Public bodies urged to use IT freelancers

When is the best time to set up an IT contracting business? This is an almost impossible question to answer, as it largely depends on your individual circumstances. But if you’ve assessed your current situation and decided that you’re ready to become a contractor, then as far as the industry is concerned, 2018 could prove to be a stellar year.

 

Research from TechMarketView, discussed in a Contractor UK article, has urged the public sector to make more use of freelance consultants this year, in a bid to address the persisting digital skills gap. The market analysis firm said that public organisations will have to think of ‘more creative ways’ to gain the skills they need, ‘including the use of public freelance marketplaces.’

 

TechMarketView acknowledged that taxpayer-funded bodies may find it difficult to conduct business efficiently ‘without looking beyond their own four walls.’ This news comes after an IR35 update last year and its ‘off-payroll rules,’ which many believe has dissuaded freelancers from providing their services to the sector.

 

‘Fled in droves’

Mike Gibson, Managing Director at Ethical Consulting, who has been petitioning against IR35, argued the above point to the government’s business department, after it published a strategy on IT provision to its staff, ‘and the people and businesses we serve.’ This strategy is, in Gibson’s words, “[beautifully] written and composed, professionally created and ultimately pointless.

Delivery will be dependent on a veritable army of flexible and temporary resource – who have fled the UK [public sector] in their droves as a result of IR35 changes in April 2017.”

 

Options available

Gibson said that for the government department to achieve its aim – which is, to ‘make the best use of digital, data and technology (DDat) in our everyday work’ – then either one of two things need to happen:

The first option is for the body to pay 22% more to PSC contractors who possess the necessary skills, to counteract the hike in tax the IR35 reforms result in. Alternatively, it must accept that DDat-related work will be carried out by ‘inside IR35’ consultants willing to take a 22% cut to their wages. But, referring to the latter, Gibson said, “I don’t see the top-drawer [DDaT] people doing that when they don’t need to.”

It will be interesting to see how the next few months pan out and if any proactive steps are taken by the sector to address the continuing IT skills shortage. In the meantime, if you’re thinking of contracting and want to know how IR35 legislation affects you, contact the experts at Intouch Accounting now…

 

Sources:

TechMarketView – Public Sector Predictions 2018 – New Research

ContractorUK – Get IT Freelancers in for 2018, public bodies told

GOV.UK – BEIS digital data and technology (DDat) strategy

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start contracting with confidence in 2018

Starting a long-term career as a contractor or freelancer in 2018 has become more attractive than during any time in the last two years. If you’re looking for independence and have a skill set that matches increasing current demand, then it’s possible to both ‘have your cake and eat it’, in 2018!

 

Clarity of employment status

The turmoil that was predicted from the middle of 2017 regarding changes to IR35 (the legislation that determines your employment status and therefore your potential tax efficiency as a contractor) has not materialised. The possibility of further IR35 change in the private sector has been deferred until the public sector changes can be reviewed and lessons learned.

Meanwhile, day rates are also stabilising as employers who sought to pass the burden of employer’s National Insurance contributions entirely onto workers are experiencing resistance.

HMRC’s employment status tool (CEST: ‘Check Employment Status for Tax’) also helps; it’s not perfect, and it’s still advisable to take professional IR35 advice, but when answered openly the questions provide a pretty accurate answer.

This increased level of clarity puts the contractor in the perfect position to grasp the opportunity, and begin to enjoy the freedoms of freelancing – all good reasons to rejoice in 2018!

 

Demand for skills 

Brexit and other Government promises to deliver on infrastructure projects and technology change, are creating huge demand for IT and related skills across the UK.

Employers are still preferring to keep employment costs under their control by engaging flexible workers, under flexible or zero-hour contracts. And anti-avoidance rules are also settling down with engagers being more pragmatic and accommodating (rather than issuing blanket edicts) in order to attract and retain talent.

All good news for the 2018 contractor.

 

Taking the leap into Limited

Are you ready to have your cake and eat it? Embrace the quality of life, freedom and flexibility of being your own boss, as well as increased take home pay?

If so, there are always choices of which trading model you should trade under. As a rule of thumb (only – there are always exceptions), you should consider the following:

Semi or low-skilled workers – If you are semi or low-skilled or provided services at or near the National Minimum Wage, then using a Limited Company is not likely to be the most suitable vehicle for a number of reasons. If you’re in this category and being put under pressure to go limited, you should take independent advice.

If you’re able to choose your preferred solution, then an Umbrella organisation should give you good advice. Beware the shady Umbrellas (pun intended) though – FCSA accreditation is a must. For others with perhaps fewer expenses that can be claimed, the best solution may well be to use a simple payroll bureau, where the fees you pay are lower and the rights you get more comprehensive.

 

Skilled or ‘Knowledge Workers’ – If you’re a ‘Knowledge Worker’ or skilled in a particular trade or profession, then a Limited Company can provide you with the best solution from several perspectives. For individuals who are independent and outside of the supervision, direction or control of the hirer, there will be advantages in your take home pay. You’ll have increased flexibility and commercial credibility, but you’ll have to protect yourself for illness or inability to work (usually through insurances). Ask for assistance from a contractor accounting professional from the beginning and get off to a good start.

 

Contracting advice from experts

If you’re thinking of setting up as a Limited Company contractor, Intouch can offer more than just an accounting service. From set-up and insurance to tax and IR35 advice, your Personal Accountant will be there to help you start your journey with confidence. We know that taking your first step into contracting is a big decision so we’re happy to chat through any questions you have even if you’re not ready to get going just yet.

 

You may also be interested in:

Venturing into contracting? Download our free guide

IR35 FAQs

Intouch current joining offers

 

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.

 

Five things you might be doing on LinkedIn to lose clients…

You could be about to lose clients and not even realise…

As a successful contractor that knows the importance of a well nurtured LinkedIn profile, you’ll no doubt be a regular when it comes to updating your information and communicating with past and prospective clients.

 

But what if your current activity was doing more harm than good? Jenny Winslow, Senior Marketing Executive at Intouch Accounting highlights the top detrimental management methods contractors are guilty of using and why you may need to adapt your strategy today!

 

1.Organisations do not want to hear your stance on politics

With Brexit, the recent change in Prime Minister and the upcoming US election, it’s hard not to have an opinion on what’s going on and how you think it will affect you. Whilst you may consider yourself to be a clairvoyant political mastermind, your LinkedIn feed is not the place to air your thoughts on what the recent developments mean for everyone.

 

Your prospective clients care about your skills, experience and dedication to your professional field – not whether you believe Mrs May is going to do a good job. So save your political views for your other social profiles, or amongst your friends.

 

2. Don’t ignore inmails

Almost everyone is guilty of ignoring direct messages, but regardless of who the person is or the reason for their message, they have still taken the time to reach out to you. So out of professional courtesy we should all respond, even if it means letting them down.

 

You never know who this person may know or the real reason for their outreach, so ensure you treat every incoming message as a possible introduction to a new organisation.

 

3. Resist selling before you show the goods

It’s always exciting when a prospective client accepts your connection request and is open to hearing about who you are and how you can benefit their organisation. But whilst it’s easy to get carried away, resist the urge to relay your professional life story to them the moment they accept your request.

 

Allow them time to look at your profile and to understand who you are and why you may be of value to them. You could even ask what they are looking for in particular so you can tailor a more focused message to them.

 

4. Remember what LinkedIn is really for

LinkedIn’s purpose is for professional self promotion, seeking new employment opportunities and general business-oriented social networking. But once in awhile a funny gif, cheeky news story or non work related item may appear in your news feed.

 

Whilst the odd ‘like’ or ‘comment’ may be harmless and a good way of showing your personality, too many actions could damage your reputation. The same can be said for reacting to anything that could be seen as inappropriate or offensive.

 

There are other social networks which are more appropriate for relaxed behaviour, so be sure to think twice before clicking that button.

 

5. It’s not all about you

Whilst your LinkedIn profile is about showcasing your skills and experience, it’s also worth remembering that it’s not all just about you.

 

Use LinkedIn to it’s full potential, by networking with potential clients, any organisations that you find interesting or would like to work for, or even other contractors. Join groups that you can contribute to and share information with. The more you appear to others as a valuable resource within your chosen field of expertise, the less you’ll have to sell yourself to prospective clients.

 

Final thoughts

LinkedIn is truly a fantastic tool and it’s hard to imagine the professional world without it. So what are you waiting for? Log into your account now and see where you can improve and who to start connecting with. Your next contract could be just around the corner…

 

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.