Six top things tradespeople want from their accountants and bookkeepers

With construction booming all over the world and government crackdowns on the cash economy driving tradespeople to tidy up their books, there’s never been a better time to grow your practice specialising in the trade industry.

By providing a service tailored specifically toward tradespeople, you open yourself up to a huge market of small businesses, many of whom are desperately in need of a little tough business advice.

As consummate DIYers, many tradespeople have been going it alone with their accounts for years, spending hours at nights and on weekends trying to balance their books. Some have even pulled the wool over their family or friend’s eyes and roped them into help - it’s a wonder how their relationship even stays afloat.

That’s where you can become an ally – not only by getting their accounts sorted but by showing them tools and software to help their business flourish. If your firm is proactively growing its advisory services, you’ll be exposed to an equally growing throng of tradespeople who are keen for support in these areas.

We talked to our customers and spoke to other tradespeople in Facebook groups like The Site Shed about what they’re looking for in an accountant. Use their advice to tailor your marketing to approach tradespeople with the perfect solution

1. I’m looking to save time

Saving time is one of the key reasons trade businesses go out to market for business software and service professionals; efficiency is the driver behind achieving business goals.

For one thing, chances are high your tradie is doing their accounts on paper, using spreadsheets or worse… in their head. Just by getting them to jump into online accounting software like Xero, you’ll be able to save them (and you) hours every month.

Secondly, you can put together a list of preferred applications that integrate with your accounting system, such as Tradify for job management, Spotlight Reporting for reports, and Debtor Daddy for chasing unpaid invoices. Giving your trade client a ready-built package of time-saving tools will help them improve their business and see you as a powerful ally in their business ecosystem.

2. I need simple pricing I can budget for

Our research shows that accounting & bookkeeping firms who offer a fixed monthly price for accounting have better results in targeting tradespeople. A monthly price is more compelling than a yearly rate. Knowing your bill stays the same each month enables the trade business owner to budget throughout the year.

Here’s more from Receipt Bank about why you should consider moving to monthly billing.

3. I need you to make me compliant

As many tradespeople operate at least partly in the cash economy, they might not have the best track record when it comes to compliance. With governments and tax departments reporting crackdowns in this area, many trade businesses are scrambling to transform and “legitimise” their businesses.

You may like to offer a special one-off package to help your trade clients get compliant and clean up their current messy paperwork.

4. I want someone I can call with a question

Tradespeople don’t do email. They’re straight-to-the-point folk who’d much prefer to get on the phone and sort a problem out without a lot of back-and-forward. That’s why they’d prefer an accountant or bookkeeper who’s available over the phone to answer questions.

5. Tell me where all the money’s going

Many tradespeople are earning a comfortable income, but because the business has poor visibility and poor cash flow, there never seems to be enough at the end of the month.

Luckily, by using technology you can add a ton of real time advice. By switching your tradie over to cloud-based accounting and recommending other software such as Tradify, you can help them gain more control and visibility over what’s happening in their business. If you provide them a monthly report based on data from the accounting software and Tradify, they’ll be able to see details about the business that used to be invisible.

This data enables them to make smarter business decisions, such as when to drop certain types of work that don’t turn a profit and which employees make them the most money.

6. I don’t want lots of bells and whistles

Trade businesses with 1-5 staff usually have simple needs – they’re often not aiming for growth – they just want to create a better lifestyle for their families. As trusted business advisors, you have to enable efficiency so growth is controlled and comfortable -  a by-product of running a better business.

When they look at the service offerings for accountants & bookkeepers, they can get confused and frustrated, thinking they’re being sold all these extras they don’t need.

Many accountants & bookkeepers in this space create a budget package for these types of trade businesses, that doesn’t include extras like strategy and review meetings or advanced compliance.

At the end of the day, tradespeople aren’t much different from other business owners. They’re time poor, great at what they do, and keen for tools and advice to help them succeed. If you can provide value and give them useful advice, your firm will cultivate lifelong trade clients.

As a business advisor, are you targeting tradespeople? How are you responding to their accounting needs?

Emma Crawford-Falekaono
Chief Revenue Officer - Tradify

Find out more about the Tradify Partner Programme here.