Advice from York Accountants: How to Take Time Off if You’re Self-Employed

December 7, 2016

If you’re self-employed — whether you’re a freelancer or a small business owner — you need a break just as much as the rest of us. The dangers of overworking are potentially deadly, with those who work a 55-hour work week facing a 33% increased risk of having a stroke.

You might look at that figure and think “55 hours? I wish!”

If that’s you, you should consider taking a break over the festive period. We know, it’s easier said than done. But with a bit of planning and some tips from our York accountants, you could be enjoying some downtime this Christmas. I’ll also reveal how a Locum accountant could be good for the health of the UK’s doctors.

How to Plan Your Time Off in Advance

The thing that puts many self-employed individuals off of taking a break is the loss of earnings. When you rely on yourself for your income, a week on the beach means nil pay.

Planning your time off in advance can help to guard you against this. You might have to put in a few more hours in the weeks leading up to your holiday, but it’s a realistic goal. If you plan your time off a month in advance or ideally longer, the workload becomes more manageable.

Working an extra hour or two each day can help top up your bank account for when your time off comes around. Watching the pennies during this time will also ease the pressure, so stay away from the takeaway coffees!


Adjust Your Prices to Factor in Time Off

The alternative to working more hours leading up to your holiday is to increase your prices. If you’ve got regular clients who appreciate your work, they’ll understand your need to be properly compensated.

If you’re unsure of what to charge, our accountants in York will help you adjust your hourly rate to account for taking time off.

Of course, when increasing your prices, you should ensure your clients are still getting value for money. When you send your request, ask them if there are any improvements they’d like to see from you. Being self-employed means constantly learning and adapting, so this is a great time to audit your skills.

If you’re a bit nervous about asking existing clients to pay more, start off with new clients. They probably won’t know you used to charge less and, if the rate is still reasonable, they won’t be put off by it. In fact, for many clients, a higher price will make you look more experienced and valuable.


Stay Away From Your Inbox

Taking time off means stopping all work-related activities. Yes, even your emails! Unless you learn to switch off, you won’t feel refreshed and recharged. Even a week in the Bahamas can be ruined if you’re wading through your inbox every day.

Your brain and body tire at different rates, but it’s important to rest them both. You could even boost your productivity by taking time off, so think of it as being just as important as work.


Why an Accountant for Doctors Could Be a Wise Health Decision

The dedication required to be a doctor means that 9-to-5 working hours are often a distant dream. GPs are so overworked that it’s easy to forget they need a break like everybody else. We expect them to be on call and alert when we need them, but how can they be if they never take time off?

The complicated accounting procedure that many doctors face also contributes to their workload. Many GPs are set up as limited companies, which makes keeping accounts a more lengthy process.

A locum accountant will save doctors time, reduce stress and ensure that hard-working GPs take home the money they’re entitled to. What’s more, it frees up hours in their day to switch off and relax.

So whether you’re a musician, doctor or have any self-employed profession in between, make sure you take a break this year. Christmas is the perfect time for many of us, with the bank holidays and cold weather slowing the country down.

Whenever you choose to take your break, make sure you leave your phone well alone!


Want to free up time and save yourself money? Get in touch with Russell Smith Chartered Accountants. If you’re a freelancer or self-employed, contact our York accountants and we’ll help you set fair prices and grow your business.

0113 337 2130

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