! (Trust me I’m a professional.)
This bookkeeping software streamlines your bookkeeping processes in a tax-compliant way. Plus, you can produce actual financials that will truly help you analyze and grow your business. You can compare month to month, see your bottom line, and know that you’re ready for tax time.
You can finally have peace of mind that you’re running a legit, compliant, and financially-fit business.
At Bastian Accounting, we use QuickBooks Online for our one-on-one photographer clients. QBO is the ONLY accounting app with all the features needed for accurate and compliant bookkeeping to ease tax time and tax planning.
Just a few things we love about QBO are…
- Accurate financials (can you tell how important these are)
- Sales Tax Tracking
- Contractor Tracking
- 1099 Filing
- Built-in Payroll
- Built-in Mileage Tracker
…Just to name a few.
QuickBooks Online also integrates with SO many other apps! (More on this later.)
PSA: Quickbooks is not a substitute for a CRM (and vice versa!)
Pubic Service Announcement: CRMs should be used ONLY for the purpose they were created for: Customer Relationship Management. They’re great for helping you capture leads, send proposals, create and send contracts, and sometimes even manage invoices. They also often include functional automation designed to streamline your backend and client-facing processes.
By now, I’m sure you’re aware that I love QuickBooks Online, and I recommend you use this bookkeeping software alongside your favorite CRM. But don’t get it twisted… QBO will also never be a replacement for your CRM. Each has its role in keeping your photography business streamlined, organized, and compliant. You will never obtain this with only one of these apps.
How your CRM can support QBO
Even though QuickBooks can’t substitute your CRM, there are ways you can use them together to maximize your time and productivity. I’m all for automation, so that’s why I use Dubsado and QuickBooks together (with other business apps) to create a powerful automation machine that runs all the processes in my business.
For example, by linking QuickBooks to Dubsado, I can copy an invoice link from QuickBooks Online, and it helps me reconcile merchant fees against deposits so I don’t have to do it manually!
If you’re a bit confused about what I’m talking about, check out this blog post about reconciling merchant fees in QBO. And if you want to learn more about how your CRM can support QuickBooks Online, you can check out this blog post!
Both QuickBooks Online and CRMs are incredibly powerful tools, but they’re great at what they were designed for. If you’re still trying to use your CRM in place of a professional bookkeeping app, it’s time to make the switch! Leave behind the headaches from scrambling around in your CRM, creating a ton of work arounds, and handling most of your finances manually — and get ready for a more financially-fit lifestyle. Oh and you get my QuickBooks Online discount by clicking here!