In the 2011-12 federal budget, the government announced a requirement by certain businesses to report annually to the ATO on payments made to contractors in the building and construction industry.
The long hours and physical demands associated with the trades often means accounting and taxation issues don’t receive the attention they deserve. While GST, BAS and tax payments often represent some of the largest financial obligations for a business, most tradespeople fail to manage their tax appropriately. As a result we find many tradespeople pay too much tax, miss legislative obligations and expose themselves to substantial fines or interest penalties. Failing to adequately prepare for tax obligations can also play havoc with your business cash flow that is so important in the trades.
Software selection seems to be another major hurdle for tradespeople. Too often we find plumbers, carpenters and electricians using accounting software beyond their business needs and level of accounting skill. This usually leads to considerable frustration and records that amount to nothing more than a ‘computerised shoebox’.
With so many software packages on the market it is easy to become confused and make the wrong decision. They range in functionality and sophistication with a price tag to match and our first step with new clients in the trades is to review their business needs and level of accounting skill.
If you don’t understand double entry accounting including debits, credits and journal entries then you’ll probably struggle to cope with higher end programs without undergoing extensive training. If you just need to track your receipts, payments and GST we recommend Cashflow Manager. It lets you generate tax invoices, monitor debtors and produce monthly statements and budgets. If you employ staff you can purchase the add-on wages module.