Good news for contractors with children: tax-free childcare has (almost) arrived

Back in 2013 the Government announced a new tax break for working parents, providing help with paying for much needed childcare.

 

In this blog we take a look at what the scheme entails, how you can take advantage of the scheme, and when it becomes available.

 

What is the Tax-Free Childcare Scheme?

Effectively, the scheme allows parents to pay into an online account in the same way as they would pay into a regular bank account. The Government also pays into this account, which is then used to pay for part or all of your child’s care costs.

 

Who can apply for the scheme?

Anyone can apply, as long as:

  • your child is aged 12 and under (or if your child has a disability, 17 and under)
  • you and your partner are in employment, and expected to both earn a minimum of £115 per week (but no more than £100,000 per year)
  • This scheme is also available to self-employed parents, who will not have to earn the same minimum amount as those who are in permanent employment

 

How does it work?

  • For every 80p paid into the account, the Government will pay in 20p
  • There’s a limit of £2,000 per child, per year (£4,000 per child, per year for disabled children) for parents receiving support towards their childcare costs
  • Anyone is able to pay into the scheme, so if you have a generous grandparent, godparent or friend, they too can contribute!
  • The money collected can only be used to pay for childcare that’s provided by a carer who is registered to receive a Tax-Free Childcare payment. Check whether your current childcare provider is registered here
  • You cannot qualify for this scheme if you currently receive childcare vouchers from your employer or if you already receive free or subsidised childcare
  • You will lose the Government’s contribution if you draw the money out rather than using it for childcare

 

When does it become available?

For some parents it will be available from Spring 2017, but others will have to wait until much later in the year as the scheme is being rolled out gradually. Those parents with the youngest children will be first in line to try it out.

 

How can you register your interest?

Register at gov.uk to ensure you’re on the Government’s radar for this scheme. You will receive an email that will let you know when you’re able to start an account.

 

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.

Be your own boss this New Year, with our steps on taking the leap from humdrum permanent to self-employed success

Be your own boss in 2017

As we all settle back into our usual working routines, the Christmas break seems nothing more than a distant pleasant memory. How many of you started the year by deciding that 2017 would be the year you’d become your own boss?

 

It’s not uncommon to be full of determination when New Year Resolutions are made, but after a week of being back in the routine, maybe looking after children, and getting on with your day-to-day responsibilities, your dreams of solo greatness can easily flitter away….

 

So what can you do about it?

Intouch are here to save your resolution! We appreciate how life can get in the way of taking the leap, so this blog is here to show you how easy it is to take small steps towards reaching your goal in 2017.

 

Step 1 – Consider your professional worth

Wouldn’t it be great if you could continue with your career, but work when you want, for who you want, whilst charging a day rate of your choice (within reason of course!). Contracting allows you to do just that. Handsome day rates that traditionally outweigh those you’d expect in permanent employment are just some of the bonuses, so you owe it to yourself to see just how much you could be earning doing your current role, but for a whole range of clients instead of just one.

 

Take a look at a few different contractor job sites to see what types of going rates are currently being offered for your level of experience and qualifications. This should inspire you with what your dream could look like financially.

 

Step 2 – Understand what the market is asking for

Are you professionally in demand? Hopefully from your research in step one, you’ll have gotten a ‘feel’ for what people are currently recruiting for, and whether you’ve got the goods.

 

If the answer is ‘no’ but you’re not far off, don’t let this deter you. Consider updating your skills to match what’s required, and whether your professional presence would make you employable. Step three explores this in greater detail…

 

Step 3 – Get your self-promotion up to scratch

If you came across your own CV, LinkedIn profile or business website, would you hire you? When in permanent employment, updating these areas usually falls by the wayside as you may not be actively on the lookout for new work in the same way as if you were freelancing or contracting.

 

Ensure you get these areas updated, and keep them that way. Be sure to advertise any skills you’re currently updating, the types of work you’d be interested in, and possible availability. If you have any personal side projects you’ve also been working on, be sure to showcase them. They’re your platforms so don’t be afraid to show off professionally.

 

Step 4 – Try a bit on the side

If you’re not quite ready to take the full leap into contracting, why not dip your toe with some extra work in the evening or weekend? Start off small, maybe a short-term contract with a client you’ve previously worked for. They will already be confident about your calibre of work and you’ll probably be more comfortable with them too.

 

When you near completion with your first contract, consider how it went. Did you look forward to getting home from your permanent role when you could complete more of it? If this sounds like you, then you know the contractor’s life is for you.

 

Step 5 – Seek professional advice

Traditionally when people think of being self-employed, they think it means you’re totally alone to try and make the best of it. For contractors, this couldn’t be further from the truth!

 

With the support and professional guidance of a contractor accountant such as Intouch Accounting, you’ll know exactly how to make the most of your contractor income to ensure you’re maximising your take home pay. Not only that, we’re able to advise you on all aspects of contracting from an accounting point of view, to ensure you’re getting the most from your Limited Company.

 

Intouch are here to answer all of your questions

Whether you’re ready to take the leap into contracting and need advice on setting up your Limited Company, or are in the very first stages and need to talk to a professional about your options, our team of expert advisers are here to answer all of your questions. Get in touch today!

 

If you’d like to keep reading, take a look at our top New Year Resolutions for the ultimate contracting success in 2017. Download them for free now.

 

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.

Increase your productivity and make the most from 2017 with our top eight tips – part two

Make the most from 2017

In our last blog we reviewed the first four of eight top tips for increasing your productivity this New Year. From making the use of early morning peace and quiet to brain superfoods, we covered some fantastic ways in which you can make small changes that will have a positive effect on your productivity.

 

In this blog we take a look at the remaining four top tips, on how to win at your contracting productivity in 2017.

 

5. Task management

What do you need to achieve this week and today? Each week create three lists:

 

  • What needs to be done this week?
  • Which days do each task need to be completed by?
  • At which point in each day do the tasks need to be completed?

 

Not only will you structure each day to ensure maximum productivity, it’ll also keep you focused on the task at hand. You could take this a step further, by sharing your weekly plan with your client.  They will then know when to expect updates and completed work from you. It’s a win for both you and them!

 

6. Switch off sometimes 

How many times has a bolt of inspirational lightening hit you, right when you’re in the middle of completing the most mundane task?

 

By letting your mind rest and switch off from your day-to-day hustle and bustle, you’ll allow yourself to develop potential business ideas and areas for growth and development. Just make sure you have a pen and paper to hand!

 

7. Healthy body, healthy mind

The two are certainly connected, so ensure you look after your body just as much as you do your mind. The three ways to achieve this are:

 

Sleep – get the recommended seven to nine hours a night to ensure optimal functionality the following day.

Eat – you are what you eat, so ensure you put in what you want to get out.

Exercise – whether it’s 20 minutes of pilates, a short jog or even a class at your local sports centre, whatever you enjoy doing ensure you get moving.

 

8. It’s ok to say ‘no’

If you’re used to saying yes to everyone and everything, this can be a tough tip to master. Your professional working day is just that, yours, so ensure you don’t make room for anyone else during those hours where you need to focus.

 

Every task you let slip into your working day must take the place of one you’ve already allocated time to, so ensure you leave it until your ‘to-do’ list for that day is completed.

 

The same can be said for accepting every contract offer that comes your way, especially when you’re just starting out. Ask yourself which contracts and clients will help you achieve your professional goals (whatever these may be) the quickest, and then focus on those. Remember though to stay in touch with those you don’t accept straight away, as you never know when you may need them, or the opportunities they could go on to offer.

 

Take the Intouch New Year challenge!

How many of our top eight tips can you adopt into your new working year? Why not keep a rough record of how much time you save and let us know? We’d love to hear how much time you’ve been able to give to your own personal pursuits and whether they’ve helped you stay focused on the task at hand.

 

This January we’ve also created five nifty Contractor specific New Year’s Resolutions, to help you start your year off on the right foot. Check them out today and see how you could make the most from your contracting or freelancing career this New 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.

Increase your productivity this New Year with our top eight tips – part one

Increase your productivity in 2017

Ever find yourself wishing there were more hours in the day? Would you like more time to work on a personal project, pursue your latest hobby, or even just spend time with loved ones? Whatever it may be, we all wish there was more time for it.

 

So if you need to achieve more in your working day to help free up more precious after hours time, then this is the blog for you. After all, we all get 24 hours in our day – it’s what we do with them that counts. In the first of two blogs we look at the first four tricks you can adopt this New Year to improve your time management and productivity.

 

1. Use technology to your advantage

Technology is a fantastic aid when running your own business as you can hunt for contracts, manage your social media accounts, and work on your current contract all at once. But whilst this can mean achieving three things at once, it also means your concentration is split three ways…

 

If you’re easily distracted, ensure you switch off any notifications which may pop up when working. Only check your notifications during set breaks, so that your concentration doesn’t stray. Not only will it mean your focus remains sharp, you’ll also achieve set timed tasks throughout your working day.

 

2. The early bird catches the worm

Many professionals credit early starts as the key to their success, as it ensures they make the most from their day. So how can it benefit you?

 

Peace and quiet – You’re up before anyone else, allowing you to create your ideal work environment before it naturally changes as others start their day. Use those first couple of hours to your advantage, knowing you can end your day sooner than those who haven’t started until 9am.

 

Time for food – There’s no fire without fuel, so by getting up earlier you’ll have more time to have a proper breakfast before you start your day.

 

Perspective on the day ahead – By getting up earlier you’ll have time to take a step back and plan how you want your day to pan out. Instead of screeching into your client’s office two minutes before you’re supposed to start, or impatiently waiting for your laptop to spring into life from home, you’ll have the luxury of starting work calmly, knowing how you’re going to tackle your day’s tasks.

 

3. Structure your day in blocks

We all have different tolerances when it comes to how long we can perform a particular task before we need a break. So consider your typical working day and how long you can usually keep focus and productivity before you need to take a break.

 

Working through lunch, not allowing your eyes to rest from a screen (including your smartphone), or even keeping your mind running on work through breaks all lead to a reduction in productivity and can contribute to increased levels of work related stress.

 

Consider your day and when you need regular breaks, and which tasks can be completed during those times. Tackle the most challenging tasks first, allowing your mind an easy afternoon with the least taxing.

 

4. Take breaks when you need them

Whether it’s getting some fresh air, tuning into your favourite radio station, calling a friend or even doing some meditation, always take breaks as and when you need them.

 

Your productivity and professional attitude will thank you at the end of the day.

 

Final thoughts…for now!

We will be publishing our next four top New Year productivity tips shortly, so keep an eye out on our social media channels, to be the first to check them out.

 

Do you have any tips of your own? Share them with us! We’d love to hear how you conquer the world of time and productivity management whilst winning at contracting.

 

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 ten stages of CV rejection grief

CV rejection grief

Pitching for business is a big part of being a successful Limited Company contractor, after all it’s how you bag those clients and all important contracts. But here at Intouch we like to mix it up a little bit, and see the humour in what it’s really like to work for yourself.

 

So please, sit back, enjoy, and take our blog on the ten stages of CV rejection with a very big pinch of salt. After all, we’re sure everyone can all identify with at least one of these stages!

 

1. Denial

There’s no way your potential client would have said ‘no’ to hiring you. Maybe they’ve lost your CV, or maybe mistaken you for someone else?

 

You hold out in hope that they’ve made a terrible mistake, and are soon to rectify this unexplainable situation with an offer and extravagant apology…

 

2. Obsession

You refresh your email inbox so many times that you develop an email obsession.

 

With your Apple watch buzzing every five minutes and your phone flashing at you demanding your attention, it’s tough not to take a peek (even if it is spam).

 

3. Paranoia

You start to wonder if the client has been struck by lightning, kidnapped, or worse – lost their internet connection. You begin to worry about their wellbeing, even though you’ve never met them.

 

Trawling their personal Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts has become a daily occurrence, in the quest for signs of life.

 

4. Disbelief

Wait a minute! The client has just shared a hilarious cat video, clearly demonstrating both vital life signs and successful internet usage. In your overly excited euphoric state, you must resist the urge to like, share or comment on the post.

 

But before you hit that ‘post’ button, remember! Social stalking is creepy, so resist the urge…

 

5. Envy

A contracting colleague posts a recent project with accompanying glowing testimonial from said client you’re trying to impress. You instantly delete all forms of contact with your colleague and deny all knowledge of ever knowing them.

 

What about the unwritten code of contractor brother / sisterhood, how could they?

 

6. Anger

You see other contractors’ work which they’ve completed for said client, and know you could do a better job.

 

Anger takes over and you begin to question whether the client has undergone a recent lobotomy.

 

7. Contradiction….whatever

Actually, the client doesn’t deserve you or your skills, and by not getting back to you they’ve done you a massive favour.

 

You didn’t want to work for them anyways…..(silently scowls).

 

8. Bargaining

After much deliberation and soul searching, you realise that it might have been your fault.

 

You re-read the job specification and the response you gave, checking whether every word articulated your skills and professionalism as you had hoped.

 

Maybe it was your latest LinkedIn photo that put them off? One of your mates told you it was a great photo, but recent events have left you questioning your friendship…

 

9. Depression

That’s it, you’re never approaching another client for work ever again.

 

You start to google ‘professional cat trainer’ as that was your dream career as a child. There must be a demand for it somewhere…

 

10. Acceptance

You’ll never win every contract you apply for, and the sooner you realise this the sooner you can stop beating yourself up over it.

 

Maybe you’re too qualified, or not qualified enough, or maybe the client has moved the goalposts since you applied. Whatever the circumstances, you’ve chosen a career in contracting for a reason, so don’t ever let rejection stop you from doing what you do best – being the contracting superstar that you are!

 

Got a funny contracting emotion you’ve experienced? Share them with us! We’d love to read them.

 

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.

5 steps to take when defusing an unhappy client

Defusing an unhappy client

Quite possibly one of the worst parts of contracting or freelancing is when you’ve put your best into a contract, only for the client to be upset or dissatisfied with your work. Clearly at some point something has gone wrong and, whilst it may not be you that caused it, you’re left to pick up the pieces and salvage what’s left of the working relationship.

 

Hopefully you’ll never need this blog, but should you ever find yourself in this situation we’ve devised 5 steps to take, to help turn the situation around.

 

Step 1 – Keep calm and carry on

A tough step to begin with, especially when your talent and professionalism is being questioned, but one which you must start negotiations off with. Remember that as soon as you lose your temper you’ve also lost your ability to argue your case, so keep a level head when discussing the issue with your client.

 

Let them tell you how they’re feeling and take notes, as this will help you to understand what the issue is and how to prevent it from happening in the future. By remaining neutral during this time you’ll also be demonstrating to your client that you’re willing to hear their side of the story, that you’re able to listen, and that you’ve remained professional throughout.

 

Step 2 – What’s the problem?

Whatever the issue is, you must get to the root of why they are unhappy. In this industry reputations precede contractors, therefore if you wish to continue contracting in the future you must make amends with your current client before moving on. After all, you never know who they may know or what influence they could have on you in future.

 

At some point during the contract your expectations did not meet theirs, so ensure you identify when and why this happened, and who the blame lies with.

 

Step 3 – Is there a solution?

If you have fulfilled your side of the contract exactly as requested and have no reason to offer a solution, then you must let the client know this at this stage.

 

If you have made a mistake, as we all do from time to time, apologise and offer a solution. Whatever this may be (rectifying the issue or maybe offering a refund) consider what value the client holds to you professionally, your reputation and whether doing extra work is worth it in the end.

 

Step 4 – Find out what they’re thinking

If you do rectify the issue, ensure you ask your client whether you have satisfied their expectations as soon as you have completed the work.

 

We’re not suggesting you grovel to your client, but once they believe the contract has been completed it’s never a bad idea to apologise once more. After all, you’ve admitted your mistakes, rectified the issue and then apologised – there’s not much else you could have done!

 

Step 5 – Learn from the experience

Now that the issue is in the past, it’s time to consider what’s happened, what it has taught you and how to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

 

Even clients can get it wrong sometimes (although we doubt they’re more forthcoming when admitting their faults!) so it’s worth taking a step back to see how this experience has made you a better Limited Company contractor. After all, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

 

Have you dealt with an unhappy client before?

If the answer is ‘yes’, what tips do you have that helped defuse the situation? Share them with us, your contracting colleagues will thank you, especially if they ever have to use one!

 

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.

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

Humblebragging

Humblebragging

 

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.

 

One-upmanship

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.

 

Remember!

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.