Introduction: 2021 vision

Who will forget 2020? We started out with a bout of extraordinary weather, a promise of a Brexit deal, which we are still waiting for, and the onset of a year of turmoil and repeated lockdowns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

And, just to make things a bit more interesting, HMRC changed the VAT rules slightly by introducing the domestic reverse charge - although they did at least realise that we had enough on our plates this year, delaying its implementation until Spring 2021.

Many industries had to shut down or lay off employees temporarily during the first lockdown, with only a few major infrastructure projects managing to stay open, but building sites across the country are at work once again, and apparently running normally. Throughout the year, however, it has been the accounts departments that have kept the construction companies ticking over, from handling furlough payments to laid off staff, to meeting scheduled costs with a reduced income. Brexit continues to exasperate us as well, and the uncertainty of it prevents any decisive steps to be taken by companies who deal with Europe in any way. If this includes you, then I am sure that you will have identified the rules that are likely to change, and the documents that will need revision whatever the deal.

In addition to the normal complexities of construction accounting 2020 has hit us all with a number of totally unforeseen problems, and accounting systems have been truly tried and tested. Rightly or wrongly, a major hiatus like the pandemic or even Brexit is seen by some as an opportunity to think afresh, or to re-evaluate the way we currently do things. To this end we have produced this guide to accounting in construction, which details the latest practices and processes in the industry. We hope that it will help you and your business move past 2020 and begin planning for 2021 and beyond.