Why I created the Financial Visibility Scorecard for trades and construction businesses

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I have been working with trades and construction businesses, as their accountant and CFO for over 15 years. The story seen time and time again is a simple one, plenty of work terrible cashflow.

These cashflow problems started gradually. When you started the business, it was simple, you just looked at money in the bank account and it grew every month. You confidently took on more and more work. To get through all the new work, you hired a couple of full-time tradesmen, you took on a lease for a work van, took on a lease for a small factory to get your business out of the family home.

With all these added overheads and complexity, the finances in your trades business rapidly became the weakest link in your business. The financial reality felt by the owners of these trades and construction businesses is as follows:

  1. I have to pay what in taxes!!
  2. I don’t have the money right now
  3. My accountant said I made a profit, why isn’t it in my bank account?
  4. I had money at first, but as we have grown, the money just flew out of control


When it comes to accounting and finances, in my opinion the majority of trades business, at this size in Australia, are struggling. Although they may look successful, you know, plenty of work and the owner driving around in a brand-new RAM 1500 Laramie – successful right? The financial reality is often the complete opposite. Behind on BAS payments, ATO payment arrangements, unpaid employee superannuation, subcontractors crying out to be paid, using the deposit paid on the new project to pay for the loss you made on the last project. Round-and-round it goes every week, month, and year of not knowing what the problem is or how to fix it.

Having vast and intimate knowledge of the common financial challenges faced by trades and construction business owners, I developed the tradies financial scorecard with the intention of providing an objective arms-length opinion on where your business is positioned financially relative to the 5 stages of the CLEAR process. The CLEAR process is a proven and logical framework designed to get trades businesses to financial base camp. Financial base camp is where you are paying yourself a proper commercial wage and where your business is making a minimum 10% net profit.


Clean Up – Identify and clean up the issues causing murky financial visibility

Learn – Set-up the finance & accounting functions for financial visibility

Enjoy – You have reached financial basecamp. Confidence in knowing your numbers and positive cashflow, enjoy!

Ambition – Chase your dream & reset goals, backed by sound financial management

Reward – Legacy, transition, succession – your choice, your reward!

The scorecard ranks, assesses and collates your answers against a benchmark to provide you with valuable objective insight on where your business is positioned financially in the CLEAR method. This analysis then provides recommendations regarding the steps you need to take to move your business forward financially. Thereby taking your business to the Next Level.


A June 2023 report commissioned by the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman titled ‘Small Business Matters’ found that three quarters of self-employed small business owners working full-time earn less than the average full-time adult wage. Further, the same report found that trades and constructions businesses were overall the largest industry sector, making up 18% of all small businesses in Australia.

With so many trades and construction business failing to make a profit and taking home less than the average wage, it has never been more important to provide the tools and support these businesses need to take charge and change their future and reality.

Our mission at Next Level is to provide the financial insights and strategies which enable trades and construction business owners to understand their numbers for financial prosperity and wellbeing.