Advantage Insights Gives Kurt Johnson Photography a Clearer Picture of Its Finances

Talent, Opportunity, and the Challenges of Growth

Exposure to nature—even natural photography—can have a positive impact on our mental health. This simple fact underpins biophilic design, an approach to construction and design that emphasizes naturalistic imagery to therapeutic effect. This intersection of natural beauty and interior design is where you can find Kurt Johnson Photography (KJP). Based in Omaha, they specialize in producing soothing natural photography and design elements for use in healthcare settings.

Today, Kurt Johnson is known as a Nature and Healing Arts Photographer, operating primarily within the healthcare design industry. He co-owns KJP with his wife, Carolyn Johnson. Carolyn is the majority owner, overseeing operations, sales strategies and marketing efforts. The two of them work with a tight-knit staff of skilled professionals including Art Director Tori Gerkin, Writer and Social Media Manager Casey Kurz, and Special Projects Lead Jerred Zegelis. 

Kurt Johnson Photography has established itself within a growing and highly-specialized field. Trends toward biophilic design, especially in healthcare, have created steady and valuable opportunities for Kurt and Carolyn. That opportunity, mixed with the talent and dedication of their staff, have been the main ingredients for their success.

But with success comes growth, and growth always offers us challenges. As projects have become larger, more numerous, and more complex, Carolyn and Kurt found that their bookkeeping needed some help. When the company was founded, Kurt began by managing his own financial statements. As the business stands today, that isn’t something he or Carolyn can do on their own.

Kurt says he can keep up with advancements in camera technology, photo editing software, and even develop novel solutions for their unique projects. But in general, his experience with QuickBooks and bookkeeping have been less intuitive. Early on, Kurt noticed that his time with QuickBooks was not well-spent.

“Because of the growth of our business, our time and money are better spent doing what we do best: Taking pictures, selling, and meeting with clients—not slogging through QuickBooks.”
-Kurt Johnson

When Kurt and Carolyn are able to focus on creative projects and client communication, they are always productive. The same cannot be said for their time with QuickBooks. However, a business’ need for accurate and thorough financial reporting cannot be neglected for long. Carolyn and Kurt knew they would have to address this need.

Advantage Insights Complements KJP’s Team Composition

While working on a 5-year plan with their business coach, Kurt and Carolyn shared their challenges with QuickBooks and bookkeeping in general. For one, they were not confident in the accuracy of their records. Secondly, they wanted to be able to understand and apply the information found in their profit & loss statements.

Seeking options, Kurt and Carolyn asked their business coach to help them hire a reliable bookkeeping provider.

“We were getting to the point where we couldn’t handle it any more. We were spending too much time trying to figure out QuickBooks. We had a vague notion of our business performance, but we didn’t know how to interpret our financial metrics in a way that made sense.”
-Kurt Johnson

The business coach recommended Mary Ferry and Advantage Insights. Carolyn and Kurt met with Mary, sharing their challenges and trepidation about bookkeeping. According to Kurt, Mary immediately reassured them and laid out their path forward. In that first meeting, Mary helped Kurt and Carolyn understand what they needed to do to normalize their accounting and produce clear, actionable financial reports.

“Mary explained what she did, went through her process, and explained what would happen. She’s just a really engaging, nice person who has tons of patience with us.”
-Kurt Johnson

Kurt Johnson Photography needed to correct and complete its current financial statements in order to build a successful, ongoing process for accounting. This began with an Accounting Clean Up service from Advantage Insights. Throughout a frank, thorough, and encouraging process, Advantage Insights worked with the KJP team to bring their financial statements up to date and in line with modern reporting standards.

Along the way, Mary and Ellen from Advantage Insights have helped Kurt and Carolyn understand how to maintain and better utilize their financial statements. To keep things simple, repeatable, and accurate, Advantage Insights provided some best practice guidance for how to normalize and regulate financial reporting procedures. 

Now, Carolyn and Kurt receive a monthly report of financial performance. Each month, a video meeting is held to discuss the report’s contents and the implications of their financial statements. Additionally, the KJP team captures all their receipts using Dext, a program that allows users to file receipts by snapping a photo with their smart device. All Kurt Johnson Photography contractors and employees have been moved to direct deposit to further standardize and automate their reporting.

Advantage Insights also provides ongoing support and training to the team at Kurt Johnson Photography. 

“In the first few months, we had lots of questions. Mary is always there to answer questions or address any concerns. They’ve got a great system and great people. They make it easy.”
-Kurt Johnson

The Accounting Clean Up and ongoing financial management services have evolved the way Carolyn and Kurt run their business. It has given them the ability to assess their performance broadly, and take a more focused look at individual aspects of their business. This enhanced financial awareness has allowed them to make better decisions in the moment and create more comprehensive and useful plans for the future.

Accounting Clean Up Brings True Financial Performance Into Focus

According to Kurt, the Accounting Clean Up and subsequent services have given his team more accurate insights into their performance as a whole, as well as the outcomes of individual projects. If Kurt and Carolyn eventually decide to sell their business, they can do so with a detailed track record, better demonstrating the value of their operations. 

Kurt Johnson Photography developed a successful business model but lacked visibility into its financial performance. Now, Carolyn and Kurt are able to know exactly how profitable each project is, and the true cost of goods and labor. This allows them to focus their efforts on the most profitable segments of their business, and make needed adjustments to their pricing and operations to optimize their profitability.

Why does this matter? Because every dollar they save represents a better return on their labor! Each purchasing decision is made with complete awareness of its financial impact. Every hour saved on financial reporting is time that can go back into growing the business and producing beautiful design projects for their clients.

For the first time in his career, Kurt is actually interested in his financial reports!

“I’m asking questions. I’m more engaged. Rather than the drudgery of working at a process I’m not good at, I get useful information about what we are doing, right and wrong.”
-Kurt Johnson

When business operators can be confident in their financial statements, that confidence extends to how the business is run. Kurt is optimistic about the future of his business.

“We want to increase revenues, broaden our footprint, and take care of our partners. With our new view of the financials, we can accomplish these goals.”
-Kurt Johnson

By working with Advantage Insights, the owners of Kurt Johnson Photography have gained peace of mind when it comes to their financial statements and the processes that maintain them. They have also gained significant insight into their financial performance metrics, having learned the language of finance with help from an expert translator.

Kurt Johnson has some straightforward advice for any business owner who might consider an Accounting Clean Up or other services from Advantage Insights: “Don’t think, do it. You get to find out exactly how your business is doing. Not a guess. You really know.” 

With this knowledge, a business owner or operator can gain a solid foundation for making informed business decisions. Your business has its own unique financial and operational challenges. Advantage Insights can help you discover how you can meet those challenges head on. Contact us online or call today to arrange a free consultation.

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