Choose the best for you – go Limited
Choosing what’s right for you
The possibilities of contracting are truly endless, as you are the master of your own destiny. But how do you know what your choices are and how to make the right ones, to ensure you get the most and best from contracting?
Which type of professional are you?
If you can identify with any of the following, then this ebrief is for you:
- A permanent employee who wants to earn more for their skills through contracting
- An Umbrella contractor who wants more from contracting
- A Limited Company contractor unsure if your service provider is putting your best interests first
This ebrief looks at the ways in which you, as a contractor can make the right decisions, to make the most from the opportunities that are available to you.
No accounting jargon, confusing scenarios or tough decisions – just simplicity and clarity on what it means to contract through your own Limited Company. We want you to choose the right options for you, so that you have the professional career you’ve always dreamt of.
Who are Intouch Accounting?
Limited Company contractor accounts is all we do, and we do it all – from good advice about tax and IR35 contract risk assessments to easy online accounts management.
So you can relax and spend more time doing the stuff you love.
Why not speak to one of our expert advisers about what we can do for you?
Call 01202 901 385
Choose maximum take home pay
One of the key reasons why professionals choose a career in contracting is the increase in earnings. If you earn over £130 per day (£30,000 per annum) then you can keep more of your pay by contracting through your own Limited Company.
But how can you ensure you’re maximising your take home pay? It’s usually at the top of most contractor’s priority list, as getting the most from your earnings is key to your success.
Here we look at the effect of key areas on a contractor’s overall take home pay, comparing contracting through an Umbrella versus your own Limited Company.
Limited Company contractors’ range of claimable business expenses is greater than those available to Umbrella workers. So any items which are incurred wholly and exclusively for the purpose of the business are claimable.
Umbrella contractor’s range of claimable expenses are far less than those of Limited Company contractors and should you wish to claim tax relief on expenses, you will need to do so by completing a Self Assessment Tax Return. So if think you’ll rely heavily on expenses or feel like you’re already missing out, then it’s time to consider going Limited.
Whilst a Limited Company contractor will often pay fees for an accountant, insurance and other services they require, it is completely up to them who they engage plus, the benefits gained through enlisting these quickly outweighs the costs.
Umbrella contractors’ pay is only passed over to them once the Umbrella company has deducted the associated fees. So the Umbrella worker has no control over how much they pay and to whom.
Many contractor accountants charge a monthly fee, but not all will include everything you need to run your company. Take a look at our comprehensive monthly service.
Limited Company contractors are able to determine how much of their total earnings they wish to take as salary, which will be subject to income tax and National Insurance (under PAYE). They can also control the timing and therefore the effective rate of their other income tax liabilities if they decide to pay dividends to supplement their income.
Dividend income is taxed at different rates, depending on any other income in the tax year. Use our free calculator to quickly calculate how much tax you’ll be liable to pay on your dividends in this tax year.
As your own boss, you’ll have total freedom and control over your business decisions and finances – right? Wrong! In this section we take a look at the levels of control you can expect from the different contracting trading models and why the choice you make can have a huge overall effect.
Using an Umbrella means you lose the freedom of making your own financial decisions on your earnings, as these are all made for you by the Umbrella company. It also means that you are reliant on the Umbrella to collect payment, which could potentially result in delays. Ask yourself, are you happy with this reduced level of control over your career?
Limited Company contractor
As a Limited Company contractor, you’ll have full control of all financial decisions and how your company is run. Usually with the professional aid of an expert contractor accountant, a Limited Company contractor is able to make the right professional decisions for the business, for both now and for the future.
It’s common for Limited Company contractors to enlist the services of an expert contractor accountant, to guide them and ensure they remain compliant. If this is what you’re looking for, then it’s time to consider using a contractor accountant.
Set up your Limited Company today
Contact Intouch and our experts will help you set up your Limited Company within 24 hours… and for FREE!
Call 01202 901 385
Choose your professional image
Image is everything in business. The way you present yourself can mean winning contracts and repeat business from clients. But what if your professional image carried connotations which you had no control over?
Being the director of a Limited Company carries a certain weight in the business community and gives the overall impression of being professional, competent and serious about your contracting career. As being a director of a Limited Company has certain legal responsibilities and obligations, it may raise your overall social standing. The fact that your accounts are available as a public record also means that the financial status of your business is easily verifiable. These factors can open doors for you and help you in securing contracting work. Many agencies and some organisations will only engage contractors who operate through a Limited Company, with the security their structure brings. Increasing government and Union pressure on the use of Umbrella companies, along with the reluctance of agencies to use Sole Traders, means that the Limited Company option is becoming increasingly attractive, especially to long-term contractors.
Umbrella companies are generally perceived as an interim solution for newer or short-term contractors. This can be fine if you are only planning to contract temporarily or earn less than approximately £15 per hour. However, if you are intending to establish yourself in the contracting world for the long-term, particularly if you are working for larger companies and governmental organisations, it’s worth considering alternatives.
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As you are in charge of promoting yourself, there are a few simple but essential things you should be doing to put your best foot forward…
Online, in person, through agencies…make sure you link up with the right people who can help you find future contracts and keep you in touch with the latest trends. LinkedIn should be your first priority but there’s a lot to be said for good old fashioned face-to-face networking. You never know where that next project will come from and it might be that sometimes, you can connect a past client with another contractor you know who has the skills you don’t – it all helps build your professional reputation.
Take advantage of the technology at your fingertips
There are a number of Apps at your disposal to help you stay organised. Whether for managing your time, keeping track of your invoices, securely storing information or accessing documents while you’re on the move, there is so much that is available for free.
Make sure you’re in the know
As well as essential networking, it’s important you keep on top of your industry and sector to make sure you are at the top of your game…and charging the right rate for your skills
When you go it alone you need to tap into your personal motivation and keep going, even when you really don’t feel like it! If at all possible, make sure you have a designated work space at home so you can focus on the task at hand. It also helps to separate work and home life as it’s important to get the right balance for you. If contracting means you do spend a lot of time working from home then be sure to keep in touch with relevant communities so you don’t become too isolated!
It’s free, easy to do (many of the common platforms are pretty intuitive to use) and so many of the people you want to reach are already there! If you’re just getting started on social media – and you really should to get the best chances in contracting – then it’s sensible to:
- Ensure your profiles are complete for each platform you use
- Focus on which platforms will serve you best. LinkedIn is the obvious choice but stick to a select few other platforms rather than spreading yourself too thinly!
- See how others do it and adopt their best practice to make your chosen platforms work for you
- Don’t mix professional and private – think about how you present yourself online as future clients are likely to do their research about you
- Mix it up and contribute to other’s posts as well as starting your own. Try and add value without being tempted to comment just for the sake of it! Sometimes less is more!
Choose the right contractor accountant
Being Limited is a fantastic option for those who see contracting as a long-term option and are earning enough to see the benefits from tax relief.
So, if you are looking to start up as a contractor for the first time, or you’re simply tired of your current accountant not delivering on their promises or failing to keep you informed of changes in legislation and opportunities to make more from your company, it’s time to look elsewhere.
It’s an important time to consider your options and choose the right contractor accountant for you. You don’t want to realise you’ve made the wrong choice, when you’re facing a hefty fine for filing late or you find your accounts have been inadequately prepared.
So, know your options and follow these seven easy steps to choosing the right contractor accountant for you:
Help getting started
It is almost always advisable to hire an accountant before you start contracting. Dealing with numbers, VAT and payroll issues is probably not your primary job as a contractor and it’s therefore not necessarily part of your expertise. So choose a specialist to do this for you.
If you’re not yet Limited, most can set up a company for you, and register you and your company with the tax authorities. If you’re already Limited, they can swap you over to their books usually with little input from you.
They’ll also deal with the financial issues and paperwork on your behalf…leaving you with more time to focus on winning work and doing what makes you a success.
First timers – best placed for you?
As a first time contractor, a professional adviser will identify the issues that should be considered from the outset.
A very common question raised by all those new to contracting is “how long will it take to get my new company up and running?” Your accountant should not only be able to give you an idea on timescales, but also the order in which things are usually done.
Easy to change accountants
Are you not happy with your current accountant, service provider or Umbrella company? Is it time to move on, but it all seems too hard? If you choose the right accountant to move to, the process really should be hassle-free and it shouldn’t disadvantage you in any way.
Choose a contractor accountant that offers you a discount on catch-up fees to bring matters up to date, when you join them part way through your current accounting year. Don’t wait until after your year has ended and the new one has begun! Often the introductory offer of reduced catch up fees will not apply after the yearend, or when you wait until later on in the year. This can be a really good incentive to switching at a certain time and avoiding duplicated charges.
Help setting up a business bank account
New companies can be formed in a matter of hours, but setting up a new company bank account can take a little longer. It also takes two weeks to get the VAT flat rate scheme application through and the payroll scheme set up!
Your Limited Company must have a business bank account so don’t delay in setting one up. Many good advisers have at least one arrangement with a larger bank, to assist in speedy opening of new accounts.
Personal touch – so you’re not left out on a limb
Many online accounting software providers are just that – online! It’s really only the software you’re paying for. But wouldn’t it be nice to know that you have a dedicated personal accountant on hand who knows you and can provide advice based on your individual needs? So, make sure you look out for an accountant who can guide you through those tricky areas.
Is the accountant you’re considering appointing really a specialist in the contracting market? Can they demonstrate a substantial level of experience in dealing with contractors and freelancers?
A specialist contractor accountant will understand how you work in practice and they’ll be best placed to advise you. They’ll also be up to date with the latest industry thinking on legislation, such as IR35, and will make sure that you remain fully compliant with HMRC returns and deadlines.
Additional services – what else will I need?
Some specialist items can’t be fairly included in the monthly fee for all clients and so they will usually be treated as exceptional. Make sure, however, that your contractor accountant is able to assist with:
- tax planning strategies
- HMRC tax enquiries, and
- complex share structure implementation
This will reduce the hassle of needing to find a separate adviser for one off requirements, giving you more time to focus on being a successful contractor!
Once you’ve made the decision to set up a Limited Company you can go ahead and do it through Companies House. Or let us do it for you! Give our experts at Intouch Accounting a call and we’ll help you get set up today! You can have your own Limited Company within 24 hours and we can help you set up a business bank account, register you for VAT and PAYE and give you great pointers about sorting your business insurance. Once you’re on board as a client, you’ll benefit from unlimited exp
Choose Intouch Accounting
It’s not just what we can do for you, as a contractor or freelancer, it’s also how we do it that makes the difference.
- As a client of Intouch Accounting you can relax in the knowledge that we’ll make sure your new contractor business gets off to the right start.
- At every step of the way you’ll receive expert accountancy advice from your specialist Personal Accountant dedicated to you, combined with our own contractor specific online accountancy software designed to make your life easier.
- We’ll remind you when you need to send us information. We’ll then process this on your behalf and, once you’ve confirmed it, send it to the taxman and Companies House on your behalf.
Speak to us today about how we can help you be a contracting success.
Our experts are here to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about moving to Intouch, or whether contracting is for you in the first place!
Call 01202 069 557