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Accounting for Builders

Running a building business is plain hard work. The physical demands aside, you need planning, scheduling and financial skills to manage your cash flow and sub-contractors. The long hours, travel and regulations are all hurdles you face and they probably explain why builders and trades people are notorious for neglecting their bookkeeping and administration duties. While GST, BAS and tax payments often represent some of the largest financial obligations for a self employed builder, many end up paying too much tax and incur fines for non-compliance.

Here at O'Bryan & O'Donnell we understand the building industry from plans to lock up to eventual sale. Make no mistake, having an accountant who understands the mechanics of the industry can mean the difference between just surviving and potentially thriving. Apart from the usual small business compliance issues of GST, BAS, PAYG and superannuation, we assist clients with managing their cash flow and selecting the right software to prepare quotes, invoices and manage their staff and apprentices. Not only that, one of our biggest points of difference compared to traditional accounting firms is our marketing expertise and we can help you with your branding (business name, logo and slogan) and offer you advice regarding your website design and content.

As you'll see from our website, we are not your typical accounting firm who view the tax return as the end of the client process. In fact, it’s just the beginning. Over the years, our team of accountants have mentored dozens of builders, plumbers, electricians and carpenters through the various stages of their business life cycle, from start up right through to sale. We offer you experience, technical tax knowledge and most importantly, an intimate understanding of the building trades.


S tarting a building business is a bit like building a house. You need solid foundations and the corner stone of the business is your taxation structure. It is a critical business decision and there are a number of options when it comes to business structures including sole trader, partnership, company and trust. Because of the risks associated with the building industry, asset protection is a key consideration. We sit down with you to discuss your family situation, forecast level of profits and likelyhood of admitting new business partners into the business before making a recommendation regarding your business structure.

Accounting software selection is another brick in the foundation wall. Again, the wrong choice can be disasterous which is why we insist the software matches your business needs with your level of accounting skill. If you use a sophisticated double entry accounting software without intermediate accounting skills your records will be nothing more than a 'computerised shoebox'. In turn, this will defeat our mission of minimising your tax compliance costs. Poor records are one of the biggest causes of business failure and you need up to date, accurate financial records to make informed business decisions. Where required we will train you to use the right software.

As a builder you understand the fact that you needs tools to construct a house frame.  When starting your business we can provide you with a number of tools including our start up expense checklist to help you identify all your potential establishment costs. This checklist breaks up your start-up expenditure into categories including tools, equipment, IT expenses and marketing costs. These figures then automatically feed into a cash flow budget template to project your trading figures for the first year of operation. These reports can also tuck neatly into our business plan template that is designed to help you secure funding from external sources like a bank. Another useful tool is our business start up checklist that walks you through key business registrations you might require, insurance options, legal issues, branding items and domain name registrations for your website.

For a builder, your van, truck or ute is arguably your most important business tool. You can download our Motor Vehicle Tax Guide from the resources section of our website to learn more about the alternative methods of claiming your vehicle expenses and the distinction between a business and private trip for a tradesmen. In addition, through our affiliate partners we can also assist you with vehicle finance (chattel mortgage or lease) and get you fleet discount pricing on your new car, ute or light commercial van. This service could save you thousands of dollars.

As accountants we can do some financial modelling and prepare some ‘what if’ financial scenarios so you understand your business’ best and worst case profit scenarios. Next, using industry benchmarks we can compare the performance of your business against your competitors so you understand what is working in the business and what needs working on.


For builders and small business owners, your marketing can be the difference between gloom, doom and boom. Most builders rely on their reputation and referrals to grow their business and while these ingredients remain important, you need to shift your marketing focus online. Increasingly local searches like ‘Builder Yarrawonga’ are driving traffic to your website and often your website is the first touch point with a potential new customer. As you know, you only get one chance to make a good first impression and your website is your 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 builders and tradie clients 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 business probably won't reach its full profit potential.

The marketing process begins with your branding and we have worked through the process with dozens of clients over the years and using some online resources we can help you build a modern brand that resonates with your target market. We can even help you develop your stationery at a fraction of the cost of engaging a graphic artist or marketing consultant.

Our role includes helping you understand the Four Ways to Grow A Business and in the process, identify the key profit drivers in your business. We can talk you through various 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.

Our unique approach is all about fast tracking your business success and the team of building and trades specialists at O'Bryan & O'Donnell offer you a range of accounting, taxation and business coaching services including:

  • Start-Up Business Advice for Builders
  • 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 Forecasts and Profit Projections
  • Accounting Software Selection and Training – Bookkeeping, Invoicing, Quotes & Payroll
  • Preparation and Analysis of Financial Statements
  • Preparation of Finance Applications
  • Bookkeeping and Payroll Services
  • Tax Planning Strategies
  • Assistance with your Marketing including your Branding, Corporate Brochure etc.
  • Advice and Assistance with your Website Development, Content and SEO
  • Wealth Creation Strategies and Financial Planning Services
  • Industry Benchmarking and KPI Management
  • Vehicle & Equipment Finance (Chattel Mortgage & Lease)
  • Monitoring and Controlling Labour and Sub-Contractor Costs
  • Advice & Assistance with Pricing 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

We are not your typical regional accounting firm. We pride ourselves on being business and profit builders who provide a full range of accounting, tax and business coaching services to builders from all around Australia. If you are starting out as a builder or want to take your existing building business to the next level, contact us today.

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 bottom line. To book a time, call us today on (03) 5744 3861 or complete your details in the box at the top of this page. Let's get to work ON your business so it is more profitable, valuable and saleable.

Helping Your Farm, Business or Trade Succeed
Starter Package

Starter package focuses on meeting your compliance obligations but also includes annual tax planning

Annual Financials & Business Tax Return
Individual Tax Returns for Business Owners
Business Activity Statements
WorkCover Annual Certification
Fringe Benefits Tax Compliance
Annual Tax Planning
Quarterly Accelerator Business Magazine
Growing Package

Includes some great consulting inclusions to provide direction and guidance to help you grow your business revenue and profit.

The Starter Package Plus:
Annual Business Strategy Meeting
12 Month Cashflow Forecast
Monitoring of your KPIs and Industry Benchmarks
Phone and Email Support
Annual Membership to The Business Growth System
Tax Audit Cover
Half Yearly - On Track Meetings
Accelerate Package

For the ambitious business owner looking for a real competitive advantage with a focus on growing their business and their wealth.

The Accelerate package includes all the Growing Package plus:
Quarterly - On Track Meetings
Succession Planning Overview
Half Yearly Management Accounts
Business Structure & Asset Protection Review

If you’re looking to make your business more profitable, valuable and saleable. Contact Us to discuss our services and packages.

Either phone us on (03) 5744 3861 or complete the form below

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