As a driving instructor, you’re going to be spending your time with students, teaching them how to drive. You’ll have your dinner breaks to slot into your diary as well as allocating sufficient time between appointments, so you can travel to each your clients’ homes to pick them up in time for their lesson, give an overview at the end of the lesson, and then travel to your next appointment.
It can be a hectic schedule to maintain at times, and at the end of your day, the last thing you’ll want to do is sit down to do your bookkeeping. It is a necessary evil though and if you don’t keep on top of it, you’ll more than likely find that when your self-assessment tax return time of the year comes around, you’ll be booking yourself off for a couple of days.
That’s going to cost you money, and it’s not an expense you can claim for. Remember:
It’s the same for any sole trading business owner, but as an independent ADI, there’s going to be some more things you’ll have to keep records on, than some other businesses.
If you don’t have good numerical and organisational skills, then balancing the books, and timing your appointments is going to become a headache, sooner rather than later.
The simple solution for most small business owners is to go with an accountancy firm. That can offer you convenient solutions but it can also work out pretty expensive on your overheads.
Granted, an accountant will have specialist knowledge of the costs you can save by simply filling out the right expenses you can claim for, which could save you on taxes, but the savings may not be as much to cover the costs of an accountancy service. Therefore, that may not be your best option.
The alternative is to go with a bookkeeping service. Not as highly qualified as an accountant, but still skilled enough to manage your accounts and know about your expenses. Since it’s easier and faster to become a bookkeeper, not to mention cheaper, the costs are far lower to hire a bookkeeper to manage your accounts, than it is to run with an accountant.
Accountants are more for corporations and larger organisations, such as driving school franchises, rather than the independent driving instructor. As an independent ADI, a bookkeeper will be more cost efficient for you to use.
The D.I.Y route is the way that most will start out, so you can focus on getting your income up to a level where you can afford to get some help running your business.
The problem here is finding the time to do it.
You’re already going to be run off your feet with appointments, so the last thing you’ll probably want to do is take more time away from spending with your family. If you’re out doing evening lessons and then back out in the morning, it won’t be long in taking its toll on you.
This is an option you may want to consider, as it can be a convenient method for those who are computer savvy. There’s the option of just using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to record all your details on manually. You also have some software applications you can purchase, which will run from your desktop. You load up the application and fill out the details you need to record, and that will be stored on your software, ready to print out whenever you need it. Some will offer you the convenience of a built in invoicing facility where you can create, manage, store and print out professional invoices, giving your business that professional touch.
An alternative you may want to consider is the online accountancy services. These services don’t come with the steep learning curve of using some of the accountancy software downloads, which can be quite technical to get to grips with. With an online service, you can simply pay a flat fee, or sometimes monthly, depending on the service, and this can give you the ability to manage your expenses, income and clients, all from the one place, without having paperwork cluttering up your home. That’s some of the most popular options for ADIs to manage their accounts
This is something you are going to have to give some thought to, if you do decide to become an independent driving instructor, working as a sole trader, or even as a self-employed driving instructor with a larger driving school franchise. Your records will need to be kept up to date and the options above are some ideas on how to manage your accounts once you’re set up as an ADI.