bookkeeping tips

Bookkeeping tips for tradies

Tradies tools drill spanner


Keeping receipts can be annoying and it’s easy for them to get damaged or lost, but when you think about each one as another tax deduction they take on a whole new meaning.  My top tip is to take a photo of each one so you can save it electronically.  The Australian Taxation Office accepts digitally saved copies of receipts that can be clearly read. Keep a plastic or material folder in your ute or van, write “Receipts” on it and put each receipt in here for safekeeping until the end of the week or month when you have a chance to enter it in your books. Once recorded, file it away in a labelled folder in date order. I keep electronic copies of all receipts, save a copy within my Xero accounting software and also have back-up copies on my laptop and a USB.

Don’t mix personal with business

One of the first things you should do is to open a separate bank account, solely for business purposes.  Use this account for business spending only and ensure all customer payments go into this account. Mixing business and personal spending can turn into a headache very quickly and can be easily avoided.

Vehicle expenses

As a tradie your business vehicle is probably your daily transport, storeroom, office, lunch room etc etc. You are going to cover a lot of kilometres in a year and so it’s important to get the right amount of tax deductions.  There are a few different methods of claiming your vehicle expenses – the ATO website explains them pretty clearly.


You will no doubt have invested in good tools and safety equipment that are used in the running of your business.  Keep the details of all this equipment.  This can be done in a basic spreadsheet or Word document.  Include price, brand, serial numbers and where you bought them.  This will help with end of year depreciation (something your accountant can do for you) and is also helpful for insurance purposes.

Get a record-keeping system in place ASAP

This can be an Excel spreadsheet or accounting software – the important thing is to get a system early on.  Your priority in the beginning may be knowing you have consistent work and enough cash in the bank to cover your immediate expenses, but down the track being able to get easy access to your financial information (most profitable services, which clients are slow payers etc) can be the difference between having a struggling business and a growing, successful one. If you have the funds I would recommend using accounting software from the beginning. A good bookkeeper or accountant can help you choose.  My tip is to get a free trial, make sure it does everything you need it to and that your bookkeeper/accountant can work with it. I previously made a short video called 3 Simple Steps to Getting Your Bookkeeping Sorted.  You might also like Do I Need to Use Accounting Software?

Keep an eye on your bank account

If you get into the habit of checking your bank account regularly you will get a feel for what time of the month loan payments come out, when funds are running low, if there is any suspicious activity etc.  My software is linked to my bank account and every day I can see any bank activity from the day before.

Get customer contact details

Preferably more than 1 type in case you need to follow up unpaid invoices. If you are extending credit to some customers by allowing them to pay at a later date, it’s only a matter of time before you find some customers that won’t pay you on time or will try to avoid paying altogether.  By having several ways to contact them (email, phone, letter) you can follow up unpaid invoices easily. My top tip – keep a written record every time you contact a late paying customer and include dates, what was agreed and who you spoke to. For more help on this topic read Top 6 Tips – Keeping on Top of Customer Payments.

Plan for tax

Open a separate bank account and transfer a percentage of your income aside each month or quarter. Tax time can be stressful when you are running a business so avoid having that extra worry of trying to come up with a large amount of money for tax in one hit.

GST registration

At the time of writing this post the GST threshold is $75,000.  Keep your eye on your GST turnover throughout the year to see if it’s edging towards the threshold – at which point you’ll need to register.  For more of my tips on GST read Common GST Mistakes and BAS Tips for Aussie Small Business Owners.


Make sure you have the right insurances.  As a Registered BAS Agent I have to have certain insurances in place in order to keep my licence and this is also the case with many other professional bodies.

Thank you to all my readers of the Savvy Bookkeeping Blog.  You may have noticed I love writing about small business and not-for-profit bookkeeping. I share more useful and fun bookkeeping information and videos over on my business Facebook page – Festival Bookkeeping.  Why not come over and follow me there? Love to hear from you.


Happy bookkeeping…




Are you an Uber driver?



The sharing economy is such a hot topic right now.  Think Airbnb, Uber and Airtasker.

If you bring in income via the sharing economy you might be disappointed to learn that tax rules apply to the sharing economy just like they do to the rest of the economy.

The Federal Court of Australia has handed down its decision that ride-sourcing is taxi travel.  For GST purposes, the word taxi means a car (vehicle) made available for public hire that is used to transport passengers for fares.  Don’t be caught out thinking that you earn less than the current GST registration threshold of $75,000 – it doesn’t apply to ride-sourcing enterprises!

In Australia, if you operate a ride-sourcing enterprise you are required to:

  • keep records
  • have an Australian business number (ABN)
  • register for GST, regardless of how much you earn
  • pay GST on the full fare received from passengers for each trip you provide
  • lodge activity statements
  • include income from ride-sourcing in your income tax returns.

Not sure if what you are doing is considered running a ride-sourcing enterprise?  Australian Taxation Office website provides more information:

Providing taxi travel services


Happy bookkeeping…


Looking for more related tips?







Payslips – 10 things that must be included


I’ve noticed that whenever someone in a movie is being set up on a blind date, it is always with “such and such from payroll”…which is followed by an eye-roll and much protesting.  Are payroll people that bad? We do, after all, process your pays – shouldn’t you be nice to us?

But I digress, this post is about the 10 things that must be included on payslips in Australia.  And here they are:

  • Employer’s & employee’s name
  • Employer’s ABN if applicable
  • Pay period that is covered in that pay
  • Date of payment
  • Gross and net pay
  • Hourly rate employees – ordinary hourly rate, number of hours worked & total dollar amount of pay
  • Loadings, allowances, bonuses, incentive-based payments, penalty rates or other paid entitlements that can be separated out from an employee’s ordinary hourly rate
  • Pay rate that applied on the last day of employment
  • Deductions – amounts & details of each deduction plus the name or name & number of the fund/account deductions paid into
  • Superannuation contributions – amount of contributions made during pay period plus the name or name & number of the super fund the contributions were made to

Bonus tip: Payslips can be either be printed out or be an electronic copy, but make sure employees can access and print their payslip in private.

Personally I love payroll and it’s become a bit of a specialty area for me.  I was a legal secretary for many years and used to watch the bookkeeper handing out payslips each week and think to myself “I would much rather be doing that”.  And here I am now working in, writing about and teaching payroll.

Do you process pays in your workplace or in your own business? Do you love it or hate it?

If you’ve enjoyed this post or any of my other posts then it would be great to connect with you on Facebook: Festival Bookkeeping.  Look forward to hearing from you!

Save Time & Remove Doubt with your Bookkeeping

Save Doubt

To remove doubt and streamline processes in your business, why not employ some of the techniques that professional bookkeepers use for their clients?

One of these techniques is using checklists.

Here are some examples:

  • At the end of every financial year you need to get your paperwork organised for your accountant. What was it they needed again?
  • You have hired a new employee. You know they need to fill in some forms – some need to be sent off, some are kept on file and some are given to the employee – and you want to make sure you have all the right ones completed in the correct timeframe.
  • You are completing your Business Activity Statement. You know there are some end of period procedures you should be doing first, and what were those reports you were meant to be looking at? Wasn’t there something you were meant to be reconciling?

Using a checklist will give you confidence

Also, once you have a trusty checklist to refer to you will save time with your bookkeeping. You won’t be going back and forth checking websites, pulling out books or asking other people.

Besides those 2 great reasons to use checklists that I just mentioned – isn’t it fun ticking items off a checklist (or is that just me?).

Side Note: For readers who didn’t think it was possible to use the words “fun” and “bookkeeping” in the same post, I have another post written back when I started blogging a couple of years ago you may like to read:  The post in which I mention bookkeeping and fun in the same sentence.

Checklists have served me well in study as well as in my work and business life. Can you think of some aspect of your business or work life that could be improved by the simple act of creating and using a checklist?

Some more quick tips for the busy small business owner:

Happy bookkeeping…