E-invoicing: Salvation for UK-based Tradesmen and Their Accountants


If there’s one word that summarizes tax season in the United Kingdom, it’s chaos. This month, millions of Britons will race to submit their online self-assessment tax returns by midnight on January 31. Tens of thousands will leave it to the last minute – literally. Hundreds of thousands more will miss the deadline altogether.

For UK-based tradesmen and their accountants, tax season brings a unique sense of dread. In an industry that remains stuck in an analog era, piles of paper receipts, invoices, and bills-of-sale add up to a time-consuming and inefficient endeavor. To bean-counters forced to sift through the building industry’s paperwork, January can be especially gloomy.

But tax season doesn’t have to be dour. With the new and improved e-invoicing feature from Buildiro, January could even be a month to look forward to.

Last week, we launched an updated version of our industry-leading materials procurement app, and part of that release included updates to our pioneering e-invoicing service. Now, when a tradesman pays for materials in the app or takes advantage of Buildiro Direct – our express delivery service for London postcodes – an invoice is automatically generated and stored. This digital purchase record can then be fed to any number of accounting systems – such as Sage, Xero, and QuickBooks – helping tradesmen comply with the UK’s Making Tax Digital scheme, and giving their accountants an easy way to skip the agonizing paper trail. 

To be sure, the transition from paper to digital record-keeping in the building trades has already been underway. The trouble is that most of the current solutions are poorly conceived, costly, and time consuming. One common approach for many builders is to photograph their invoices, convert them to PDFs, and then upload them to the cloud for their accountants to download, who then must enter the data by hand into their own accounting software, correcting mistakes along the way. Simply put, it’s a huge waste of time.

The Buildiro e-invoicing feature eliminates this duplicity and makes the transfer of information effortless. Here’s how: When tradespeople shop for and purchase building materials, tools, or fixings in the Buildiro app, a digital invoice is saved in the Buildiro system. Accountants can then access these PDF records through the Buildiro portal. Tax preparers can view and sort invoices by client and date range, and export the records via a single CSV file to their preferred accounting software. It’s that simple.

“It doesn’t matter whether it’s just one invoice or 10,000,” says Buildiro CEO Luke Polach. “With just two clicks, accountants can have their clients’ invoices ready for processing. No more hassle or needless mistakes.”

Polach adds: “It’s tax crunch-time in the UK, and builders’ accountants are feeling the pinch. But next year, with the Buildiro e-invoicing feature, tax season doesn’t have to be the worst time of the year.”

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