This blog was originally posted on Yoga with Chi.
Recently, I went to a workshop called The Business of Teaching: for Fitness Professionals. As a yoga teacher, I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to improve my business, as I would like to expand my reach. While many topics were familiar, it was great to be reminded that 2016 is not over. In other words, there is still time to make necessary adjustments for your business or start something new.
Here are the highlights from the workshop, plus my own two cents:
Bookkeeping. Fitness instructors (yoga, Pilates, spin, etc.), gyms, studios, CrossFit boxes and more should maintain financial records by way of bookkeeping. Really, if you earn an income, bookkeeping is a must. I state this because many fitness pros do not have a bookkeeping system. If that happens to be you, turn to user-friendly cloud based software, such as FreshBooks, Quickbooks Online, or Xero.
By having current financial records, you are in better control of your cash flow, which means you are in better control of your business. You can measure the performance of your business, make adjustments, plan, recommit, and grow.
In the US, FreshBooks and QuickBooks have monthly pricing plans starting at $12.95 while Xero (my personal favorite) begins at $9. If you are not sure which software is the best for you, try before you buy. Each offers a 30-day trial, free of charge.
If you are behind or short on time, invest in a bookkeeper. Yes, invest! Focus on the potential gains to your business. A good bookkeeper will help you achieve your business goals.
Vehicle Expenses. This task is annoying to many of us. However, if your vehicle is used for business purposes you may be able to deduct car expenses by tracking your mileage.
For example, if you use your vehicle to meet clients at their homes, you may be able to deduct car expenses. If you are a yoga teacher, personal trainer, or some other instructor using your car to travel to and from the studio or gym, you may be able to deduct your car expenses.
Obtain the mileage to and from your business destination and multiply by 54 cents. As always, refer to the IRS in order to verify the mileage calculation as well as other deductions.
Another option is to download an app that tracks mileage for you. In the iPhone and Android app stores, enter the search term “mileage tracker”, and you’ll see plenty of highly rated apps to choose from.
If tracking mileage is not your thing, you can claim the actual costs incurred during the business drive. Such costs are gas, car maintenance, and other car related expenses. To claim these costs, retain the supporting documents, such as receipts.
Receipts and Invoices. Ah, the paper… What about the little receipts from the taxicab, deli, or grocery store? So easy to misplace! So tempting to throw away! However, those pieces of paper are necessary and are our friends.
Saving receipts and invoices provide detail beyond that of the bank statement. The detail within the receipt makes it easier for the business or individual to categorize, reconcile, and budget the expense, which is helpful for managing cash flow. Receipts are also essential for providing proof that your business is eligible for deductions taken during tax time.
FreshBooks, QuickBooks, and Xero make it easy to store receipts and invoices. One can take a photo of the receipt using the app related to the software. You then code the details of the receipt through the app, and the image of the receipt is saved. You could actually throw the receipt away although my old-school nature does not recommend that. However, you could!
And for those that do not want to be coding receipts, I recommend using services like HubDoc. HubDoc is an online add-on for both QuickBooks and Xero. All you need to do is create a rule for the receipt once. The next time you have a receipt from the same vendor, HubDoc will automatically code the details of the receipt into the accounting software, and save a copy of the receipt. Just verify (reconcile) and you’re done!
There are more tips than provided. These tips are meant for informational purposes only. It is highly recommended that you seek advice from your tax advisor, attorney, and business advisor.