How cloud-based online accounting software can help you keep on top of your accounts and streamline your business as a driving instructor.
It is a good time to become a driving instructor in Ireland. Statistics from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) reveal that the numbers of Approved Driving Instructors (ADIs) are dropping, while the number of people wanting to learn to drive is increasing.
Learning to drive takes persistence and commitment, and so does training to become an instructor. As the RSA website explains, well as going through Garda vetting and showing your tax clearance certificate, you will need to either show that your existing qualifications and experience meet the ADI standard or undergo the three-stage RSA qualification process:
- Driver theory
- Practical driving
- Ability to instruct.
Once you are approved and are up and running as a driving instructor, there will be more to it than simply taking lessons. You will be running a business, which means keeping on top of the accounts and using online accounting software to streamline your processes.
We can split this into two areas: how Sage One can help you as a business owner to stay compliant with the Revenue, and how you can use online accounting software to manage the client-facing part of your accounts.
How driving instructors can use Sage One to stay compliant with the Revenue
As mentioned above, a tax clearance certificate is essential if you are going to be able to legally operate as a driving instructor. Having one demonstrates to the Revenue that all your tax affairs are in order. So as a driving instructor you should always get reliable online accounts software in place from day one to show that you are compliant.
How Sage One can help
Submit your tax returns quickly and simply. Like any business, you will have taxes to pay – for example if you run a driving school or franchise, you may be VAT registered. You can use Sage One to automatically calculate the amount you owe. You can then save and submit the information to the Revenue well ahead of deadline, which means no penalties for late payment.
Accurate record keeping. Keep records of all your bank transactions, cash payments and receipts, and credit card payments in one place. This complements the hard copies of the receipts you will be keeping in a folder for each financial year.
Fast bank reconciliation. Import your latest bank statement and Sage One will match your transactions, helping you keep everything in order, month by month.
Easy reporting so you can get a snapshot of your business at any time and send annual reports to the Revenue, such as your balance sheet or your profit and loss report.
Set up multiple bank accounts. You may want to put money aside each month to pay your annual tax bill or to cover any sudden expenses if a nervous student has a bump on their first lesson! Setting up the system to show different bank accounts can help you keep on top of everything.
Stay up to date with changes in legislation. Because Sage One is cloud-based software, you don’t have to worry about needing to update your systems to comply with the latest regulations.
Easy set-up and 24/7 support.
“I eat lunch on the go – can I claim this against expenses?“
“Which nominal code should I put car maintenance under?”
Easy set-up wizards will walk you through the set-up processes to get you off to a good start, and round-the-clock support will give you answers to your questions from the experts when you need them.
Using Sage One to streamline your day-to-day dealings with clients
The Essential Driver Training course is made up of 12 one-hour lessons, after which students can take their driving test (although of course some students will take longer than this to become ready).
As a driving instructor, your number one financial concern is to get paid for these lessons. Of course, receiving payment for products and service is a core part of making any business successful, but in this industry you will have the challenge of having a younger clientele who don’t have a steady income, plus a frequent turnover of students as they pass their test and no longer need your services.
How Sage One can help
Customisable quotes and invoices will help you get the paperwork straight from day one. You may want to invoice your students in batches, so they pay for three lessons in one go, or offer a discount if they buy 12 lessons up front. You can print off these quotes and invoices or email them over in PDF format, to reduce the chances of pieces of paper being lost.
Sage Pay allows you to accept payments securely through your website, over the phone or using card machines. This means you can make it easy for people to pay upfront, and avoid difficult situations where you turn up for a lesson and the student hasn’t been able to get to a cash machine.
Having an easy and reliable payment system could make the difference in always having a steady flow of students on your books, and having to increase your marketing efforts to guarantee enough sign-ups to make it a viable business.
Cash flow management helps you to easily track the money coming in and out, with simple dashboards to show at-a-glance information.
Easy reporting tools help you keep on top of your costs. Is petrol going up? Should you invest in a widget for your website which allows students to calculate the cost of lessons and book online? Should you pay for traditional marketing like newspaper ads or branding for your car? Take a look at the reports and evaluate the costs coming in and see if a small increase in the cost of your lessons will help maintain your profit margin.
The Sage One mobile app for iOS or Android means you can update your accounts on the go – handy if you have a bit of downtime between lessons but are not near your desk.
Take Sage One for a test drive and find out how our online accounting software can streamline your accounting processes.