Professional Builder’s Lee Jones talks to Tommy McNally, the developer of a new app that aims to take the time and trouble out of financial management and tax.
According to the old adage death and taxes are life’s two great nailed on certainties and, whilst the manner in which you might shuffle off this mortal coil is largely out of your hands, you can make your encounters with HMRC rather more painless. That’s exactly what a new app, Tommys Tax, is designed to do and, what’s more, it’s a service that the trades can access for free.
“Because it’s not within their skillset many builders can find the financial side of their business stressful and intimidating,” explains time-served tax expert, Tommy NcNally. “The ethos behind our company has always been to provide smaller companies with the kind of support that larger organisations take for granted, and the Tommys Tax App is central to that mission.”
The app hands builders the tools they need to complete the job of organising their finances, and all through the convenience of the now obligatory smartphone. “80 per cent of our existing client base works in the construction sector and we’ve added some really builder-friendly features,” continues Tommy. “It’s essentially a comprehensive business management app where users can log expenses and take pictures of receipts, which can then be recorded and stored digitally. Invoices can be created and issued, with builders then getting paid by clients through the app. All incomings can be added, whilst it will calculate an estimated end of financial year tax bill, and any refunds that are owed. Many builders will be unaware of the huge range of expenses that they can claim for and the app includes a complete database of these, and there’s a tax assistant on hand for any further questions.”
The guiding principle of Tommys Tax is simplicity for the end user, but behind it lies a complex architecture of data that is working on their behalf. What sets this service apart, however, is that it is the only bookkeeping app available that is entirely free. “With a lot of the existing accountancy software that’s out there, builders are paying for a subscription but they’re still having to pay out significant sums to an accountant to make sure that their finances are in order. If the users of Tommy’s Tax do need additional support that is, of course, something we can supply for a fee, but we’re effectively stripping away a lot of the monthly costs. It’s actually very easy for us to then provide a further service, because we would have access to all of the client’s financial records through the app.”
When social distancing brought the shutters down on our society it opened a space where digital technologies could move in and they have proven to be our saviour. In 2020 the increase in users of the Tommys Tax app has been exponential, with the significant milestone of the 20,000th download recently recorded. Indeed, Tommy expects the business to have grown by 900 per cent by the end of the year, as more and more builders make use of online services.
Tommy gives his view on the impact of the pandemic on the financial sector, and how builders will be sourcing its services in the future: “We’ve actually been operating an app since 2015, and the market was already moving in our favour, but the Covid-19 pandemic will undoubtedly accelerate that process. People can’t, or don’t want to meet face-to-face, so the more that can be done through devices that we all carry routinely in our pockets the better, and once they’ve realised just how much easier it is, it’s not something that they’re just going to stop doing. It’s about making the maximum use of the digital tools that are already out there. We’ve set up a self-employed help group on Facebook, for instance, that’s been guiding tradespeople through the various grants on offer during the lockdown, and we post regular videos on YouTube, all of which has been very well received.”
Any discrepancy in your financial records can prove costly, and what the Tommys Tax App promises is a more precise bookkeeping experience. “From the work we do with the trades we know that it’s the accuracy that tradespeople often struggle with, and if you do find yourself with a significant debt with HMRC it can have serious implications for the rest of your life, and that’s where the Tommys Tax App can help.”
The Tommys Tax app is available through the Apple Store and Google Play. For more information visit https://www.tommystax.com/mobile/