Setting up YNAB for a therapist in private practice


I've used YNAB in the past before I launched my private practice as a psychotherapist, but for the past few years have used Banktivity to track my finances. I've not separated my business and personal income and expenses, since I have no employees and my operating setup is very straightforward. I see 18-25 people per week, who all pay me in cash or by transfer to my bank. My running costs are low - I work from home, so no rental costs, and few recurring monthly charges.

I am now thinking that it might still make more sense to separate out the business and personal sides, but don't  know how to go about this. I mean in the sense of how to record my income in such a way that I can separate payments from clients and from other therapists who pay me for supervision, while not treating this all as 'To be budgeted'. I don't really need a business budget - yes, there are some things I can budget for annually (well really only insurance now, as most of my professional liabilities have now been put together as a monthly charge). 

I would like to keep a clean record of my business income and expenses for tax purposes, and then arrange my personal budget separately. 

Can anyone point me to some resources? 


6replies Oldest first
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Active threads
  • Popular
  • Hi Orchid Cyborg ! That is a great question! Check out this article on how to set up a business budget.

    Our founder, Jesse, has written a number of blog posts that would be helpful as you take this step. Here are some great ones:

    Keep in mind that they were created based off of our previous version of YNAB (YNAB 4) so you won't recognize some of the screenshots. The information is all still relevant, though! 

    Another great resource is our new workshop dedicated to this topic—Using YNAB for Small Business!

  • Thank you for these links, which are all helpful.

    I'm a bit confused about setting up the work budget and accounts (possibly because the screenshots in the article reference the older version of the app). It seems that it would be more straightforward if I had separate bank accounts for my personal budget and my work budget.  As I don't, it appears that I would need to duplicate my accounts in the two budgets - or have I misunderstood this?

    If I've not misunderstood it, then short of opening a new work bank account, it would appear to be easier for me not to have a separate work budget but just to set up work income categories in my single budget.

    Or have I got that all wrong? 

    Thanks again for any responses and support...

  • Orchid Cyborg

    I'm a therapist in private practice as well, although I do have an office and take insurance.  I set up a separate business account (free at Wells Fargo) and then set up a business budget.  One category in my business budget is "Owner's Comp" (from the book Profit First) which is basically what I pay myself.  I enter the owner's comp as a withdrawal in the business budget and then enter it as income in my personal budget.  It's not perfect, but it works pretty well for me.   This also helps for taxes, basically, if I paid something out of my business account, it is tax deductible.

    Like 2
  • That's helpful, thanks. Since I posted here I've had some great support from the YNAB team directly, and have now set up a separate business account - and am wishing I did this years ago! I can really see how much I have complicated things by keeping personal and business transactions together. I will do the same thing as you in drawing money to pay myself.

    I don't know the book you mentioned, but I see it has good reviews on Amazon - is it worth a read?

    • Orchid Cyborg. It is worth reading.  It doesnt all apply to us and he complicates things a little too much, but all in all, helpful.

    • rehabguy1960 Thanks again. I’ll have a look. I’m feeling quite inspired to make the most of my financial setup and really make it work for me, so if you (or anyone else reading) has any recommendations of books that have really helped you, I would love to hear!

Like Follow
  • 8 mths agoLast active
  • 6Replies
  • 154Views
  • 4 Following