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How to setup accounting for personal trainers

Start your new personal training career off on the right foot with the right accounting setup!

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Tired of Accounting?

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As more people in Hong Kong become disillusioned with 9 to 5 jobs, more folk are turning to personal gym training as a way to make their own money without being chained to a desk. Personal training is still a business though, and like all businesses, all transactions need to be accounted for and taxed. Here’s some tips (with links) to help new PTs setup accounting for their endeavors.

Open a business account

Personal trainers are typically a one-man/woman army, so you might think that using a personal account would save you the hassle of needing to open a second account for your business. However, some banks stipulate that your personal bank account can only be used for personal funds and transactions, and to top it off, any debts accrued by this account will be expected to be paid off by you. Opening a business account then, is highly recommended. Hong Kong has a multitude of banks that can help you with this, some good places to start are:

Determine how you want to get paid

There are several ways you can get paid for your services, including:

  • Cash
  • Credit card
  • Cheque
  • Mobile wallet payments

Credit cards require the most equipment and each swipe adds interest to the customer, making it the least attractive option. Cheques are unavailable to most of the public, and would require the PT to cash it in at a bank. This makes cash up until recently, the most attractive option. The rise of mobile payment wallets such as HSBC’s PayMe, Alipay, and the HK government’s FPS system (available through all HK banks) have made transactions easy, instant, and interest-free, freeing the need to always carry change. Best of all, transactions made on mobile wallets can be directly sent to accounting software, discussed next.

Record all your incoming and outgoing

Meeting with many different clients and keeping track of their transactions, on top of keeping track of spending on equipment, travel and legal fees will become tedious, so it is incredibly important to record them and the date they’re written down onto a single source of truth. Setup correctly, this can saves hours of time down the line when tax season rolls around. This source of truth can take the form of an Excel file, a physical ledger, or accounting software like Xero.

Profit & Loss Statement Templates

With all the data gathered, new personal trainers will need to make sense of it to get a measure of their progress. Profit & Loss templates (P&L) help turn that data into information that can in turn inform their next decision with confidence. Free templates can be found online:

Conclusion

Becoming a personal trainer, like every other business, means following the best practices of accounting in order to succeed. Setting up can be arduous for beginners, but a proper setup at the beginning can make life a lot easier months down the line. Alternatively, there are services like Binery that can provide professional accountants to help setup and manage finances for personal trainers for a monthly fee.