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Accounting for Trades People

Over the years we have assisted hundreds of trades people get their business off to a flying start and we now manage the accounting, tax and financial affairs of a broad range of clients in the building trades. In fact, we support more than 50 different trades from plumbers to plasterers to paving contractors and painters. A full list of the trades we service are listed at the foot of this page and the building trades are our primary niche industry.

We understand the challenges facing tradies including the long hours, extensive travel and the physical demands of the job. We also appreciate the amount of time you spend on-site and on the road and the impact it has on your business administration and bookkeeping. As a tradie, BAS and tax payments are often some of your largest financial obligations but a lot of plumbers, electricians, carpenters and builders struggle to manage their tax affairs. All too often they incur fines for late lodgement and late payment.

The right accounting software that matches your business needs with your level of accounting skill is critical and our mission is to help you cut the time and cost associated with bookkeeping. The wrong choice of software can be catastrophic and we support a range of different software options but we have a preference for cloud based solutions like Xero. These programs let you access your financial data via the internet and invite your accountant or bookkeeper to view your accounts at the same time .

Technology has changed the way trades people run their businesses and the days of manual invoice books with carbon paper are gone. Here at Sheridans, we help our clients embrace technology that lets you prepare quotes, invoices and schedule your appointments from your tablet or smartphone while on the road or on a job site. If you want to work smarter not harder then technology is available that lets you manage your database of customers, produce financial reports and process client payments at a push of a button. We can set you up with supporting apps that are specifically designed for tradespeople that talk directly with your Xero accounting system.

Over the years we have mentored a large number of trades people through the start-up phase of their business. We understand the pitfalls and can help you with everything you need including your business structure, invoicing and software selection. When it's time to employ apprentices and sub-contractors we can help you comply with the regulations. This is in addition to the usual small business compliance issues of GST, BAS, PAYG, Annual Taxable Payments Reporting and Superannuation.

We are not your average firm of accountants who just keep the 'score'. Our mission is to help you grow your trades business, your profits and your wealth. As you'll read below, we can help you with your marketing, website and branding plus provide you with valuable marketing resources to help you win more customers and clients. With more than several decades experience with the building trades you can benefit from our experience and you can also access some specific e-books we have published for tradespeople including: 

11 Things Every Trades Person Should Know (pdf)
Accounting For Trades People (pdf)
Industry Benchmarks for Trades (pdf)
The Motor Vehicle Tax Guide (pdf)

Here at Sheridans we recognise the need to deliver timely, quality advice and services. Our approach is personal and you will enjoy support, guidance and accessibility all our staff including the Partners.  Small business is our passion and your tax return and financials are the start of the client process (not the end). If you’re looking to grow your existing trades business or get your new business off to a flying start, contact us today.


Over the years we have built a reputation as as business start-up specialists and when starting your trades business (or buying an existing business) there are numerous issues to consider. 

Starting a business is a bit like building a house and you need solid foundations. In a business sense these foundations include the right tax structure, accounting software, insurances and marketing. Your choice of business structure is critical and there are a number of different options including sole trader, partnership, company and trust. When it comes to selecting the most appropriate tax structure for your trades business we always recommend you ‘start with the end in mind'. Australian tax laws are complex and changing your business structure at some point in the future can trigger a capital gains tax event that could prove costly. Whenever we provide advice on business structures we always take into account issues like:

  • Income Tax Minimisation
  • Maximization of Asset Protection
  • Allow for the Admission of New Business Partners or Investors
  • Comply with all Legal Requirements in your Industry
  • Risk Profile of Your Industry (a big factor in the building trades)
  • Consider Future entitlement to Discount Capital Gains Tax Concessions

As a consequence, we often find the business structure is a compromise based on the relative importance of each of these issues.

Another brick in your business foundations is your choice of accounting software. Poor record keeping is one of the biggest causes of business failure in this country and up to date, accurate financial records let you to make informed business decisions. The wrong software can lead to 'computerised shoebox’ records that cause frustration, waste time and create additional fees. This conflicts with our mission of helping you slash the time and cost associated with bookkeeping and tax compliance.

Here at Sheridans we want to be your accountant and business advisor, not an expensive bookkeeping service. You’ll find we support a range of different software options but we do have a preference for cloud based solutions like Xero because of their flexibility and the fact that you can log-in online anytime, anywhere on your Mac, PC, tablet or smart phone to get a real-time view of your cashflow. Your data is automatically backed up and users have access to the latest version of your financial data plus you never need to worry about installing software or program updates.

To build a house you also need the right tools and when 'constructing' your business we have developed a number of tools including a start-up expense checklist broken down into various categories including: 

-  tools and equipment
-  professional advice and software
-  information technology costs
-  marketing and signage
-  vehicle and trailer costs

This checklist will help you identify all your potential start-up costs and these figures then filter through to our cash flow budget template and allow us to produce a projected profit and loss statement for your first year of trading. These reports can also tuck neatly into our business plan template that is designed to help you secure funding from a bank. Another useful tool is our business start up checklist that walks you through key business registrations you might require including insurances, legal requirements, branding items and the domain name registration for your website.

For a trades person, your vehicle is arguably your most important business tool. To learn more about the alternative methods of claiming your vehicle expenses and the distinction between a business and private trip, you can download our Motor Vehicle Tax Guide from the Resources section of our website  In addition, through our affiliate partners we can also assist you to obtain vehicle finance (chattel mortgage, CHP or lease) and get you fleet pricing on your new car, ute or light commercial van that could save you thousands of dollars

Through another affiliate partner we can also help you source funds to finance your business purchase, equipment or franchise fee (if applicable). Pricing is absolutely vital to the success of your business and we can do some price modelling plus we use benchmarks to compare your business performance against your peers so you know what is working in your business and what needs working on.

If you're contemplating starting a business you don't need to reinvent the wheel as we have all the tools and resources to help you get your trades business off to a flying start.


For small business owners including tradies, your marketing can be the difference between gloom, doom and boom.

Most builders, plumbers, electricians and carpenters rely on their reputation and referrals to grow their business. While these ingredients remain important, in the digital and social age you need to shift your marketing focus online. Increasingly Google searches like ‘Electrician Glenelg’ are driving traffic to your website which is often the first touch point with a potential new customer. As you know, in business, you only get one chance to make a good first impression and your website is your 'online shopfront' and silent sales person working 24/7 to promote your business.

One of our biggest points of difference compared to other accounting firms is our marketing expertise. We can assist you with your branding (business name, logo and slogan), your corporate brochure and help you harness the power of social media to win more referrals. Over the past few years we have worked with dozens of clients in the building trades to help them create affordable, quality lead generation websites that are responsive to smart phones and tablets.

We can provide advice and guidance with your website content including video production and if your website lacks calls to action or lead magnets we'll help you build them. In addition, we'll introduce you to strategies like re-marketing and search engine optimization to drive more traffic to your website. If you aren’t using some of these marketing techniques, your trades business probably won't reach its full profit potential.

We will introduce you to the Four Ways to Grow A Business plus identify the key profit drivers in your business. We can walk you through a number of profit improvement strategies and even quantify the profit improvement potential in your business. Our role is to make sure you don't leave any profit on the table and if you're a tradesman we offer you a range of accounting, taxation and business coaching services including:

  • Start-Up Business Advice for Tradies - from Plumbers to Plasterers (see list below)
  • Advice regarding the Purchase or Sale of your Business
  • Tools including the Start-Up Expense Checklist and Templates for a Business Plan, Cash Flow Budget, Letterhead and Business Card
  • Advice and Assistance with the Establishment of Your Business Structure
  • Tax Registrations including ABN, TFN, GST, WorkCover etc.
  • Preparation of Business Plans, Cash Flow Budgets and Profit Projections
  • Accounting Software Selection and Training – Bookkeeping, Invoicing, Quotes & Payroll
  • Preparation and Analysis of Financial Statements
  • Preparation of Finance Applications - Loans to buy or expand a business
  • Bookkeeping and Payroll Services - MYOB, Cashflow Manager, Xero, Reckon & Others
  • Income Tax Returns and Tax Planning Strategies
  • Wealth Creation Strategies and Financial Planning Services
  • Industry Benchmarking and KPI Management
  • Vehicle & Equipment Finance (Chattel Mortgage & Lease)
  • Assistance with your Marketing including your Branding, Website, leaflets or flyers
  • Monitoring and Controlling Labour and Sub-Contractor Costs
  • Advice & Assistance with Pricing your Services and Claiming Motor Vehicle Expenses
  • Recession Survival Strategies
  • Advice regarding Employee Relations and Workplace Laws
  • Business & Risk Insurances (Income Protection, Life Insurance etc.)
  • Business Succession Planning

To get to know more about us we invite you to book a FREE, one hour introductory consultation to discuss your business needs. You can expect practical business, tax, marketing and financial advice that could have a significant impact on your future bottom line. To book a time, contact us today on (08) 8376 0455 or complete your details in the box at the top of this page and let's get to work ON your business so it is more profitable, valuable and saleable.


The various trades we service extend beyond plumbers, builders, electricians and carpenters. In fact, we have clients that span more than 50 different trades including:

  • Air Conditioning Mechanics
  • Arborists
  • Bathroom Renovators
  • Blinds - Repair & Installation
  • Bricklayers
  • Builders
  • Carpenters - Chippie
  • Carpet Cleaners
  • Carpet Repairers
  • Ceiling Repairers
  • Commercial Cleaners
  • Concreters
  • Domestic Cleaners
  • Electricians - Sparkie
  • Electrical Appliance Repairs
  • Fencing & Gates
  • Floating Floors
  • Floor Sanding
  • Furniture Assembly
  • Fencing Contractors
  • Guttering
  • Garden Maintenance
  • Gas Fitters
  • Glazers
  • Handymen
  • Home Security
  • Insulation
  • Interior Decorators
  • Joinery
  • Kitchen Renovators
  • Landscape Gardeners
  • Lawn Care
  • Painters
  • Paving Contractors
  • Pergolas
  • Plasterers
  • Plumbers
  • Rendering
  • Retaining Walls
  • Reticulation
  • Roller Doors
  • Roof Tilers
  • Roofing Repairers
  • Rubbish Removalists
  • Security Doors, Gates & Grills
  • Swimming Pools & Spas
  • Telecommunications
  • Tiling
  • Timber Floors
  • Tree Loppers
  • Vinyl & Carpet Layers
  • Window Cleaners
  • Wrought Iron Gates & Balustrades
  • Welders

Sheridans - Build Your Business & Grow Your Wealth