4 ways your accountant and bookkeeper can help you run your construction business more efficiently

Are you struggling with your bookkeeping? You’re not alone.

Bookkeeping in the construction industry is incredibly complex! So we wanted to share some of the ways an accountant can save you a shed load of stress whilst also improving the efficiency of your business!

Here are 4 ways your accountant can help you run your construction business more efficiently:

1) Make your business paperless

There are many benefits to running a paperless business. It’s better for the environment, it saves you so much time, and you can rest assured knowing all your documents are stored safely on the cloud.

However, if digitising your documents fills you with dread, you can always ask your accountant to do it for you! They will set you up with all the relevant software such as Dext, so you can control any admin task from your phone or computer.

Not to mention, going digital will also ensure your business remains up to date with the latest MTD legislation.

2) Outsource your bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is a long and arduous task for any business – but that challenge is only amplified for those in the construction industry. Monitoring job costings, biddings and progress billing on top of the usual accounts payable and receivable is a daunting task indeed.

So why not let the experts handle it? Their knowledge and expertise will ensure your books are always accurate and compliant with the latest tax rules. So, you can stop stressing over spreadsheets and start focusing on what you do best!

3) Organise digital payments

Another way your accountant can improve the efficiency of your business is by organising digital payments! They can provide you with a card machine to accept on-site payments, supply software like Xero to create online quotes and invoices, or even facilitate P2P programmes like Paypal.

But what are the benefits?

Firstly, digital payments are more convenient, so (in some cases) this can help you win more work. They can also significantly improve your cash flow whilst allowing you to receive real-time updates on your finances.

As a result, you’re able to gain a greater understanding of your finances, make more informed business decisions, and still save time!

4) Offer financial advice

Who better to offer you financial advice than your very own accountant? After all, they will understand your books better than anybody – so take advantage of their expertise!

Your accountant can provide invaluable insight into your finances, create accurate reports and forecasts, and use this information to advise you on future investments and business strategies.

So what are you waiting for? Ask your accountant for financial advice and start boosting your business!

Let the experts look after your books!

There are so many benefits to hiring an accountant and bookkeeper. But perhaps the most significant benefit is how much time they can save you!

Instead of stressing over spreadsheets or second-guessing your calculations, you can use this time to focus on what you do best. So save yourself the hassle and start playing to your strengths – we promise the ROI will be second to none.

Hiring an accountant could save your business!

A lot of new businesses fail. A lot of old businesses fail. A lot of previously successful businesses fail. Why? Usually, it comes down to issues around finances.

If you’re starting a new business, or if you’ve been in business for years and are trying to grow your team and scale your company, hiring an accountant can help. Here’s how.

1) They help you become more tax-efficient

Tax isn’t easy. Legislation changes all the time and any delays or mistakes could be costly. With an accountant filing your taxes for you, you can have the peace of mind that it is all being done correctly and on time. Not only that, but it saves you a lot of time and resources AND it saves you money. Accountants can reduce your tax burden by identifying opportunities for deductions, and they can help you avoid any government fines.

2) They mitigate the risk of financial mistakes

Accountants know how to identify financial risks and avoid them before they become major problems. What this means for you is that you’ll never spend money you don’t have, you will save money in all the areas you can, and you’ll be more aware and better equipped to stick to a proper budget. Fewer to no financial mistakes means minimal losses and more profit!

3) They actively help you to grow your business

If you get an accountant on board in the early stages of your business, they will help you to develop a plan for growing your business in the right way. Not only that, but they will also ensure that your finances are handled correctly from the beginning so that it doesn’t take over everything else in the future. As your business grows, they will start to provide advice in other areas such as budgeting and financing; payroll and recruitment, cashflow forecasting and investments, and business strategy. They will work with you to ensure you have the financial capabilities and processes needed to work towards your business goals.

Survive and thrive!

Most new businesses fail because of financial issues, so don’t make the same mistake. Hire an accountant as early as possible and get the guidance and expertise needed to take your business to the next level. They will not only help you save money, but they can help you make money as your business grows too.

The 9 step guide to business development

Here at 1 Accounts we are invested in helping your business develop and succeed. We find allocating some time each week to business development is the best way to really make sure that your business grows according to your plan.

Business development is:

  • any activity that is nurturing the future of your business, not the day-to-day tasks that tend to drain the majority of your time.
  • about nurturing the right relationships so that you can create opportunities for your business and attract loyal clients who value what you and your firm do.
  • highly valuable and is key to the long-term, sustainable success of your firm

So how do you do it and do it well?

1) It’s all about the client

Rather than sell at potential clients, focus on what they need. Always listen to them first and demonstrate empathy with their problems before ever talking about yourself and your firm.

2) Address their problems and fears

Now you know their specific challenges and worries, address them. What’s the biggest headache for your clients and prospects? How can you alleviate this pain for them? Again, talk to them about what keeps them up at night and listen. They’ll tell you all you need to know.

3) Solve their specific problem

If you already have a product or service that solves their biggest pain point, great! If you don’t, create something from scratch. Diversifying could open you up to a whole new target audience.

4) Think about your main offering

In a single sentence, sum up what you offer to your clients and this will be your brand tagline. Steer clear of things like “we give a personalised service” and be more specific. Do you take away a specific fear and help your clients sleep at night? Do you give them more time to spend with their family?

5) Differentiate yourself with your website and social media

You need to be spreading the word about how you can help your clients. Essentially, you need to be helping them to find you. Make sure you have a high-quality website that is SEO-optimised and has pop-ups offering valuable resources. You will also need to be regularly active on social media.

6) Build your brand

This takes time, but becoming an expert in what you do will reap the rewards. Use your tagline offering in everything that you put out there and produce content consistently. Whether it’s blogs on your website or posts on social media, create that emotional connection and you’ll see that people will engage.

7) Make it easy to get in touch

People will take the path of least resistance so make it easy for them to contact you. Contact details should be easy to find on your website and all call to actions should be clear throughout your marketing materials.

8) Nurture the relationship

So much business is lost through a lack of following up, so be there in front of your clients and prospects to build those relationships. Every blog post you’re sharing or newsletter you’re sending out should offer value; it should answer a question or solve a problem or inspire action. There is real value in regularly being in front of your clients, just as long as what you’re saying is useful to your target audience.

9) Focus on getting your existing clients to buy more from you

You already have a great relationship with your existing clients and they already like you, trust you, and know first hand the value that you offer. It makes sense then, to help them get more from you.

It really is as easy as 1,2,3…9

While business development is essentially sales, you need to always be thinking about who you are targeting and what they want to hear, rather than talking about yourself and what makes your firm special. What are their specific problems and aspirations? Using these 9 steps, you can get creative with your messaging and really stand out to your prospects.

Payments on account

If you complete a tax return you may have to pay your tax twice a year. This sounds like it should be bad, but it can be a helpful way of spreading your payments throughout the year.

What are payments on account?

Payments on account are made twice a year and are payments that you make towards your next tax bill. It is a way of bringing the tax collection closer in line with those who pay their tax monthly through PAYE.

Who has to pay?

If the tax liability on your last submitted tax return was over £1000 then you will automatically be set up for payments on account.

When do I have to pay?

You pay twice a year with payment deadlines on January 31st and July 31st however you can pay before these deadlines.

How is it calculated?

HMRC will use your previous tax bill to estimate how much tax it thinks you will be paying next year. It will then half this amount and charge you this in January and July, so in the following January you only have to pay what is left over, if any, and potentially the next payment on account. If you have overpaid, you will receive a refund, or if completing your tax return close to the deadline it will be deducted from the next payment on account.

Can you reduce how much you pay?

If you think your taxable income will reduce for the following year you are able to apply to reduce your payments on account.  They can be reduced through your tax return or via an HMRC online account by either your agent or yourself.  Payments on account cannot be reduced by too much as if your tax liability is higher than the reduced amounts when your actual tax return for the year is complete HMRC will charge interest for the underpayments and potentially penalties.

If you have collated your information for the year prior to the July second payment on account deadline the filing of the actual tax return can replace the estimated tax due if the tax liability for the year is lower than the prior year.

New to self assessment? – watch out

If you are new to self assessment or have never paid payments on account before it’s worth putting money aside throughout the year so that you don’t get caught out.  This is because the first time you become part of the payment on account regime you could have to pay 150% of the tax liability in January.  This would be 100% of the tax from the prior tax return and 50% again for the following tax return. This first experience can feel like a shock, but it will make the next payment in the following January easier.  This is because you would have already paid 100% of the prior year’s tax to deduct from the total.

How to pay

Simply log in to your government gateway and follow the instructions. Alternatively you can pay by phone, bank transfer or a number of other different way. The details of this will be on the letter you receive from HMRC, or on the HMRC payment guidance online.

We hope this helps clear up some of the questions regarding payments on account. Your government gateway account will always show your upcoming payments so we really do recommend setting one up. If you have any other questions regarding payments on account just give us a call and we will be happy to help.

Is your small business struggling to make a decent profit? Here are six little known profit holes.

With the economy as unpredictable as it has been lately it is essential for small business owners to take a good look at your overheads and cost of sales. Add into the mix the rising cost of labour, materials and shipping, and this exercise to examine your cost base may be the difference between your business having a good year next year or going under. This article will look at the 6 most common profit holes that many small businesses may have.

1) Pricing: Has it kept up with your costs?

It’s been a difficult few years and you may be thinking that your customers and clients can’t swallow an increase. Well, think again – If Starbucks and Costa Coffee can afford to still charge eye-watering amounts for a slice of cake and a coffee throughout the pandemic, then you can look at your pricing.
Often, the biggest profit hole we see with our clients is around a poor pricing strategy. Such as:

  • Are your sales team discounting too much in order to make the sale? Particularly for wholesale or bulk orders?
  • Have you kept your prices static whilst your costs have increased?
  • Are your prices in line with your cost base now, rather than when you were a much smaller business? For example, if your prices have not changed since you ran your business from the kitchen table, then it’s time to relook at your pricing.

2) Do you have a revolving door of employees?

Hiring new staff members is expensive; recruitment agency costs, training costs and senior management time spent hiring and training. Losing good employees is even more expensive – both in terms of opportunity cost and also the hit on morale when a good person leaves. If you do have an employee turnover problem, it’s time to take a good look at how to increase the levels of employee engagement in your business. Being very blunt here, you may look into the mirror to see if you personally may be part of the problem.

3) Software costs: Have you had a good look to see what you’re really using?

Those £15 a month per user type subscriptions really do add up over time. How many user licences are you still paying for but don’t actually need? How many of those pieces of software that you decided to try out are you actually using? If you used all the features of your core software, how many other licences or subscriptions could you ditch? You may find that a good look at your software stack could yield a large amount of ‘money down the back of the sofa’ each month.

4) Suppliers: Are they taking the proverbial?

This often happens when we’ve worked with a supplier for years and both you and they have got comfortable and complacency sets in. This cosiness could be hiding the fact that you might not be getting the service you require. Even worse, the prices you are paying might now out of step with the marketplace. Don’t let inertia and a desire to avoid conflict stop you from having a ‘state of the nation type’ conversation with the supplier.
In our experience, the first place to look at is your spending with marketing suppliers. Then your telephone and internet suppliers. Ask yourself; What are they really delivering? Do they need a shakeup? Our advice to you is if this resonates with you, have that conversation!

5) Not using automation – particularly in your financial processes

The cloud revolution which we keep harping on about has been a game-changer for not just accountants. The digital tools out there will help your business cut out so much physical paperwork and manual entry. For example, if you are a small cafe or pub you can now get great phone apps that will allow customers to place their orders from the table. Thus, improving the efficiency of your operation and waiting staff.
Using bank rules, email rules and other types of automation in conjunction with software such as Dext can reduce the time it takes to do your books or manage staff expenses. Why not have a chat with us to see where using apps and cloud-based software can take the grind out of your financial processes and systems?

6) Doing it yourself

How long does it take you to do stuff which should be outsourced or done by others in your business? This ‘doing it yourself’, particularly when it comes to things like bookkeeping or VAT returns, is often a false economy. Your time is much more valuable delighting customers and clients and running your business than puzzling over whether you can or can not claim VAT on your company car expenditure or that coffee with a client.
Using the right people and suppliers to free you up to do what you’re best at is often a great way to generate more profit. It goes without saying that we are always happy to talk about whether we are a good home for your bookkeeping and other financial processes.
If you address these 6 points in your business then you will be in a much better position to face whatever happens next with the economy.


New National Insurance threshold comes into effect from 6th July 2022

Back in his Spring Statement in March of 2022, then Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced significant changes to National Insurance. The first of which came into effect in April when NI contributions were raised from 12% to 13.25%.

What is changing in July?

This month sees some respite however with the implementation of Sunak’s second change; a raise of the primary threshold for National Insurance. From July 6th this has been raised from £9880 to £12,570, bringing it in line with the personal allowance for income tax for the first time.

This change means that anyone earning less than approximately £35,000 will pay less National Insurance this year, and employees will see this change reflected in their pay this month. The Prime Minister has stated that this will mean the average worker will receive a tax cut of £330 a year. If you earn below this threshold then you will no longer pay National Insurance contributions at all. If you are a higher earner however, you will still be paying more National Insurance than you were last year.

Will this help the cost-of-living crisis?

Taxes are still at their highest rate for 40 years and the cost of living crisis continues to grow. With a new Chancellor in place it will be interesting to see what, if any, changes he makes to ease the pressure on low and middle earners. We will have a full report of the Autumn statement when it is given, and in the meantime will continue to update you as soon as anything changes.

Signing a proposal with Ignition

So you want to sign up to working with us and have had a successful meeting! Or maybe you’re already a customer of ours who wants to change or add to your existing service? Unfortunately we need more than a verbal agreement in today’s world so we will send you a proposal to sign so that we can complete the work as agreed.

At 1 Accounts we like to be as paperless as possible so we make use of a software called Ignition which allows us to create and send your proposal to you via email, and allows you to sign it digitally getting rid of the need to print out long contracts and wait for them to be delivered by post. This way you can sign up to our services while enjoying your beach holiday at the same time!

What is a proposal

When we agree to complete a service for you, whether you are signing up with us for the first time, or changing your existing services, we will send you a proposal for you to sign in order for us to complete the work.

Your proposal will contain the agreed services, our terms and conditions, and the agreed fee. It’s basically our contract and invoice for the services we have agreed to complete for you, and we need it to be signed and returned to us before we are able to start the work for you.

When we send proposals

 As we said above, we will send you a proposal after we make an agreement with you to complete some work. This could be when you sign up with us for the first time, if you want to add something to your existing service such as bookkeeping, or if you want us to change your address with HMRC & Companies House. Any service that you ask us to do, even one-off jobs, will require a signed proposal even when we are not charging you to complete the work.

How to sign with Ignition

When we send a proposal we use an online software called Ignition. This functions similarly to DocuSign in that it will send your proposal to you via email and makes use of digital signatures, so you are able to sign your proposal wherever you are in the world.

The email will come from a 1 Accounts email address and will contain a link to your proposal. When you click the link, you will see a message from us. On the next page will be a breakdown of the services we agreed with you. Please double check that you are happy with everything that is included before you sign as we can easily make an adjustment and re-send it to you. The following page is a schedule of your payments which breaks down how much you are going to pay us and when. Again, make sure you check this carefully and when you are happy proceed to the signing page.

At the top of the signing page is a link to our terms and conditions that you are agreeing to by signing the proposal. Once again, please read these to make sure you are happy with what you are agreeing to. Once you are happy, please tick the box that says “I accept the above terms” then type your name in the box. This acts as your digital signature. The last thing to do is to click the button in the bottom left corner that says “accept”!

What happens after you sign your proposal

After you sign your proposal, we will receive an email to say you have signed it and we can begin working with you. You will also receive a confirmation email with a link to download your engagement letter for your records.

If this is the first time you have signed a proposal with us, you will receive another email from GoCardless to set up your direct debit. Please fill this out so that we can receive payment from you. If you have completed this step before then the software will trigger the money to be taken according to the schedule agreed upon in the proposal.

We love using Ignition to complete this as we believe it makes the process very straightforward for both us and our clients. Please watch the below video for a walkthrough of the signing process.