Be the contractor who employers can’t wait to return from maternity leave

We show you how to stay at the forefront of your client’s mind during your maternity leave

One of the concerns women in contracting have when planning a family is how their maternity leave will affect their overall career progression, regardless of how long they decide to take off. Concerns can include wondering if it’ll be much harder to get back in the swing of things when returning to work, whether savings will see you through the months you’re not working, and if you’ll be an attractive candidate after taking time out from the rat race.


Whilst taking maternity leave will not affect your employability, there are some things you can do to ensure you remain at the forefront of your client’s minds during this time.


In this blog we look at what you can do to bridge the gap between bump, baby and beyond!


Swap being physically present for virtually connected

In this day and age you don’t have to be stood in front of your client for them to notice you. In fact, you could be taking your maternity leave whilst travelling the globe and still remain closer than ever to your clients.


Here’s a few tricks you can try to achieve virtual connection:


  • Read news that’s specific to your client’s industry as well as yours as a Limited Company contractor. Let your clients know of any changes that might affect them and keep a dialogue open to discuss how topics can develop. Your interest in their industry will keep you fresh in their mind and show how much you care about what’s affecting them.
  • Keep your LinkedIn profile and professional website up to date. Don’t be afraid to let people know how long you’ll be out of contracting for and therefore when you’ll be back. Join groups of interest on LinkedIn and conversations where you’re able to showcase your industry knowledge. Just because you’re not currently contracting, it does not mean you don’t know your stuff.
  • Keep in contact with past clients and colleagues. Ask them about upcoming projects and how your skill set and experience could help them, then have work lined up for when you’re ready to return.


Network with like-minded mums

For highly skilled contractors, taking time out from work can either be a welcomed break or a professional nightmare. Fear of stepping off the train to success, only to try and get back on and find someone has taken your seat, can be a daunting and often frightening concept for some.


Finding a group of like-minded mums can not only ease your concerns, but can also banish any maternity blues or isolation you may be feeling. It will also grow your group of contacts and could lead onto future contracts.


Fill any knowledge gaps

Whilst your number one priority when on maternity will of course be on your new arrival (or arrivals!), there will be times when you’ll have some time to yourself. So why not use it to update your skills, or to take a look and see what skills are currently in demand?


Not only will you keep your mind sharp, you’ll hit the ground running when you’re ready to return to work, as you’ll have the skills clients are looking for.


Use your time to work on you

Everyone has their own strengths and interests which make them unique, and sometimes it’s those individual quirks which make us stand out to a particular employer. Why not use your maternity leave to explore a few hobbies or interests that you’ve always wanted to do?


For example, photography can show a client you’re disciplined and have an eye for detail, whilst volunteering can demonstrate your passion to improve a situation without the need for financial gain. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you enjoy doing that can be your escape for when you’re not busy being mum.


The contracting world is waiting for you – when you’re ready to return

We hope that this blog has given you some inspiration on ways in which to progress your career when you’re taking time off to be a new mum, and given you the confidence to ensure future clients will be waiting for you when you’re ready to return. After all, a career in contracting should work for you, rather than the other way round.


Have you previously been on maternity leave and have a tip that’s helped you get back into your working groove? Share it with us on twitter using @IntouchAcc, we’d love to hear your experiences.


This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

Four tips to help you stop wasting time on emails

Stop wasting time!

In today’s tech-savvy world, you’re only ever a click away from checking your emails. You could be up the side of a mountain or deep in a jungle (depending on your 4G coverage, of course) and you’d still have access to what’s going on in the wider world.


Be it human curiosity or the fear of missing something important, we’re all guilty of checking our emails more than we should. In this blog we explore the top four tips all serious Limited Company contractors and freelancers should adopt, in order to reclaim wasted email management time.


Tip no. 1 – Get to the point

This is a tough skill to master and few have managed it, but if you can it will surely save you time when replying to client emails. Before you compose your reply, think ‘what do I actually want to say?’, then just write that – it’s that simple!


This skill saves you (and your client) time in two different ways – you spend less time compiling the email and they spend less time reading it. They will also tend to reply to you in the same manner, so over time you’ll both create a harmonious working relationship, that doesn’t waste each other’s time.


Tip no. 2 – Have a good clear out

If you could unsubscribe from the junk mail that came through your front door, you would. So your inbox should be no different.


Take a couple seconds to unsubscribe from each spam email you receive. You may have signed up to a newsletter a few months ago, thinking their content will be of use to you. But if you haven’t read any of their recent communications, then it’s time to get rid.


Tip no. 3 – Organisation is key

Chaos is defined by the sensitivity to slight changes in conditions, whereby even small alterations can create enormous consequences. Now imagine your inbox without any organisation – utter chaos right?!


Make the small alteration of adapting a filing system for your current and past clients and include filters so that they automatically end up in their correct client folders. The amount of time you save will be the enormous consequence you need.


Tip no. 4 – Have different accounts for work, personal and spam

Your work email should be just that, for work. So ensure your email address is related to your Limited Company name and that all past, current and future client correspondence is kept here. This is the account you’ll probably monitor the most, as it will form part (or all) of your client communication.


Your personal email should be where friends and family’s emails go. This account is for emails that are important to your personal life, but not so much that they will interrupt your working day. Save them for after hours, a break in your working day, or for weekends.


Finally your spam account is for when you need to provide an email address to access content that you’ll only ever want to look at once. You’ll probably never use this account, but you’ll be grateful for it’s existence! You’ll also never end up on a random third party mailing list, which you’ll only have to repeat point number two from this blog!

So there you have it, four great ways in which to reduce the amount of time you spend on your emails. Do you have a tip that has saved you time? Share it with us on one of our social profiles, we’d love to hear it.


This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

Humblebragging – the art of selling yourself without the big headedness




Picture the scene: you’ve spotted a new contract that’s perfectly suited to your experience and skills, so much so that you could have written the contract requirements yourself. You know there’s a whole host of other contractors probably sat there thinking exactly the same thing, so now is the time to act.


But how do you go about letting the prospective client know you’re the contractor for the job, without sounding like a jerk? Jenny Winslow, Senior Marketing Executive at Intouch Accounting shows you know to blow your own professional trumpet, without making a racket.


Let’s start at the very beginning

If you were the one looking to hire a contractor, where would you go for information about that person? Your LinkedIn profile and personal website hold the most value when it comes to self promotion, so ensure both (should you have them) are up to date and showcasing your skills, talents and latest work.


It’s your space to use as you please, so state the facts and what you brought to previous positions. Afterall, this information is the ‘bait’ on the hook which will catch you an interview.


Gauge whether a personal shout-out is appropriate

Once you’re in an interview, timing is everything. If the interviewer asks you specific questions about a previous contract or skill, you then have free rein to talk about anything and everything to do with it. You will be expected to show passion for your previous work and pride in your achievements where you’ve excelled, so don’t ever feel embarrassed about letting your interviewer know this.


But remember! Whilst it’s good be proud of your work and achievements, gushing about them unprompted can make you sound arrogant. Wait until the time is right to showcase your talents, or you could be seen as steering the interview without meaning to.



When promoting your self worth, it’s important to focus on your own personal development rather than demonstrating how your skills outweigh those of your peer group. Whilst most Limited Company contractors work solo, you will be expected to work well with the client, so resist the urge to showcase how much better you are than other contractors, as this will expose a lack in ability to work as a team.


Have a wingman

If you heard someone singing their own praises you’d change the channel pretty quickly, but if someone else was doing the singing you’d be more likely to listen. Especially if the singer was someone with a position of authority, such as an organisation’s MD or Project Manager, that had personally worked with a contractor.


When a contract is coming to a close, be sure to ask your client for a testimonial which you can share on your LinkedIn profile or personal website. Word of mouth recommendations are powerful tools, so be sure to ask for one.


Finally, don’t talk yourself down!

Whilst being too enthusiastic about your skills can make you sound big headed, being too quiet can show signs of shyness, a lack in confidence or even disinterested in the contract or industry as a whole.


To find that happy medium, make sure you make balanced statements that highlight both your strengths whilst acknowledging your flaws. Whilst you might be the rock star of contracting you are also human, so celebrate your wins where appropriate and accept your failures within reason.


Like this kind of advice? Our Personal Accountants offer unlimited advice and support on all areas related to Limited Company contracting. If you’re missing that level of personal service from your current account or want it from the offset, speak to us today about becoming an Intouch client.


This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

The Limited Company contractor’s guide to Entrepreneurs Relief

Entrepreneurs Relief


What is Entrepreneurs Relief (ER)?

ER was created to encourage people to set up and grow their own businesses, by providing a reduced level of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on business disposals (when you decide to either sell or dissolve your Limited Company).


Who can claim ER?

ER is available to shareholders who are trading using a Limited Company and who have held the business assets in question for more than 12 months. It’s usually applied to a business disposal or share sale, but can also be claimed for other assets.


You must have been a serving partner, director or employee and have held at least 5% of the share capital in the year preceding the sale, If you’re disposing of business shares.


How does ER work?

To calculate your personal ER, you must firstly deduct your CGT annual exemption from the amount of your gain. Then, multiply this gain by 10% to leave you with your CGT liability.


Should you be fortunate enough to reach the lifetime allowance threshold of £10 million, then any further gains are made at the standard CGT rates.



There are deadlines for when ER must be claimed. If business assets were disposed of during the 2015/16 tax year, then you must make your ER claim by 31 January 2018.


You are able to make a claim on your Self-Assessment Tax Return, but we strongly advise you seek the professional advice and support of an expert Limited Company contractor accountant.
For more information Entrepreneur’s Relief, please visit HMRC’s website.


This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

Cessation of Contracting – what to do when it’s time to close your Limited Company

Cessation of Contracting


Whether you’re retiring, going back into permanent employment forever, or your circumstances change, there will potentially come a time when you will need to close your Limited Company.


But how do you go about it and what steps do you need to take? Director of Operations, Laura Hepworth takes you through the stages, to ensure you get the best outcome.


Extinct or just sleeping?

Whilst you may think that closing your company is the right option, it might be worth exploring whether you’re better off by putting your Limited Company in a dormant state.


In short, a dormant Limited Company is not trading, but is still required to prepare and file accounts with Companies House, submit a Corporation Tax Return and submit accounts.


If you are no longer contracting, but may return to contracting in the future or wish to keep your company name protected, then putting your company into a dormant state is the right step for you.


Company Liquidation

If you have decided that closing your company is the right choice for you, then you must first start off by asking yourself whether your Limited Company can settle its debts. If your company doesn’t have sufficient funds to pay your creditors in full, then it makes closing your company a much more involved process, which you’ll require professional assistance in doing so.


Closing your company

Assuming your company is able to meet its financial obligations, the process of actually closing the company is complex yet relatively straightforward.


Firstly, start by deciding on the date you wish to close the company. It’s important not to process any further transactions after this date, other than those required as part of the closure process.


HMRC will need to be notified of your decision to close your company as soon as you have decided on the date. We advise holding off from submitting your final accounts when you inform HMRC, as you may have some late-occurring expenses which will need to be accounted for. If VAT registered, you will need to cancel your registration. You’ll also need to pay any outstanding PAYE and/or National Insurance Contributions (NICs), run a final payroll to obtain P45s for yourself and any staff you employ and submit a P35 Employer Annual Return.


As soon as you know there are no further funds going in or out of your company, it’s time to close your business bank accounts and then prepare and submit your final accounts. The Corporation Tax due will be calculated by HMRC, which must be paid within nine months (although it’s recommended to do so as quickly as possible, as the company cannot be closed until all money owed has been paid). Once completed, any money remaining should be taken as a dividend.


Remember! Not to leave any funds are left in your company’s business bank account(s) as anything left can revert to the Crown.


What’s next?

Three months after your Limited Company has ceased trading, use the DS01 form from Companies House to dissolve your company. You will then enter a consultation phase with Companies House, where they publicise the proposal to strike off your company. This gives any interested parties the opportunity to challenge the process and should there be no objections or difficulties (or you change your mind!) your Limited Company will be struck off the Companies House register.


Final thoughts

Closing your Limited Company is a big step to take and one that you shouldn’t take alone. The first person you should discuss your plans with is your expert Personal Accountant, as they will be able to offer your tailored advice and support throughout the entire process.


This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

The top fourteen things successful people do every day – part 2

Secrets to success and productivity


In our last blog we highlighted the top seven secrets to productively, as shared by 200 ultra-successful people – including a few billionaires and Olympians. As a Limited Company contractor looking to win and impress clients, you’ll find these tips useful.


In this blog we look at the next seven answers these people gave to the following question:


‘What are your secrets to success and productivity?’


8. How many balls are you juggling?

It should only be the one. Ensure you’re only ever working on the most important task at any one time, then allocate your remaining time to any other tasks in relation to their importance.


Remember that your understanding of importance may be different to that of your client’s, so cross check your priority list with theirs to avoid any misunderstandings.


9. Keep a notepad with you at all times

How often have you thought of a great idea, then completely forgotten it?! Be it virtually on your smartphone or an actual notepad and pen, ensure you have the tools to capture those great ideas before they escape you.


10. Touch things once

Be honest, how many times have you opened an email or started a new task or project, only to walk away from it a few moments later, thinking ‘I’ll deal with that later’. If you’re human (and we’re fairly sure you are!) you’ll be able to relate to this.


Consider how long each task will take you to finish, then get on with it. It will help your time management, free your time up for other things and above all, make you feel pretty smug for completing it!


11. Find your energy source

Some people swear that their 5am run does wonders for their energy levels throughout the rest of the day. (Apparently) they feel energised, more focused and sharper to take on the task at hand.


Whilst you may not be a super keen runner, there’s something that can be said for for finding a passion and routine that gives you that extra boost throughout the day. Food gives you fuel, sleep gives you recovery and exercise can keep you focused – so create your own perfect energy source today.


12. Follow the 20/80 rule

From those successful people questioned in the study, many described following the ‘20/80 rule’. This is where 80 percent of results come from only 20 percent of activities. As a successful contractor you’ll know which activities will drive the greatest results. Remember to focus on these tasks and ignore the rest.


13. Your morning routine is everything

Habits breed behaviour patterns, so if yours is positive and provides you with a good start to the day, then your day will follow suit.


Have breakfast, drink plenty of water, take five minutes to replenish your mind and prepare yourself for the day ahead. Nurture your body and mind for a productive day.


14. Delegate

So delegation isn’t always suitable when you’re contracting, but in your everyday business life it certainly can be. Instead of thinking ‘how can I do this?’, consider ‘how can it be done?’


Take your accountancy needs for example – why spend hours trying to get your head around complicated and time consuming accountancy, when there are specialist contractor accountancy firms out there who will keep you compliant and up to date with the latest legislation, whilst ensuring you take home your maximum contractor pay.


Speak to our specialist team today about the services we provide and how we can clear your mind from accounting worries and free you up for contracting success.


Final thoughts

No one likes to feel overworked and overwhelmed, so try some of these tricks and tips today.

Got some of your own tips that have rocketed you to Limited Company contracting success? Share them with us! We’d love to hear what you do to ensure you’re at the top of your game.


This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

The top fourteen things successful people do every day – part 1

What successful people owe their success to


Are you a successful person? What does that even look like? How do you measure your victories and what do you do to ensure you remain successful? Whilst you may already have your own winning recipe, it’s always intriguing to know how other successful people measure their merit.


In a recent study by Kevin Kruse, 200 ultra-successful people (including seven billionaires and thirteen Olympians) were asked what their number one secret to success and productivity is. In this blog we explore the first seven of fourteen points, which they claim to owe their success…


1. Time travel

OK, so we’re not talking literally, but by understanding what to do now so that your future self will be a success is an art that very few have mastered, but all should try to come to grips with. So if you’re able to anticipate what skills and resources you’ll need before you actually do need them, you’re ready to make the most from the present with some past preparation.


(Pat on the back to past you!)


2. Eat dinner at home

How many times have you been working on a project and thought that you could just keep going and going and going? Even if the amount of work is limitless, that doesn’t mean your time should also be.


Understand what is important in life and ensure you give each area the same amount of attention. A clear mind and work / life balance can mean greater freedom to succeed. Even simple things like eating your dinner at home rather than at your desk can give you the balance you need to break the cycle.


3. Forget the to-do list

Some may find this one hard to do, but imagine binning your to-do list and scheduling tasks in your calendar instead.


By leaving incomplete items on your to-do list you’re effectively causing yourself undue stress and anxiety (and who needs that?!), as they will also remain on your mind. By actioning tasks on the day you’ve set to complete them, your mind will never be over cluttered with work that isn’t due for completion there and then.


4. Say ‘no’ to almost everything

Unless saying ‘yes’ is going to have a positive impact on your day, say ‘no’. This is going to take guts the first few times you do it, but once you’ve gotten the hang of it your day will only be filled with positive and rewarding tasks.


The same can be said for those pesky ‘extras’ that clients try to sneak into your daily tasks, which do not feature in your contract. It’s ok to say ‘no’, unless you’re willing to take them on, (with some contract negotiation).


5. Forget meetings

As a contractor, your time is just that, yours – unless of course the client is paying for it. If they try to squeeze in a meeting after hours, or ask you to arrange one which is outside of your contract’s remit – it’s just not cricket.


6. Check your email a couple times a day

Forget checking your emails every time one pings in, as successful people find it beneficial to check their emails only once or twice a day. If you react to every single email as soon as it arrives in your inbox, you’ll be distracted from the task at hand.


So unless you need an email to complete what you’re currently working on, leave checking your inbox until your allocated time.


7. Make the minutes count and not the hours

How many times a day do you consider when things are done? For example, maybe breakfast is at 7am, lunch at 1pm, home by 6pm then bed by 10:30pm. Now consider how much time you waste between those hours?


As the old saying goes, time is money – so don’t let wasting it cost you. With 1,440 minutes in the day, make sure that when the metre is running you’re making the most from the minutes you have and not just the hours.


Final thoughts – for now

Changing behaviour can be challenging, but if the rewards are great then it’s worth taking the time to adapt. Why not try a couple this week to see how they could increase your professional success?


If understanding how 20 percent of effort can produce 80 percent of productivity intrigues you, then make sure you catch our next blog that covers this, plus so much more.


This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.

How to set up your Limited Company

How to set up your Limited Company

If you’re ready for a change in the way you work, today is a good day to get started. Maybe you’ve been in permanent employment all your life and want to get more for your skills; or perhaps you’re already contracting but aren’t getting the most through your current arrangement via an Umbrella or agent. Or are you a student approaching graduation and prefer the idea of being your own boss instead of getting stuck into the 9-5 daily grind?


Why bother?

As a contractor you can:

  • keep more of your earnings
  • be your own boss
  • control how, when and where you work
  • decide who you work for and how


There are already 4.7 million self-employed workers in the UK right now. Everyone will have different motivations for going into contracting and for those looking on with envy, quite often the only thing stopping them is…themselves.

Do some research into the level of demand for your skills and the day rate you can command and you may find the confidence you need to take the plunge.


It’s not what you make, it’s what you take

If you expect to earn at least £30,000 per annum and to be contracting for more than three months, working through your own Limited Company will mean you can enjoy more freedoms and maximise your take home pay. Our Ready, set, go…into contracting guide gives you more insight into what being a contractor entails.


The first step to setting up a Limited Company…

Know what you’re getting yourself into and understand the responsibilities you’ll have with your own Limited Company. But don’t be alarmed, just make sure you get to grips with what’s what.

We work with contractors every day, helping them run their Limited Company in the best way depending on their individual circumstances. We know exactly how to set up your Limited Company. We can help you incorporate your company within 24 hours and register you for VAT and PAYE. To fully appreciate your responsibilities as a Director, you can have a chat with our experts. You are ultimately responsible for your company throughout the year but we’ll help guide you through everything that needs doing.


Get yourself out there

With the freedom to work where you want, you are the master of your destiny so you need to be active in finding your next contract. Decide on a suitable company name and give yourself a visual identity that you are proud of. Check out our 10 tips to promoting brand: You, including tips for networking, and make sure you harness the power of social media, whether it’s a whole new world or you’re looking to get more out of it.


What else?

There’s lots to get your head around when you’re first setting up your company and working with a specialist contractor accountant from day one can help ensure you don’t miss anything. With Intouch, not only will you get help with everything you need to run your company throughout the year, we also have relationships in place so you can sort out your business insurance and banking without any fuss.

Whatever your motivation, there are so many great reasons to set up your Limited Company. Make the right choice for you.


Speak to our experts today about how to get started and they can set your Limited Company up for you within 24 hours…for FREE!

The EU referendum – to Bremain or to Brexit? That is the question!

The EU referendum

This is it, we’re on the home straight towards arguably the most important vote in our lifetime and one that will impact this and future generations. But the issues which determine whether to Brexit or Bremain are still being hotly debated across the UK.


So much of the spin doing the rounds offers contradictory messaging. Read a leaflet from the Brexit campaign and you’ll receive one version of the facts – leaving the EU will give us a stronger economy, stronger leadership on the world stage, make for a safer nation and more money in everyone’s pockets. Read a similar leaflet from the Bremain camp and you’ll get exactly the same interpretation of the outcome based on the opposite stance of remaining where we are. To be expected really.


We’re not here to tell you how to vote in the EU referendum. There is no right or wrong way because how you vote will depend entirely on your individual perspectives and priorities. Instead, we want to give you some contractor food for thought to help you decide how to use your vote on 23 June.


The truth is no one can be sure what a Brexited Britain would look like financially, fiscally or economically, but undoubtedly a period of volatility or, more likely, instability would ensue.


How long that may last is the same as the length of a piece of string or the time some poor agencies take to pay contractor’s invoices – who knows?


If we do vote leave, there is little doubt that UK contractors and freelancers will be affected. Whether this turns out to be a good thing or a bad thing for you will depend on so many factors, especially those which affect your clients and their business. Also relevant are the demand for your skills and the ability to source those same skills elsewhere, your age, financial situation, nationality, domicile, the industry you work in, and which European territory you expect to work in (including the UK).


Here we explore issues we think contractors will be most interested in.


Tax consequences of Brexit

A decision to leave the EU on 23 June will not change the UK tax system overnight. In fact it is unlikely anything would change until a framework for exit had been negotiated with the EU. The UK would have two years for that to happen (and longer if all member states agree). However, although there would be no overnight changes the UK government would want to set out its roadmap for change fairly quickly and we could expect an emergency Budget soon after an exit decision.

An emergency Budget may have some changes to taxation or accelerate changes anticipated, but the focus is more likely to be on the roadmap alone.


Trade agreements

An exit decision will have no immediate effect on existing trade with the EU or agreements to which the UK is itself a signatory. But if the exit formally occurs the UK will lose the benefit of existing trade agreements with countries agreed at EU level and of course the agreements itself with EU member states. However, the UK is a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in its own right and would retain the limited benefits that “most favoured nation” terms provide and its obligations as a member of the G20 and OECD would remain.


The UK would need to consider those non EU countries where trade agreements only exist from EU membership with terms to be negotiated, but as far as agreements with the EU are concerned the UK has the choice of joining the European Economic Area (EEA), the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) or negotiating its own bilateral agreements.


In the absence of membership of the EU, EEA or EFTA the UK would need to establish custom tariffs with all member states and those countries where agreement was reached at EU level. But the UK would be free to enter into negotiations with any non EU country for the benefit of the UK alone; without consideration of wider EU consequences. Arguably an easier task for the UK than reaching agreement with non EU countries at an EU level. The US is a perfect example.


Whatever course the UK takes, it would take many years to complete and it is possible that two years would not be long enough to have all the ducks in a row. This is the key concern over trade stability, the period of time these agreements take to negotiate and what those terms will ultimately be.


If the UK were to exit from the EU, whether or not it goes it alone, or joins either the EEA or EFTA, it would have total sovereignty over the UK tax system which would make it free to make changes over VAT and Corporation Tax. Some would say that from a trading perspective this would enable the UK to move forward in more dynamic ways specific to the circumstances that suited the UK and maximise its competitiveness on a global stage.


EU referendum


Working in the UK and overseas

The contracting market has been attractive to overseas workers from the start, both from within the EU and outside, particularly Asia, New Zealand and Australia. We are used to economic migration and arguably this has never been a problem. More importantly and historically immigration has always been associated with periods of increased economic prosperity. That still remains the case as agreed by both camps.


However, the Brexit camp stress the real problem is caused by an inability to control the volume and speed of immigration together with the skill sets of the migrants required in the workforce.


Contractors working abroad are highly likely to be affected and should be concerned with the weakening value of the pound against the Euro. If you live in the UK, have property here and regard it as your “home” you are likely to be sterling functional. That means it’s your main currency even if it’s not the one you are currently paid in.


Sterling exchange rates are determined by other factors too and the possible downside of a Brexit on the pound is already reflected in the exchange rate. The comforting reality is that on a commercial level skills follow demand whether that’s in the UK, EU or the rest of the world. We are a flexible and mobile workforce and if your skills make you a valuable knowledge worker sought out for key skills and expertise then the forces of supply and demand will work in your favour.



There can be no economic certainty until after the vote on the 23 June. No one really knows how the vote will go or what will happen afterwards. What is currently happening is that “exit poll predictions” are being made to stay or go on a daily basis and the “breaking news” affects the financial markets. This week the Brexit team have gained ground making exit seem closer. As a consequence the pound has fallen and share markets remain very volatile. How the non EU world reacts is largely already reflected in the stock markets and both Sterling and Euro exchange rates are bouncing this way and that. Most of the FTSE 100 (the Uk’s biggest public companies) enjoy global revenues so are protected against these “local” shifts. It’s not all doom and gloom for UK contractors.


What is definitely the case is the lead up to the vote has affected the contracting market as many companies are adopting a wait and see approach to decision making, which should come to a quick end after 23 June.


So, are contractors likely to be better or worse off in a UK outside of the EU? Or will it take a couple of years before any difference can be measured? The eventual outcome cannot be treated lightly as it will affect this and future generations. It is perhaps the most important decision many of us will ever take. Contractors and freelancers are known for their maverick spirits and a willingness to not take the easy path. Consider as much of the information you can digest and then allow your head and your heart to guide you. The UK, the EU and the world all need talented people no matter which club they might belong to.


Intouch believe the UK contracting market is strong, flexible and mobile and fully support the needs of contractors from both the UK and the rest of the world. We don’t believe we should have an opinion on what is best for the individual. That’s a decision for each to take on their own. But whatever happens we will continue to monitor how markets, trade, financial matters and taxation are affected and guide our clients accordingly.


This blog has been prepared by Intouch Accounting. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this blog has been obtained from reliable sources, Intouch is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. This blog should not be used as a substitute for consultation with professional accounting advisers. If you have any specific queries, please contact Intouch Accounting.