Celebrating National Freelancers Day!

Intouch celebrate National Freelancers Day with IPSE

We’d like to wish the UK’s freelancing and contracting community a very happy National Freelancers Day! Today is all about celebrating the contribution you and your colleagues make to the UK’s economy and recognising your talents and professionalism through the leading body for independently employed professionals – IPSE.

 

This year’s event sees a new format as the day has been redesigned and extended to give practical advice on how to be on top of your game. With a day full of interactive workshops, seminars, networking, advice sessions and the IPSE-QA Freelancer Awards for the UK’s best independent minds, IPSE is making the event at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden the one to attend for those looking to further their self employed success. And the icing on the cake is that the event is free of charge!

 

#NoFreeWork

This year’s event focuses around the concept that contractors and freelancers should say no to completing any work free of charge. It’s a subject which we also feel strongly about, as your time is precious and should never be taken for granted. For tips on how to ensure you get what you need and want from your contracts, check out our latest blog as shared with Women in Technology. We’ve also recently blogged about tips for preventing late payments from clients and what action you can take when payments are late.

 

Who are IPSE?

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) currently represents over 67,000 contractors, freelancers and consultants from every professional sector of the economy. Run and owned by its members, IPSE is a non profit organisation, whose main purpose is to educate and empower its members.

 

With a wealth of knowledge, professional advice and support, IPSE is the EU’s largest association for the self employed.

 

How can IPSE help you?

IPSE offer two membership packages that many contractors and freelancers consider an essential must-have to complement their career. Find out more details and take advantage of a 10% discount for a new IPSE membership.

 

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.

Intouch delighted to launch our strategic partnership with IPSE

Intouch and IPSE join forces in new strategic partnership

We’re delighted to announce the launch of our strategic partnership with IPSE –  the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed. IPSE is the largest membership body supporting contractors, freelancers and independent professionals. Their goal is to enable you to succeed in business.

 

Previously an affiliate of IPSE, we have now stepped up to become one of the first selected strategic accountancy partners approved by IPSE in this, their first ever partner programme.

 

Michelle Lane, IPSE’s Head of Commercial Development, said we’re delighted to welcome Intouch Accounting as a strategic partner.

 

Intouch have a strong reputation in the marketplace for offering high quality accountancy services to contractors. Their all inclusive service means their clients don’t need to worry about being charged extra for things they need to run their Limited Company smoothly.’

 

Paul Gough, Managing Director of Intouch Accounting, said ‘this is a fantastic opportunity for our two organisations to collaborate more closely on the things that really matter to contractors and freelancers.

 

At Intouch, we are pleased to recommend IPSE membership to our clients and we recognise the vital support and benefits they offer this highly valuable market. I look forward to an exciting year championing the cause of the UK’s contractor market.’

 

As well as providing our clients with everything they need to run their Limited Company smoothly and efficiently, we always keep a keen eye on other suppliers that we feel our clients should know about, so they have quick access to the best advisers and resources.

 

We are proud to be one of the first to work with IPSE in this relationship and look forward to working closely together throughout the year.

 

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.

Budget changes: IT contractor worries in 2016

Budget changes amongst top worries for IT contractors in 2016

 

With the 2016 budget just around the corner, we look at the key concerns of the IT contractor sector and the challenges that the new budget may pose.

 

When we talk about contracting, people often think about IT contractors first. This is in part due to the historical demand for contractors in the IT industry, who often amass a huge breadth of experience by working for lots of different clients.

 

Research by IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, shows a 71% increase, over the past seven years, in the number of independent professionals working in Information Technology and Communications.

 

This steep rise in interest is likely to be thanks in part to the lucrative contracts often enjoyed by IT professionals, who tend to receive financial benefits beyond what their permanently employed counterparts receive.

 

Nevertheless, even the IT sector faces challenges ahead in 2016. According to CUK, demand for temporary technology workers has slowed over the last two years. However the market for freelance IT skills as well as hourly pay rates are still growing.

 

Another area of opportunity for the IT industry in 2016 is to promote itself more to women. In a previous article on women in contracting that I wrote for IPSE, I discussed how the IT industry is taking steps to attract more women to IT roles and to get more school age girls interested in coding.

 

The inaugural Women in IT Awards launched in London last year with the aim of celebrating the outstanding innovation achieved by women in the IT industry. Despite all this, more still needs to be done to remove the existing boy’s club reputation of the IT industry.

 

In an article on recruitment website Uniting Ambition, recruiter Tina Bicknell says it’s difficult sourcing women for programming roles and that this is a genuine issue for the sector. In her article, Tina believes women are drawn to management rather than coding – a product of industry stereotyping.

 

State of the IT Nation

So how are such IT professionals feeling about the state of the industry and contracting in general? We wanted to find out so, in December, Intouch carried out a survey – including both permanent employees and contractors – to get a better picture of the IT landscape.

 

Looking ahead to 2016, those polled who are already contracting or freelancing said the 2016 Budget, proposed changes to travel and subsistence (T&S) and the negative impact on take home pay were their top worries, each with 16% of the votes.

 

Many of our respondents had completed the survey prior to the publication of the draft Finance Bill, released on 9th December. Those who are Umbrella workers now know for certain that they will lose tax relief on T&S expense claims in April this year – a huge blow to them.

 

Those operating their own Limited Company breathed a huge sigh of relief as it was confirmed that if they are truly independent and are not “disguised employees” (outside IR35) they can still claim tax relief on T&S after April 2016.

 

These hot talking points were closely followed by changes to dividends, which was the main worry for 15% of temporary IT workers.

 

They are right to be concerned as Limited Companies have not escaped entirely unscathed by recent tax changes. From April 2016 the way dividends are taxed is changing to increase the amount of tax paid, although the first £5,000 of dividends will be tax free. Overall, post April 2016, most Limited Company workers remain financially advantaged over Umbrella company employees.

 

IR35 is another key worry for 13% of contractors. The proposed changes to IR35 (Intermediaries Legislation) is something I have discussed at length in a previous blog and although no announcements were made in the Autumn Statement it’s unlikely this debate is over.

 

Understanding the ins and outs of IR35 is certainly a complex issue. My advice to anyone who is concerned about the proposed reforms or their compliancy position is to speak to a contractor accountant to find out where you stand.

 

Another subject I have frequently discussed on the blog since the 2015 Budget was announced is the proposed changes to supervision, direction or control. This is a worry for 12% of IT contractors and freelancers.

 

The thought of HMRC investigations is keeping another 12% of IT professionals up at night. This is a worry we are well aware of at Intouch, which is why we now include professional fee protection cover in our all-inclusive monthly services – it means our clients are covered if HMRC raise an enquiry into their tax affairs or challenge their IR35 status.

 

Some of the IT professionals we spoke to are not currently contracting, although over half (56%) have done so previously. Of those we spoke to in permanent employment, nearly two thirds (60%), would not consider contracting in 2016, whilst one in five (20%) are very likely to take the plunge.

 

The number one concern preventing 29% of employed IT professionals from contracting is the perceived fear of leaving the ‘safety’ of permanent employment. This is followed by personal worries for 22% of employed respondents, such as family commitments, personal finances and keeping on top of mortgage repayments.

 

When speaking to IT contractors and freelancers about their trading model, over two thirds (69%) are using a Limited Company – a significant majority. Of the remainder, 17% are using an Umbrella Company and 11% are classed as self-employed, either as a Sole Trader or partnership.

 

Reasons for going Limited include having greater control and independence, tax efficiency and being able to operate as a small family company. Those operating through an Umbrella company said flexibility and low cost when not working were the main appeals. For the self-employed (Sole Trader / partnership), being able to spend more time at home with their children was a major benefit.

 

If you are unsure which trading model to use, our popular guide Limited Company or Umbrella – which is the right choice for you? explores the different trading models available to you and which is best for your circumstances.

 

When it comes to managing their finances, 44% of IT contractors and freelancers use a specialist accountant. Nearly a third (31%) are using a high street accountant and 13% are doing their accounts themselves. The survey also shows 6% of people are using online accountancy software to do their accounts.

 

Whether you’re an employed IT professional considering a move to contracting or a seasoned temporary worker looking to maximise your earnings, our team of expert contractor accountants can help you work out what trading model is best for your circumstances. Speak to us today on 01202 375562 or email enquiries@intouchaccounting.com

 

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.

Intouch teams up with IPSE to offer membership discount to clients

Intouch teams up with IPSE to offer membership discount to clients

Intouch Accounting is delighted to announce that from today, any client who starts a new membership with IPSE can benefit from a 10% discount, year on year.

 

Who is IPSE?

IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, is the largest membership body supporting contractors, freelancers and independent professionals. Their goal is to enable you to succeed in business.

 

IPSE membership

IPSE offers Standard and Plus memberships and now, with Intouch, you can get a 10% discount when you sign up for a new membership. You can pay through a monthly direct debit or a one off annual payment, it’s up to you, and the discount will apply for a long as you’re an IPSE member. As a member you will have access to a whole range of benefits to help protect and defend your business as well as discounts to help you save hundreds of pounds a year.

 

Don’t forget, you can claim membership costs as a business expense. Speak to your contractor accountant about how to do this.

 

A bit more detail

IPSE membership offers you peace of mind and money in your pocket so you can focus on running your business without worry. Highlights of what you’ll get include:

 

  • IPSE protect to help you out when you need extra support
  • thousands of consumer discounts on items such as Apple products, Dell and HP hardware, software, gym memberships, and cash back in many high street stores
  • IPSE representation as they lobby government and across industry to ensure contractors’ voices are heard
  • help planning for your future as well as negotiated rates for pensions, life assurance and private medical insurance
  • IPSE library so you can access all the resources you need
  • access to events, webinars, workhubs, online training and, if you’re a Plus member, 24/7 access to virtual Ashridge providing a wide range of online business resources to learn new skills and improve existing ones.

 

You can find out more about what you’ll get for your membership here, including a quick link to get you on your way to signing up or speak to a specialist membership advisor by calling 0208 8979970 or email intouch@ipse.co.uk.

 

Join IPSE today and take advantage of the 10% discount straight away.

 

What else?

If you’re already an Intouch client, once you’ve signed up for your IPSE membership, don’t forget to refer a friend and we’ll send you £150 Amazon vouchers if they sign up with us. Recommend another and we’ll do the same again! And again and again!

 

If you’re not already with Intouch, this is another great reason to speak to us today about joining. Give us a call on 01202 069 551 or email us and we’ll get back to you at a time to suit you!

 

* excludes renewals or upgrades to existing memberships

 

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.