Whether you’re a self-employed personal trainer or a gym owner, as a fitness professional, your job involves some accounting. In many respects, your fitness business functions just like any commercial business venture when it comes to accounting. The fitness industry also necessitates some unique space requirements and expenses. The following tips apply to fitness professionals of all types at all levels, and should help you streamline your business accounting.
Keeping Track of Your Money
Any business owner or self-employed individual needs to keep detailed records of income and expenses. This means keeping copies of all receipts and invoices, as well as records of employment if you have employees on payroll. Fitness professionals have a unique set of costs that can legally be written off as business expenses. If you are a self-employed personal trainer who meets with clients in a larger gym space, you can claim a percentage of any fees you pay to use the space. If you train clients in their homes or in outdoor spaces, you may be able to claim travel expenses such as gas or car maintenance. Any equipment you provide that is not provided by the gym, such as weights, mats, and regulation footwear, can also be claimed. Many fitness professionals make the majority of their income from membership or class fees. While a repeated billing model such as a monthly membership fee can be lucrative, it can also present challenges if a customer is late or fails to make a payment. If you’ve invested time, space, or equipment expenses to prepare for a client who fails to show up, detailed record-keeping ensures you don’t lose anything extra at tax time and helps you to determine whether to take appropriate penalty action against a no-show client.
Using Accounting Software
Software and apps are great for keeping track of your members and keeping an organized schedule. As of 2017, a quick online search garners numerous downloadable applications designed specifically for gyms and fitness-related business models. Many of these applications, like GymMaster, include functions for tracking your point of sale and billing information. It’s a good practice to keep both soft and hard copies of receipts and invoices. This ensures that if one version becomes lost or damaged, you still have a working record. Additionally, having your records in multiple formats makes it easier for you to reach out to customers through their preferred medium of communication, especially if you ever have a payment dispute.
Hiring a Professional
For self-employed individuals, the decision to hire a professional accountant is usually driven by the monetary cost versus the time saved. If you are personally responsible for all the time, income, and supplies related to your business, doing your own taxes should be a relatively minor time investment. For gym owners or personal trainers who have employees, hiring a professional accountant is a great way to simplify the tax-filing process and get the most out of your claim. Depending on the nature of your business, you may be able to claim a percentage of the accounting fee as a business expense. Accounting for fitness professionals is straightforward as long as you understand your expenses and utilize apps and accounting help when needed. Building a good relationship with clients is also a good way to regulate your income and prevent the hassle and confusion of late membership or class fees.