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Bookkeeping Blunders in the Construction Industry

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

Introduction: Welcome, fellow construction industry enthusiasts! Today, we're going to embark on a journey through the world of bookkeeping errors in the construction industry. We all know that working in construction can be challenging, and keeping your books in order is no exception. So, let's have a look at some common blunders and learn how to avoid them. Grab your hard hat, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and let's dive in!

1. VAT Faux Pas:

Ah, VAT, the notorious troublemaker in the world of bookkeeping. It's no surprise that many contractors find themselves stumbling when it comes to recording VAT correctly. From failing to follow invoicing rules to duplicating invoice numbers or not including the required information on VAT invoices, it's like trying to solve a mathematical puzzle without the right pieces. And let's not forget the confusion surrounding what you can claim VAT on and what you can't—like searching for hidden treasure that simply doesn't exist.

2. Domestic VAT Reverse Charge Conundrum:

Now, let's talk about the Domestic VAT reverse charge, the elephant in the room that has left many scratching their heads. We understand that it was a massive change, and contractors have found it hard to wrap their minds around it. Some have even chosen to ignore the new procedures, reverting to the old ways that don't comply with HMRC legislation. It's like trying to navigate a labyrinth, only to realize that the path you've chosen leads to dead ends. But fear not! With a little guidance and understanding, you can conquer this confusing territory. Check out our flow chart here https://www.edenbookkeeping.com/guides.

3. Fuel Fumbles:

Did you know that fuel for traveling, when reimbursed, should be subject to CIS tax? If you didn't, don't worry—you're not alone! This is one area where many contractors trip up. It's like driving a car without knowing which pedal is the gas and which is the brake. But remember, fuel for machinery is treated differently, so it's important to know the rules of the road to avoid unnecessary bumps along the way.

4. The Perils of Late Submissions:

Ah, the relentless HMRC submissions that the construction industry must face—CIS, payroll, VAT, tax returns, accounts—the list seems never-ending! With varying submission schedules, it's no wonder that keeping track can feel like herding cats. But fear not, dear contractors! By taking the time to understand the submission deadlines and implementing effective systems, you can avoid the stress and potential penalties. After all, it's like conducting an orchestra; when everyone plays their part in perfect harmony, the music flows seamlessly.

5. Avoiding the Ostrich Syndrome:

The notorious habit of burying one's head in the sand—a trait unfortunately associated with the construction industry. Penalties mount, submissions get missed, and help is sought when it's already too late. But fear not, dear contractors (and finance aficionados like us)! Recognize that finance might not be your strongest suit, and that's okay! Seek assistance early on, do what you love, and outsource the rest. It's like building a solid foundation for your business—one that will support growth, alleviate stress, and allow you to focus on what you do best.

Bonus Tip: Dave's Tales at the Pub: We all know Dave loves to share stories at the pub, especially about that colossal tax rebate he received. But remember, his financial circumstances may differ from yours, and he may not divulge all the details. It's like a game of poker—people keep their financial cards close to their chests. So, take Dave's anecdotes with a pinch of salt, and consult a professional who can provide personalised guidance based on your circumstances. Plus, there's a chance that Dave's not doing everything correctly, and his rebate could lead to hefty penalties down the line. So, enjoy the pub chats, but don't rely solely on them for financial advice!


Working in the construction industry can be a financial minefield. It's essential to do your research and invest in professional help early on. This will keep your business on track, relieve your stress, and give you the time and space to grow your business. So, dear contractors, embrace the laughter, seek the right help and reap the rewards of a growing, compliant business. Book a chat to find bookkeeping paradise now













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