Lost receipts and expense headaches… Financial admin issues costing tradespeople more than £929 million every year

A survey has found that UK tradespeople – as a whole - lose out on more than £929 million every year due to issues in financial planning, mis-management of expenses and lost receipts.

The figure comes from a new survey by Dakea, a leading manufacturer of high-quality, affordable roof windows that are built for the trade. It questioned 500 tradespeople around the country and discovered that financial admin issues are hitting them where it hurts: in the pocket.

421,160, or nearly one-in-five, tradespeople are missing out on hundreds of pounds when filing tax reports due to missing information. This totals £929,028,750 in lost revenue across the industry.

On average, individual tradespeople in the UK are down more than £375 per year because of these mistakes, an amount which rises to £975 for local building firm bosses. A lack of up-to-date business skills was identified as a factor, as only 41% of those surveyed said that they used digital technology to carry out financial processes.

72,515 tradespeople, or 11% of the profession, have lost money due to errors when logging expenses. In addition, 322,063 (13%) have lost money due to receipt-keeping problems, with the West Midlands being the worst receipt-keepers in the country.

Undertaken as part of Dakea’s Trade Matters campaign, the survey aims to help identify business and financial skills that can make significant improvements to how tradespeople operate. To assist with financial planning and completing tax forms, Dakea has created a toolkit of easy-to-use templates that are free to download from www.tradematters.co.uk.

Andrew Birch, Regional Sales Manager at Dakea, said: “With the 31st January tax return deadline still fresh in mind, this is a good time to evaluate what important tasks tradespeople might need support with outside of the actual installation and building work they do.

“We know that the professionals on the building site know all about complex equipment, heavy machinery and tricky installs, but its things like accurate financial management that could make-or-break a business when it comes time to paying your taxes.

“Here at Dakea, we care about the business partners we work with and we know that sometimes it’s not just advice with window applications that tradespeople need. This is why we’ve conducted this survey, to better understand what is making their lives difficult and what we can do to help.”

Dakea discussed its findings with a group of builders and installers to get first-hand insights into common financial administration practises and concerns. Paul Palmer from Ginger Plumbing Services said that when he started out: “I’d take three weeks off just to do the paperwork.” Now he says: “It takes me maybe 20 minutes every week sorting out all the receipts, invoices and everything then storing them away until the end of the year.”

However, electrician Paul Barel said: “It’s okay if you’re that way inclined and you’ve got the mindset to do that. But not everyone’s got that. After a day’s work that’s the last thing you want to do!”

Dan Honour from Able Plumbing and Heating Solutions Ltd agreed that the typical approach to receipt keeping among tradespeople was: “Pocket. Screwed up. There you go.” Personally, Dan reckoned that “the best thing is if they email you to be honest”. Paul Barel agreed, he said: “That’s the way to go isn’t it. Just photograph it and put it online.”

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