UK Economy Benefiting from Contractors

IPSE has recently conducted a study, exploring the UK Freelance Workforce in 2015, which reveals that the UK’s contractor workforce contributes around £109bn per year to the economy.

Most independent professionals are highly skilled and educated, a vital attribute to a thriving economy. The report states that around 30 per cent of professional contractor staff are involved in sectors such as technology and science while others are within information communication and finance.

Typically, traditional male dominated industries such as the ones described above, have drastically changed, now with 38 per cent of these contractor staff being women. The number of contractors in the industry seems to only be on the rise, meaning a more positive outlook for contractors.

A trend which supports the growth of the contracting industry, is the growing number of women contracting, with a 29 per cent increase since 2008. This has also led to a close race in the gender gap debate, with 47 per cent of contractors now women.

If you are thinking about making the move to contracting, you can speak to our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email contractoradvice@nixonwilliams.com for more information.

The NHS may help IT Contractors Develop Career Longevity

The UK’s public sector is currently seeing a surge in demand for IT contractors. The NHS in particular has a great need for contractors as it attempts to update its IT systems across the UK. Contractors seeking career development and security are now considering a variety of opportunities within the NHS.

Contractors who make the move from the private sector could be securing non-medical NHS IT contracts in the near future. Some still have reservations that the public sector cannot meet the daily rate demands, however the NHS now invests further in contractors, by offering a greater opportunity for career progression.

For the NHS, career development is key to attracting highly skilled IT contractors to the public sector, as this can also help contractors find further roles within the public sector in the future.

While most contracts are between 3 to 6 months in length, the opportunities the NHS is offering could last for as long as 12 months. This would provide contractors ample time to learn and develop new skills sets, which can also be applied across a wide variety of public sectors roles.

With new technologies being added, the NHS is becoming more reliant on IT Contractors, particularly those with web development and programming skills. This demand is great news for contractors looking for new opportunities, with prospects of securing other contracts within NHS trusts, in the future.

If you are thinking about making the move to contracting, you can speak to our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com for more information.

Recruitment Shortfall Benefits Construction Contractors

According to a new study from the REC Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), demand and daily rates for construction contractors are on the rise, as ongoing skills shortages are having a negative effect on companies,

The study from REC found that 63% of recruitment agencies reported that demand for construction contractors has risen over the past year, as they struggle to fill skills gaps across the sector. Although, 69% of companies are now stating that the shortage of skilled workers is their first or second priority risk.

REC Chief executive comments, ‘The UK is close to full employment and building firms are already struggling to find the people needed for major infrastructure projects’.

Recruiters are also echoing this view, with 59% believing that the current UK economy would intensify skills shortages.

If you are thinking of making the move to contracting, you can call our New Business Team on 01253 362062, or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com for more information.

Rising Global Demand for Security Contractors

The Harvey Nash Technology Survey for 2016 is suggesting that contractors are now in global demand with an increase in cyber security skills shortages. With a skills shortage an ongoing concern, contractors can see now shortage in terms of demand for their services.

“Never has there been a better time to be a technology professional”, comments Harvey Nash CEO Albert Ellis. “To be successful in this area requires us to balance a complex array of fast moving challenges, manage risk and work harder to outperform competitors”.

With technology at the forefront of most businesses, the biggest perceived risk for them is cyber-security with only 43 per cent of global technologists believing that their company’s are doing enough to protect themselves.

Although with these concerns, the report shows that 2015 saw a decline in the amount of firms who were hacked, down 7 per cent from 2014 to 39 per cent.

With this in mind, the survey highlights that as technology advances and becomes more complex, companies are feeling the pressure to manage the wide variety of threats, suggesting that the cyber security market will remain a popular one for IT contractors.

If you feel that now is a good time to make the move to contracting, you can speak to our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com for more information.

Contractors Weekly News 18/03/2016

In this week’s contractor news:

Contractor UK to Update Infamous IR35 Guide

Recently Contractor UK has updated their popular IR35 guide, as it is a key issue for most contractors – keeping it updated helps contractors stayinformed.

How do you Manage Multiple Clients?

Nixon Williams shares some insight on how to manage multiple clients at any one time, from getting yourself organised to learning to say no.

Contractors could Benefit from a Shared Economy

According to IPSE’s Andy Chamberlain, contractors and freelancers could in fact benefit from a shared economy.

If you feel that now is the right time to make the move to contracting, then call our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors seeing Benefit of Shared Economy

Contractors are seeing the benefits of the sharing economy

Andy Chamberlain, the Deputy Director of Policy at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE), wrote an article for TheGuardian last week - in which he explains more about what the ‘sharing economy’ actually is. Not only that, he also explains why it can be extremely usefulfor contractors and freelancers, which was of great interest to us here at Nixon Williams.

The sharing economy addresses opens up new ways for contractors to find work, via online platforms which simply didn’t exist previously. As an industry, itis predicted to be worth £9bn by 2025, and in the article Andy Chamberlain explains how contractors are taking advantage of this new way of findingbusiness. Online platforms are being used more and more, to market contractor skills and so to find and win new contracts. This ‘digital network’, as Andyrefers to it, connects contractors and clients - by enabling users to look view the profiles of available contractors, and then engage with them directly.

Also quoted in the article is Rich Pearson, Senior Vice-president of Marketing at Upwork – one of the digital networks which Andy referred to. According toRich, businesses in the UK are increasingly choosing online methods to find the skill sets they need, as he comments:

“With access to a global talent pool, they are able to find the talent they need when they need it, and as a result are bypassing local skillsshortages. At the same time, professionals are also taking advantage of online work opportunities and offering their skills and expertise to businessesaround the world.”

During 2015 there was a 30% rise in UK business spend on hiring expertise online, so it’s clear this is an ongoing trend. As Andy puts it, “The sharing economy model is increasing efficiency and lowering the costs of doing business.” – which we think pretty much sums it up!

If you feel that now is a good time to make the move to contracting, then please call our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com for further information.

Newly-updated IR35 Guide for public sector contractors published by ContractorUK

IR35 is a key issue for all contractors, so any information that they can gather to help them stay fully informed on the impact it may have is always goingto be extremely useful. So we’re pleased to let you know that ContractorUK has recently updated it’s valuable IR35 Guide.

The exclusive Guide was written by IR35 expert Kate Cottrell, and has been updated to cover the removal of the Business Entity Tests - which werepreviously a key part of the process until they were axed by HMRC last year. It explains how to comply with and navigate through the public sector ‘IR35assurance process’, focusing specifically on contractors – as opposed to the policy note which was published by the Cabinet Office in March 2015, which waswritten for those hiring contractors, and not for the contractors themselves.

This update is designed to explain exactly how the process should work without the Business Entity Tests, but aimed at contractors - using simple and‘non-jargon’ style language to outline the scope of the process and what the implications are for contractors. The new guidance goes far further than theoriginal guide, to help all contractors who are involved in roles where money from the public sector is involved.

If you feel that now is a good time to make the move to contracting, then please call our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com for further information.

Contractors Weekly News 11/03/2016

In this week’s Contractor News:

Cross sector demand driving contractor growth

With the digital technology sector growing rapidly, there is now an even broader scope for IT contractors to find new business, as more form are enhancingtheir IT operations.

Opportunity for contractors to contribute to government policy

The IPSE new policy conference in April will be attended by business leaders and policy makers, giving contractors the opportunity to address key issueswhich are facing them.

Learn some tips and tricks for contractor interviews


Nixon Williams shares some insight to help contractors along with their contractor interviews, including what to wear and how to present yourself.
 
If you feel that now is the right time to make the move to contracting, then please call our New Business Team on 01253 362062  or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

A new way to avoid the ‘loneliness’ of contracting from home

Many contractors work on client site, but there are many more who work from home and either go into the office occasionally, or sometimes not at all. Andit’s this factor which can often put people off the contracting life altogether – particularly if you are used to working in a busy and sociable office.

The concept is what is being called ‘co-working spaces’. Sounds a little American, but it’s a good description! This is basically a similar option to asmall serviced office, but just giving contractors a desk in a shared space, along with access to meeting rooms. Some also give access to private areas forcalls and so on.

The growth of this type of facility across the UK is ideal for the contractor market as an alternative to setting up a home office - but it also providesadditional benefits, such as the opportunity to meet with and work alongside like-minded people, and the ability to more easily segregate home life andwork life, if that’s what you prefer. The added benefit of included wi-fi and catering facilities can also be a huge bonus.

The benefits of co-working spaces go well beyond just separating home and work, or feeling isolated in your home office. As they also tend to be used by amix of small businesses, hot-deskers and freelancers, this also provides a huge amount of opportunity for networking - and gives contractors a real senseof community and shared experiences.

Most facilities which offer this type of service charge hourly, or offer flexible ‘memberships’ which are paid monthly. Which means you can use them asmuch as is necessary, and also test them in the short term to see if they suit you! Even if you do work on client site some of the time, if your commute isquite lengthy, and your clients is happy for you to do so, then working in a space like this for a couple of days a week and make a real difference.

To find out more, just Google ‘co-working spaces’ – there are loads to choose from, with many of the best-known services office providers now offering thistype of arrangement.

Are interested in making the move to contracting, please call our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com for further information.

Great News for Contractors in the latest REC Jobs Outlook Survey

The results of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) JobsOutlook Survey for February 2016 have just been released, and it’s good news for contractors! Demand for services continues, as clients take advantage of the economic upturn to deal with any skills gaps they have and to plan for future growth.

The survey showed that just over three quarters (77%) of respondents feel market conditions are improving, while 98% said they planned to increase, or at least maintain, the number of contractors they have over the next three months – and 95% said the same when looking at the next year.

The survey also showed that contractors are no longer just seen as a stopgap to cover for shortages in full time employees, but instead are being valued for their specialist expertise. 90% of those interviewed said that it was important for their businesses to have short term access to strategic skills - which is half as many more than two years ago, when only 60% felt this was a factor.

One last very positive finding was that companies are increasingly valuing contractors for their own merits, and not just seeing them as a way of saving money. Back in January 2014, 63% of clients said that they used contractors in this way, while today that figure stands at just 49%.

If you are interested in making the move to contracting, please call our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com for further information.

Contractors Weekly News 04/03/2016

In this week’s Contractor News:

Great news for contractors in the latest REC JobsOutlook Survey

Survey findings for February 2016 have just been released, showing that contractor clients are taking advantage of the economic upturn to deal with any skills gaps they have, and to plan for future growth.

A new way to avoid the ‘loneliness’ of contracting from home

As rise in the availability of ‘co-working spaces’ gives contractors the perfect alternative to setting up a home office – with a huge range of added benefits as well.

Newly-updated IR35 Guide for public sector contractors published by ContractorUK

The exclusive Guide has been updated to cover the removal of the Business Entity Tests - which were previously a key part of the process until they were axed by HMRC last year.

The Secret to Successfully Managing Permanent and Contractor Staff

Nixon Williams gives advice on how to manage this ‘two tier’ workforce, to create productive and healthy relationships between contractors and employees.

If you feel that making the move to contracting is right for you, why not call our New Business team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com for more information.

Opportunity for contractors to contribute to government policy

On the 26th April, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) will host its new policy conference, which will be attended by business leaders and policymakers, as well as contractors and other self-employed individuals from around the UK.

This conference is the first of its kind, and demonstrates the increased attention which is being paid to contractors as part of the government’s wider policy discussions.

According to James Gribben, IPSE’s Head of Press and PR, this conference will ‘allow delegates to address issues that are affecting them’, which presents a great opportunity for contractors to have an effect on government policy initiatives - and to air their views on new ways to recognise the vital contribution that contractors make to the economy as part of the UK’s flexible workforce.

The title of the conference is ‘Unleashing the self-employed in the new economy’, and a key part of the event will be to discuss the different ways that the government can support the rapidly increasing contribution which contractors bring to the table.

Commenting on the event, James Gribben said, “The fact that we’ve been able to put on an event of this sort which has attracted so much interest - both from members and politicians - is proof that self-employment is being recognised as an increasingly important issue.”

If you feel that now is a good time to make the move to contracting, then please call our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com for further information.

Top 5 Services for IT Contractors

The choice and breadth of online services for IT contractors is astonishing but which ones are actually worth your precious time and money?

Whether it’s hiring an accountant, finding a contractor networking, here are some favourite and highly cost-effective online services for IT contractors:

1. The contract finder

Hunting for your next IT contract can be a minefield. There are plenty of great sites out there, such a Technojobs and Jobserve, for those that find work through recruitment agencies. However, if you prefer to work directly with clients then Tenders Direct is a great tender alert service for the public sector.

The IT contract jobs search wizard is a great tool. There is a yearly fee for the service but this cost is offset by the lack of agency referral fees, making it a worthy investment.

2. Money talks

A specialist contractor accountant is an absolute necessity. A good accountant will not only save you time and money, but they should also offer advice expenses, invoicing, and the relevant legislation for your individual circumstances, including the infamous IR35. It’s a big decision and the choice of accountancy firms, apps, portals and services can seem somewhat daunting and often overpriced.

The Vantage online accounting portal from specialist contractor accountancy firm Nixon Williams is a great one-stop shop for your every accounting need. It’s painless to use, comes at a competitive monthly price, is available 24/7 and covers everything you need to keep on top of your finances. You also get a dedicated contact (in real human form - not just another random voice at the end of the phone) to handle your questions and your business. The combination of personal service and an easy to use online system is a rare gem.

3. Getting noticed?

Writing a CV that peaks the interest of a potential client or agency and gets you the gig is a difficult nut to crack - especially as each instance of yourCV will need to be tailored to every individual bid. There is a swarm of professional CV service companies out there that could help you write an outstanding CV - but this service comes at a price, and it’s often quite a hefty one.

To make yourself a truly attractive option, buy your domain name and create an online CV, or a personal website and blog. There are many online options out there but the Weebly service is one of the most cost-effective and diverse tools out there to get online and get noticed.

4. The Freelance Supermarket

The Freelance Supermarket is a networking service that incorporates a price and service comparison website, a rich source of online information, figures, facts and everything you might need to know about the world of freelancing. You can rate recruiters, clients, accountants and so on while receiving ratings to boost your reputation the free-to-join website. The site, which is often referred to as the ‘Facebook for freelancers’ is well worth a look.

5. Calculating the cost

Many IT professionals choose to move into contracting for the extra money they can make. However, calculating your rates and the impact this will have on your take-home pay can be incredibly difficult to project. That’s why this handy online calculator is an invaluable tool to help you assess how much you should be charging to maximise your profits.

Cross Sector Demand Driving Contractor Growth

Contractor growth from cross sector demand is said to be due to traditionally non-digital sectors, investing in more technology to push efficiency. According to Tech Nations 2016 latest study, the technology sector is cited as the driving force behind the UK’s growth in economy.

The research shows that the digital tech economy currently accounts for around 1.56M jobs in the UK, and of those around 41 per cent are operating within non-digital sectors, which is expected to rise.

The cross sector demand has had a significant impact upon the acceleration of the creation of jobs in the digital industry, outpacing the rest of the economy by 280 per cent. Dave Chaplin, CEO of Contractor Calculator comments;

“There’s now a broader scope than ever for IT contractors to source contracts. As more firms in an ever widening range of industries look to enhance their IT operations to boost productivity, dependence on contractors is set to continue to rise”.

If you feel that contracting is right for you, please call our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com for more information.

Contractors Weekly News 19/02/2016

In this week’s news:

Economic Conditions Improving for Contractors

Contractor opportunities are high and have a growing confidence in the market, as clients are looking to turn to a higher number of contracts according to the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

How Important is Contractor Insurance?

Nixon Williams have outlined some guidelines to finding contractor insurance and why it is important when contracting in the UK.

Contractors Need More Support

According to the latest Self Employment Review, contractors need more Government support, as numbers increase benefits are to be closer aligned to permanent role benefits.

If you feel that now is the time to make the move to contracting, you can call our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com for more information.

Contractors Need Greater Support According to the Latest Employment Review

Contractors in the UK have increased not only in numbers but in their contributions to the UK’s economy. A recent Self Employment Review by Julie Deane OBE has drawn the conclusion that contractors need more government support to relieve some of the disadvantages contractors experience.

The Self Employment Review from the Department for Business, Skills and Innovation, calls for contractor benefits to be closer aligned to those in permanent employment. There are now around 4.6 million self employed operating in the UK, most of which value the recommendations made.

Some employee benefits such as, statutory maternity pay, are only available to employees who satisfy the criteria, which most contractors do not satisfy. The review covers a wide range of benefits, which most self employed and contractors feel should be more available to them alongside employees, in the hope that the government takes notice.

If you feel that now is the right time to make the move to contracting, you can call our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Economic Conditions Improving in the Contractor Market

Contractor opportunities are high and confidence is growing in the market, according to the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation). The numbers of contractor clients are looking to transform into a higher number of contracts.

The REC’s Job Outlook for January 2016 shows that four in five businesses are considering the economic conditions to be improving. This, compared with only 15 per cent who believe that conditions may be worsening, although 97 per cent of clients are expecting improved conditions.

A significant finding that 94 per cent of the contractor clients who are operating with limited capacity to take on more work, are expected to look to contractors for business growth with buoyant market conditions.

“Businesses want to hire so that they can take on more work. But with fewer candidates available, employers need to take a thoughtful approach to bring in the skills they need”, the REC Director of policy, Tom Hadley comments.

For the next 3 months it is expected that almost half (48 per cent) of clients plan to engage with more contractors, while 51 per cent plan to maintain their contractor headcounts.

If you feel that now is the right time to make the move to contracting, then please call our New Business Team on

01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors Weekly News 12/02/2016

In this week's contractor news:

Make LinkedIn Work for You

Nixon Williams shares its expertise on fully utilising LinkedIn and what contractors can do to raise their online presence.

Contractors to Benefit from Talent Gap

A global talent gap means contractors are expecting a rise in demand with 38 per cent of countries surveyed struggling to fill roles.

Finance Contractors to See Rise in First Quarter

The Professional Hiring Index released that there could be a huge 58 per cent of Finance Executives expecting to see an increase in opportunities.

If you would like to find out more about contracting, please call our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Predictions for Financial Roles to Double

The 2016 Professional Hiring Index from Robert Half has illustrated that nearly two thirds of financial services are predicted in an increase in new roles. Around 58 per cent of financial executives are anticipating an increase in job creation in the first half of 2016, within their sectors.

With most roles targeted to permanent staff, 99 per cent of executive’s state that it’s challenging to find candidates with the sufficient skill sets and experience, meaning there are chances for contractors to offer their services in order to fill this knowledge gap.

Phil Sheridan, Senior Managing Director, Robert Half UKsaid : “The index highlights that senior executives are confident about their growth plans for 2016 and are actively seeking skilled professionals to add to their headcount. This will not only drive up salaries but will also impact on the ever growing war for talent”.

If you feel that now is a good time to make the move to contracting, then please call our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com for further information.

Contractors to Benefit from increasing Talent Gap

As international businesses are impacted by skills shortages, the demand for contractors is rising according to Manpower Group’s 2015 Talent Shortage Survey . With 42 countries were surveyed globally showing that the number of businesses finding difficulty in filling job roles has risen to 38 per cent.

This 2 per cent increase from 2014 has seen to be the highest percentage increase since 2007. Manpower Group CEO Jonas Prising commented, “From speaking to CEO’s and business leaders across the 80 countries and territories in which we operate, I know talent shortages are something companies struggle with all over the world”.

Contractors can expect a rise in demand for their skill sets after a notable proportion of those companies surveyed, aren’t taking any action toward their recruitment issues. Although, 39 per cent of businesses that are addressing the skills gap are adopting new people practices, whilst 22 per cent are looking to explore new talent sources.

If you feel that now is the right time to make the move to contracting, then call our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors Weekly News Round Up 29/01/2016

In this week’s news: 

Self Employed Numbers on the Rise

Earlier the ONS (Office for National Statistics) confirmed that self employed numbers are on the rise, with 98,000 increase in the UK between the months of September to November 2015. https://www.nixonwilliams.com/blog/post/01/2016/self-employed-numbers-continue-to-rise

Inflation Rise may Benefit Contractors

With a small inflation rise of 0.2%, it may just be enough for contractors to increase affordability of working for themselves, which is said to benefit contractors. https://www.nixonwilliams.com/blog/post/01/2016/contractors-may-benefit-from-inflation-rise

Nixon Williams Steps to Finding a Contract

Nixon Williams has released it’s steps to finding a contract with a list of the top 10 best recruitment agencies. https://www.nixonwilliams.com/blog/post/01/2016/steps-to-finding-a-contract

Contractors may Benefit from Inflation Rise

Most reactions to the news of the rise of inflation aren’t taken too positively, however it could be a blessing in disguise for contractors. It is said that those who work for themselves could benefit from the slight rise in inflation.

At only a rise of 0.2 per cent the consumer price index hasn’t changed dramatically but could just be enough to increase the affordability of working for yourself. The Association of Independent Professionals has welcomed this news as staying profitable in the economy is extremely important for contractors.

They also see that there will be an overall positive effect on their members despite the potential for changes in travel and subsistence expenses.

If you feel that now is a good time to become a contractor, then you can call our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Self Employed Numbers Continue to Rise

Confirmed by the ONS (Office for National Statistics), self employed numbers are on the rise, continuing a trend that grew in the later part of 2015. Results show a 98,000 increase in the number of self employed in the UK, between the months of September to November 2015.

With that said, Finance and IT contractor prospects look promising in the early months of 2016. As confidence is reinstated with the latest Confederation of British Industry (CBI) / PwC Financial Services Survey December 2015 which shows a 6 per cent rise in the last quarter of 2015 compared with the three months prior.

The report agrees that the demand for growth in these sectors is partly due to the forthcoming financial investment from Government, and notably business volumes in areas such as life insurance, investment management and building societies; all of which could be good sources of new contracts.

If you feel that now is the time to make the move to contracting then please call our New Business team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors Weekly News 22/01/2016

In this week’s contractor news:

Oil & Gas Contractors advised to look to independent firms

Small junior and independent oil firms are continuing to explore the North Sea and Contractors are now being advised to investigate contract opportunities there. https://www.nixonwilliams.com/blog/post/01/2016/oil-contractors-advised-...

Future Proof your Contractor Skills

Nixon Williams shares some tips on keeping yourself up to date in your industry and future proofing your career https://www.nixonwilliams.com/blog/post/01/2016/how-to-future-proof-your...

2016 Contractor Trends

 

Experts have identified that the contractor market will continue to grow in the coming months, with the current level of 1.9M independent professionals expected to increase further. https://www.nixonwilliams.com/blog/post/01/2016/what-trends-contractors-...

If you feel that now is a good time to make the move to contracting, then call our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

What Trends Contractors can Expect in 2016

The continued growth this year in the contracting market has been positive, and with Government projects set to begin it’s set to be a prosperous year for the core contracting markets.

Experts state that the contracting sector will continue in it’s growth trend, with 1.9M independent professionals out of the 4.6M self-employed in the UK. CEO of Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA), Julia Kermode recognises that the skills shortages some sectors are experiencing will only further enhance the contractor workforce.

Some state that the new changes to travel and subsistence could be an affecting factor, however, Kermode believes that the assignment rates may rise in light of this but unfortunately not across the board.

As a body of evidence from the past quarter of 2015 shows the rise in popularity for an independent professional life, the 2015 tax measures that were announced will have little impact upon deterring contractors, current and aspiring.

If you feel that now is the time for you to make the move to contracting, then you can speak to our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Oil Contractors Advised to Look at Independent and Junior Oil Firms

Despite falling oil prices, an increased number of small oil firms continue to explore the North Sea. It is now advised that oil and gas contractors in the UK should be looking towards the independent and junior oil firms for work.

After BP’s recent staff cuts of 4,000 from it’s global workforce, which is expected to take place in the next two years, the oil industry has opened a gap in the market. Allowing for independent and junior firms to explore.

More and more of these independent and junior firms are recognising the potential of the North Sea and taking advantage. Oil and gas contractors may be better off exploring opportunities with these independent firms.

If you think that now is the time to make the move to contracting, then call our New Business team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors Weekly News 15/01/2016

In this week’s news:

Nixon Williams place Runner Up for CUK 2015 Awards

Earlier in the week, ContractorUK announced that Nixon Williams had placed runner up in the ContractorUK Reader Awards 2015, for ‘Best Large Contractor Accountants’. This is a big achievement for us, and we thank all our clients for the continued support.

Demand for Cyber Security Contractors on the Rise

 

With a 61 per cent increase in security contractor numbers, the demand is rising. The reason for the growth will be due to recent cyber attacks. Companies are now reinforcing their digital strongholds to in order to combat any potential attacks.

Renewable Energy Demand for Contractors

 

With Government plans for clean energy investments, companies are now demanding the skills of contractors in industries such as Construction and Engineering, commanding daily rates of up to £500 per day.

If you feel that now is a good time to make the move to contracting, why not call our New Business Team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Renewable Energy Sector Offers Contract Opportunities

Government strategies such as the UK Renewable Energy Roadmap , has increased opportunities for contractors within the renewable energy sector.

Companies / Recruitment agencies are now advertising for more Construction, Engineering and Project Management contractors, commanding daily rates of around £500 per day (according to indeed.co.uk). These roles focus on the phases of worldwide renewable energy and clean technology products.

The government have previously predicted that the energy sector would be worth a huge £150 billion in the UK alone, alongside 1.3 million new jobs, in a variety of sectors from Engineers, to Construction and IT.

Energy efficiency policies are now estimated to save a total of £20 billion from fuel bills by 2020. With an increase in workforce and investment per sector, renewable energy opportunities are only set to continue to grow.

If you feel now is a good time to move to contracting, you can speak to one of our New Business team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Nixon Williams Placed Second in 2015 Contractor UK Awards

Nixon Williams are pleased to announce that they have been voted as runner up in Contractor UK’s ‘Best Large Contractor Accountant’ 2015.

ContractorUK is a popular online hub for the contracting community. ContractorUK holds an annual award competition, where users can vote for the companies they recognise to be an invaluable across to the contractor landscape.

Richard Fletcher, Operations Director of Nixon Williams commented, “We are thrilled that Nixon Williams has placed runner up in the 2015 Contractor UK Awards. The team has worked very hard over the course of the year, and would like to take everyone for taking the time to complete the questionnaire. Nixon Williams can now proudly say they are runners up for the Best Large Contractor Accountants”.

 

Nixon Williams are looking forward to the year ahead, serving the needs of Contractors and Freelancers alike.

To see who else placed this year, you can take a look at the Contractor UK News post here.

IT Contractor Roles Necessity Increases for Cyber Security

IT Contractor roles increased in December 2015, at their fastest growth rate since April 2015. The demand for contractors grew to 61 per cent, which has been the highest figure for 8 months, according to the REC (the recruitment and employment confederation).

Despite the permanent IT sector having a large deficit in their cyber security skills, the contractor market seems to be thriving on this fact. The overall shortage of tech skills among permanent IT professionals has increased, from 8 - 9 per cent, particularly within cyber security skills.

It is said that in the recent cyber security attacks, companies are now investing into their cyber security teams, meaning a larger demand for specialist contractors to be brought in to fill a knowledge gap, and prevent future cyber attacks.

If you think now is a good time to become a contractor, why not talk it over with our New Business team on 01263 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors Weekly News 08/01/2016

In this week’s news:

Online Tax Return’s Due

A new year can be a busy time for some, however don’t forget that your online self assessment tax return is due 31st January 2016.

UK Economy Set to Benefit Contractors

The REC’s (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) Jobs Outlook for November 2015 has revealed that 82% of businesses in the UK have a more positive attitude towards the economy.

Demand for Contractors Grows

The already, 1.9M independent professionals in the UK is set to grow further, with demand continuing to grow, particularly in the IT and Finance sectors.

If you think your ready to take the leap into contracting, then you can call our New Business team on 01253 362062 or email contractoradvice@nixonwilliams.com

Market Conditions are Benefitting Prospect Contractors

Going forward into the new year, contractors are set to have more confidence within the UK economy, as businesses are looking to take advantage of flexible workers. According to the REC’s (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) Jobs Outlook for December 2015, results show that there is an 82 per cent improvement in business opinions of the UK’s economic condition.

Technical and Engineering contractors are most likely to see a positive increase in demand for their services in 2016, although 15 per cent of businesses are expecting a shortfall in prospective candidates.

Although there has been some anticipation about the availability of contractors with professional and managerial skills, 13 per cent of businesses are seeing this area with a greater shortfall.

2015 has been the year of growing confidence from both businesses and contractors alike, and now more and more are seeing further improvements in the hiring process as well as pay increases.

If you are ready to take the leap into contracting, then you can call our New Business team on 01253 362063 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com for more information.

Contracting Sector set for Continued Growth Trend

Currently, there are 4.6m self-employed people working in the UK and of this number, 1.9m are made up of independent professionals.

It is said that the ongoing skills shortages will drive up demand in the coming months, particularly in the IT and Finance sectors, resulting in these areas continuing to be seen as buoyant.

Although these sectors are not the only one’s to facing a more positive outlook in 2016. More opportunities have arisen with Government investment into infrastructure projects, of which 60% are geared toward the construction sector.

The Transport sector accounts for £127 billion, around 31% of the planned Government pipeline value, whilst Energy with a value of £245 billion, has a high 60% of the total value.

With these Government investments, the construction, finance and IT sectors look prosperous continuing on into the new year.

If you are ready to make the move to contracting, why not call our New Business team on 01253 362007 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com for more information.

Contractor Headcount Increases

The ONS’s (Office for National Statistics) most recent Labour Market research released in December 2015 have shown that the self-employed headcount has reached an all-time high in the UK. These recent figures show that the headcount for the self-employed rose to well above 4.6M within the months leading to October 2015.

The self employed headcount rise reflected a 71K increase, year on year as well as a 94K improvement from the previous quarter and has also attributed to another record high, for the highest number of employed in the UK.

These figures demonstrate that overall the UK economy is getting closer to full employment as rates of unemployment decrease, perhaps suggesting this could have been due to the rising self-employment rates.

Over the past 12 months, the self employed, contractors and freelancers alike have seen a steady rise in demand across a few sectors such as IT,Finance, and Oil & Gas Engineers, and is predicted to continue to grow in 2016.

If now is a good time to make the move into contracting then call our New Business team on 01253 362062 or email contractoradvice@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors Weekly News 18/12/2015

In this week’s news:

  • Highest Paying Engineering Contractor Roles

EMC (Electromagnetic Capability) Engineer tops the Nixon Williams highest paying engineer contractor role of 2015. With average daily rates of £435 per day, which is a 6 per cent increase compared to this time last year. To read the full story, Click Here.

  • Construction Contractors Increase Daily Rate

Demand in the construction sector has risen due to a shortage of professionals with the right specialist skills. Reports state that contractors are now demanding an additional 10 per cent on top of their daily rate. To read the full story, Click Here.

  • John Lewis Increase in IT infrastructure

One of the UK’s largest retailers is now investing further in it’s IT department, in particular it’s contracted workers by 500, topping their headcount to 2,000. The change is said to commence in early 2016 in their London office. To read the full story, Click Here.

If you are thinking of making the move to contracting the you can call our New Business Team for advice on 01253 3620362 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Construction Contractors Shortage Increases Daily Rate

A poll by infrastructure and support services group, Aecom has found that construction contractors in London are now demanding a further 10 per cent than they were last year.

This increase has emerged due to a skill shortage within the construction sector, meaning that some contractors in the capital are having to turn down 1 in 2 contracts, due to perceived higher risk from clients.

“Rise appetite among contractors is low, with a desire for certainty meaning that projects may be taken on a smaller margin if the return is guaranteed”, commented Brian Smith, Director of Aecom.

Construction Products Association (CPA) is forecasting significant growth in the next two years, however, it may be questionable at how realistic this is.

According to our 2015 contractor survey, out of the respondents who stated they worked within the construction industry (18), 68 per cent felt that over the previous year, day rates had increased, while 25 per cent said they stayed the same.

With 29 per cent stating that their average daily rate was between £400 and £500, this number may now increase with higher demand for construction engineers and consultants.

If you think now is a good time to make the move to contracting, then you can seek out advice from our New Business team on 01253 362062 or email contractoradvice@nixonwilliams.com

John Lewis to Announce Increase in IT Contractor Workforce

One of the UK’s largest retailers, John Lewis is set to announce an IT spending spree in 2016, after already investing further into it’s IT sector six-fold. Plans to hire 500 new technology workers is said to commence in early 2016.

The retailer has already increased its IT investment over the past six years, which has trebled their IT workforce. Adding the planned 500 extra IT contractors to their London office will top the IT headcount at 2,000.

John Lewis’ managing director commented, “This total includes new hires via offshore contractors”, and adds that a hefty investment of £500M will be done to improve systems to increase the quality of forward planning and shopper analysis.

Their aim going forward in 2016 is to create a seamless journey for John Lewis customers, who have increased online sales by 13 per cent compared to the same time last year.

If you think now is the time to make the move to contracting then you can call our new business team for advice on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors Weekly News 11/12/2015

In this week’s news:

IT Sector Demanding Higher Rates of Pay

Security contractors are said to be the highest paid contractors in the IT sector with average daily rates of £550. Find out who else made the list on our Top 5 Paying IT Contractor Jobs post.

Rates for IT Contractors Increase

 

Daily rates for IT Contractors have increased year on year, and have risen by 3.3 per cent according to Computer People’s IT Monitor. The IT contractor market has seen a significant growth compared to the permanent market.

Security Contractors Demanding Five Figures

 

Since recent highly publicised cyber attacks, companies are now increasing security contractors to take further preventive measure. The increased demand has allowed specialist security contractors to command increased daily rates of up to five figures.

Security Contracts Earning Five Figures

IT Security Contractors are now commanding five figure daily rates, according to a tech jobs agency, prior to the growth area of cyber security crisis management.

There has been an almost quadruple jump in demand for specialist security skills from contractors, which is the sole reason behind the surge in daily rates. With recent Talk Talk hackings, the demand for higher response led roles have been implemented to tackle any future attacks.

Larger companies who do have their own in house security are thought to still intend to bring in specialist security contractors to help reinforce the teams for if and when a cyber attack happens.

It is also stated that there have been a record number of IT security contractor requests compared to 2014, meaning there is a shortage however, this does also mean that specialist IT security contractors can demand in excess of £3000 per day. With the risk factor continuing to increase, it’s predicted that contractors will continue to benefit from the higher rates.

If you are thinking of making the move to contracting then you can call our new business team on 01253 362062 for more advice or alternately email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

It Contractor Rates See a Further Increase

IT Contractors are benefitting from a further increase in daily rates year on year. Rates were up by 3.3 per cent year on year according to Computer People’s IT Monitor, and the report also highlighted that the contractor market experienced a significant level of growth compared to the permanent market.

Meanwhile a number of spikes have been seen in the North West region in cities such as Manchester as their economies begin to grow. While 48 per cent of companies are expecting a rise in payroll numbers and 48 per cent say they expect levels to maintain, only 4 per cent are expecting a fall in the next 12 months.

According to the ONS (Office for National Statistics) their most recent data shows a 2.9 per cent rise in wage as the contract market experienced a greater level of growth than the permanent market during the third quarter.

Between the second and third quarter, the contract market saw a higher increase in growth compared to the permanent market, and demand for contractors increased by 4.2 per cent.

If you are thinking of making the move to contracting, you can call our new business team for advice on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors Weekly News 04/12/2015

IT Demand Rising outside London

According to research by Tech Cities Job Watch, there has been a 10 per cent increase in IT contractor roles outside of London. It is said that the change in location for opportunities comes from the improved transport links to the north of the UK; with Newcastle and Manchester having an increase of 25 per cent and 30 per cent respectively.

Contractors now Recognised by MEP’s

 

European policymakers have been made aware of the importance that freelancers and contractors bring to the local economy. Support from MEP’s has meant that contractors have gained the recognition they were after.

Oil and Gas Contractors could see new Opportunities

 

Oil and Gas Contractors could see a rise in work opportunity as the high speed rail network is being developed in the near future. Reports states that the UK currently lacks the necessary skills to complete the project on time but recruiters are pointing towards contractors as a source of talent for the job.

For more information on any contracting issues or if you are thinking of making the move please contact our new business team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

IT Contractor Demand Growing Outside London

IT Contractors operating outside of London have reportedly seen a 10 per cent increase, according to research by Tech Cities Job Watch. London remains the dominant hub, with a 6 per cent rise for IT contractors, other major cities are now making pace at increasing their contractor headcounts.

Cities such as Newcastle and Manchester both saw an increase of 25 per cent and 30 per cent respectively, meanwhile demand for permanent roles fell by 4 per cent and a staggering 7 per cent in the Capital.

It is said that the increase is partly due to the improvement in transport links across the country, as well as more businesses creating contracting opportunities. Businesses are now looking for shorter term solutions to their problems, and this is where a high quality contractors become valued in business solutions.

As demand rises outside of London, changes to business could mean more widespread opportunities for contractors in the very near future.

If you are thinking of making the move to contracting, now is the best time so call our New Business team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Contractor Recognition at an all time high in Europe

Policymakers are now becoming more aware of the importance of independent professionals (Ipros) who are key components of Europe’s highly skilled and flexible workforce.

Strengthening links with the European Commission (EC) have helped raise awareness of the importance of freelancing in the local economy. Support from MEP’s (Members of the European Parliament) has meant that Ipros have gained recognition at the highest levels of the EU’s policymaking.

It is said that when looking at the level of social security contributions made from Ipros and permanent employees, the gap between the two is very minimal, helping the case further.

Trends have been noticed such as younger people becoming Ipros, meaning the employment demographic in the EU is changing.

Graduates are now finding that permanent work is hard to get, and find a solution with setting up their own businesses. Just as new emerging industries such as health professionals and paralegals who are now working on a contract basis rather than permanent employment.

If you would like to speak to an advisor about any questions you have regarding contracting, then please call us on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors Weekly News 27/11/2015

In this week’s news:

Autumn Statement 2015

On November 25th, George Osborne announced the new Autumn Statement for 2015. Some of the key announcements were: Changes to tax relief for Travel and Subsistence expenses and a consultation to be undertaken for the Intermediaries Legislation. To read the full announcement click here.

Improved Prospects for Contractors

Contractors are set to face a wave of new opportunities, thanks to the improved UK market conditions. The REC’s (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) Job Outlook Report for November 2015 states that 79 per cent of businesses consider economic conditions to be improving.

Contractor Vacancies Set to Rise

New research by APSCo (Association of Professional Staffing Companies), states that the growth from the contracting sector remains steady, with short term contracts increasing by 2 per cent year on year. The finance sector amongst others, has risen a substantial 34 per cent compared to this time last year and continues to be consistently strong.

If you would like to speak to an advisor about any questions you have regarding contracting, then please call us on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Professional Roles Set to Rise for Contractor Vacancies

According to new research by APSCo (the Association of Professional Staffing Companies), growth within the contractor sector remains steady for contractors and the self employed in professional sectors. Short term contracts have increased by 2 per cent year on year.

Opportunities within the Finance sector has risen to a huge 34 per cent since this time last year for contractor professionals. It has been pointed out that despite an almost identical increase in permanent roles, contracted project based work has been consistently strong.

It is seen that contracting is now the new ‘norm’ and that having a flexible workforce is beneficial to companies, in both the short and long term. Most are now bringing in specialists in certain sectors such as finance and accounting in order to manage change on a project to project basis.

The REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) revealed earlier in the month that 1.2 million people are in contracted roles at any given day throughout the year, which makes for a 3.6 per cent increase compared to last year (2013-14)

If you are thinking of making the move to contracting, you can contact our new business team for advice on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Prospects Improve for Contractors with a Growing Economy

It is said that Contractors are now facing a wave of new opportunities due to the improved UK market conditions. The Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s (REC) JobsOutlook for November 2015, illustrates that 79 per cent of businesses consider the UK’s economic conditions to be improving.

This statistic is set to predict a further demand for contractors with an optimistic 91 per cent of organisations expecting static or improved contractor prospects. The report also shows that half of these businesses have initiated rate increases in order to remain competitive.

“Skilled people are at a premium and organisations across the economy are having to pay more to attract and retain staff” stated REC chief executive Kevin Green.

Contractor operating within the engineering and construction sectors can expect a substantial demand in the coming months, as this report states that this sector is where the biggest shortfall lies.

“The statistics show that the contingent workforce can play a pivotal role in the continued growth of the economy. As long as businesses continue to see the potential for further growth, contractors shouldn’t find themselves short of new contract opportunities,” ContractorCalculator CEO Dave Chaplin states.

The report also shows that 98 per cent of businesses expressed satisfaction with contractors and that 88 per cent of clients engages with contractors in order to gain access to specific knowledge. While 56 per cent notes the cost-effectiveness of hiring a contractor.

Get in touch with us today with any questions you may have about contracting, please call our new business team on 01253 362062 or email contractoradvice@nixonwilliams.com.

Contractors Weekly News 20/11/2015

In this week’s news:

Contractor Skill Shortages Continue

 

October saw the demand for contractor’s increase, as the gap within the contract market widened further. In particular, the construction and engineering sectors saw the biggest gap in skills shortages, according to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC).

National Freelancers Day

 

Last week, thousands were celebrating IPSE’s National Freelancers Day, on it’s seventh annual event. The 12th of November marked the day that the self employed were celebrated for the challenges and hard work the freelancing community faces. To read the full story take a look at our National Freelancers news report.

UK Best in Europe for Contracting Sector

 

A sustained period of growth has hit the UK’s contracting sector and looks to continue to improve, with a study by by IPAG business school showing that iPro’s (individuals in highly skilled services that work for themselves), have rose by 63 per cent in the UK since 2004.

Another report by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills has shown the UK to be the 6th most attractive place to contract in Europe, seeing a 51 per cent increase in self employment numbers since 2000.

If you feel that now is a good time to make the move to contracting, you can contact our New Business team on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors Weekly News 13/11/2015

In this week’s news:

UK Contracting Landscape Improves

The UK is now said to be the most attractive for the self employed and contractors alike, according to the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. Reports illustrated that there are now 5.2 million self employed workers in the UK alone. Furthermore, the UK is now said to be 6th best place in the world to do business.

IT Contractor Demand Growing

A recent report by Tech Cities Job Watch shows a 6 per cent rise in the total number of contractor roles advertised outside of London. The survey accredits the rise to companies outsourcing for specialist knowledge and skill sets in the short term, rather than hiring a permanent employee.

Graduates going for Freelancing

According to a recent survey by Policy Bee, online insurance broker, graduates are now favouring self employment and freelancing over traditional permanent roles. The survey showed that half of the respondents (1,002) had done freelance work and 44 per cent said they considered self employment as a career.

If you would like some more information on making the move to contracting, please contact us on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

National Freelancers Day

IPSE have marked this day, the 12th of November as the day to celebrate National Freelancer’s Day. Todays marks the efforts of all the self employed, freelancer’s and contractors across the UK, who made the brave choice to work for themselves.

With the growth of the UK’s freelance sector growing through enterprising individuals, the self employed sector is more important to the UK economy now more than ever. It has become a staple way of working, and improved overall output.

National Freelancers Day was set up by IPSE in 2008, and has been celebrated annually since. The purpose of the day is to celebrate self employed professionals; and for the past two years, IPSE has hosted the freelancer awards where tonight a few standout individuals will receive an award.

The Freelancer awards, popularly known as the Aspire and Inspire awards, highlights the passion and excellence the self employed, freelance and contract market can offer. The award selects 15 of the best self employed individuals in the UK.

With over 20 years’ experience, specialist contractor accountants Nixon Williams have guided and helped the contractor market grow more year on year. To join in the celebrations, take a look at @IPSE, #selfieemployed and #nationalfreelancerday on Twitter.

Increased opportunities for IT Contractors working outside of London

Recent reports state that contracting opportunities are outperforming permanent vacancies within the IT sector, according to the Tech Cities Job Watch. The total number of contractor roles advertised rose by 6 per cent, whilst the total number of permanent roles fell by 4 per cent, making this another fallen quarter trend for permanent hires.

A possible reason for the rise in contractor positions could point to companies outsourcing for specialist short-term skills and knowledge via a contractor, as opposed to a permanent employee. According to the report, contractor’s daily rates are on the rise, and have seen an increase of 4 per cent in the third quarter of 2014, but this doesn’t seem to discourage the hire of contractors.

Web Developer roles advertised stands at just over 17 thousand, mobile and cloud development are runners up with just over 16 thousand and 8 thousand respectively; which shows that the IT sector is the most in demand.

“IT is a particularly buoyant sector for contractors and it is encouraging to see that the traditional dominance of London’s financial sector is waning,” highlights Contractor Calculator CEO Dave Chaplin.

With every 1 in 3 roles now advertised outside of London, Newcastle upon Tyne and Brighton have seen the biggest growth, with quarterly increases of 36 per cent and 14 per cent, closely followed by Glasgow which is up 13 per cent.

It seems that due to improved transport links, the contractor talent has been taken further afield as larger companies are now basing themselves in other cities outside of London, resulting in more widespread opportunities.

If you think now is a good time to make the move to contracting, then please call us on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com for more advice.

Contracting Landscape Improves in UK

Within the UK and Europe, contracting opportunities appear to be growing according to a number of reports, with the UK being the most attractive for the self employed and contractors looking for rewarding opportunities.

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills conducted a study into the rate of self employment in the UK; reports showed that there has been an increase of 51per cent since 2000 and now stands at 5.2 million self employed workers in the UK.

“The landscape, as it stands, looks promising for contractors. More people are providing services on their terms and the economy as a whole is benefitting,” highlights Contractor Calculator CEO Dave Chaplin.

According to research conducted by Kingston University, commissioned by IPSE, within the self employed sector, contractors account for around a third, and have risen to an estimated 1.88 million, an 8.7 per cent rise in the previous year alone.

The House of Lords Personal Service Companies Evidence document suggests that, there are currently 1.56 million contractors operating within the UK. It is said that the UK’s economy values the contribution of the self employed and freelancers to the tune of £95 billion (circa 2013).

This recent period of sustained growth looks to continue into the foreseeable future and is said to be down to the correlation between contractor numbers and the ability to cope better with the economic crisis.

If you would like to speak to an advisor about any queries you may have, please contact us on 01253 362062  or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors Weekly News 06/11/2015

In this week’s news:

Contractors Headline Government Conference

George Osborne has announced that new plans are in place for the National Infrastructure Commission. Looking forward, there may be future projects for contractors and self-employed, as rail and road links contracts have been at the forefront for some time.

Sustained Demand for Construction and Engineering Contractors

A recent report from the REC (Recruitment and Employment Confederation) has shows that there is a sustained demand for construction and engineering contractors and even data showing a number of shortages in particular sectors. If you are not already, now could be the perfect time to get into contracting, see our Getting Started page for more information.

Employers are now Relying on Contractors

98 per cent of employers is said to be relying on contractors in the near future according to data from the REC. The report showed that 38 per cent of respondents plans to increase their contracted worker numbers before the end of the year. It is shown that those who hold managerial skills, technical and engineering skills will see the largest demand.

If you feel that your ready to make the move to contracting, you can contact our New Business team on 01253 362062 or email newbuisness@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors to Benefit from Sustained Demand

According to the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC), the contracting industry is set up for an increase of sustained demand with their data indicating that there may be candidate shortages in a number of sectors, as well as regions.

In particular demand are Engineering and Construction contactors, as well as a promising outlook for Finance and IT sectors in London. This may be due to rising confidence from the economy, with companies looking to support growth by working with contractors.

The REC’s JobsOutlook for October 2015 states that 38 per cent of clients plan to increase their contractor headcounts, “The demand for skilled people is especially acute in construction and engineering as a result of newly announced house building and infrastructure projects” says Chief Executive, Kevin Green.

Construction and Engineering Contractors are said to be in higher demand as 11 per cent of respondents are expecting a short fall of candidates and 16 per cent are expecting a skills shortage in the engineering sector.

“Employers are finding it extremely difficult to fill vacancies and need to find creative solutions to overcome staffing challenges” Green adds. “In areas where permanent roles are particularly hard to fill, employers are turning to temporary workers in order to access key strategic skills”.

Contractors are supplying industry specific skills and short term access to fill a necessary gap in the construction and engineering sectors, which was highlighted with 79 per cent of clients saying this was an important factor in their decision making process.

If you would like to speak to an advisor regarding any queries you may have, you can call us on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors Weekly News 30/10/2015

In this weeks contractor news:

HMRC scrapped Contractors Business Tax Records

Business Tax Record Checks have now been scrapped by HMRC, due to pressure that they were ineffective and a poorly targeted way to ensure contractors were making the correct payments.

This decision was a ‘victory for common sense’ stated the Charted Institute of Taxation (CIOT) and means that contractors and the self employed no longer need to complete checks by tax inspectors.

In order to educate contractors on the key to keeping good business records, HMRC have released an online learning package to further help contractors understand their obligations; a guide to this can be found at www.gov.uk/self-employed-records.

Increasing in Strength for Irelands Financial Sector

According to Morgan McKinley’s Irish Employment Monitor (September 2015), contractors who are looking for opportunities in Ireland may be in luck! The professional opportunities have increased by 10 per cent and with 4 per cent more opportunities month on month.

In particular demand are finance contractors within accountancy firms who are seeking additional growth in the workforce. As well as a higher demand for IT contractors within these firms, regionally there has been an increase in Cork which has almost doubled since the previous year.

Contractors Major contributors to Tax Gap

HMRC has released information that contractors and the self employed alike have made up nearly half of the UK’s tax gap, around £16.5bn in the year 2013/14. This tax gap is the amount of tax which should in theory be collected vs what is actually collected.

The tax gap has decreased, just over half and has been the largest reduction since records were kept from 2005/06, and continues to reduce steadily year on year.

If you would like to speak to an advisor about any concerns you may have please call us on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors are Major Contributors to Tax Gap Claims HMRC

According to a report published by HMRC, Limited Companies and Small to Medium Enterprises (SME’s) made up nearly half of the 2013-2014 tax gap.

This figure comes up to around £16.5bn, (49 per cent) according to HMRC’s Measuring Tax Gaps 2015 document, which is the amount of tax which should in theory be collected, compared to what is actually collected. The tax gap margin has dropped from 6.6 per cent in 2012/13 to 6.4 per cent in 2013/14, whilst large businesses account for £9.5bn of an estimated £34bn.

Surprisingly, contractors operating through limited companies may find that corporation tax gap is an area which has decreased. This reduction, just over half, has been the largest reduction since records of this kind were kept in 2005-6. This corporation tax figure of £1.4bn makes up 7 per cent of tax theoretical liabilities and has had a 1 per cent improvement since 2012-13.

Whilst the tax gap is reducing steadily year on year, the type of tax mostly responsible for the tax gap has been narrowed down to the largest contributor, income tax, national insurance and capital gain tax which adds up to 41 per cent, equating to around £14bn.

Despite the tax gap slowly reducing due to a Government crackdown, the overall tax gap figure remains at £34bn, showing a minimal improvement in the last year.

If you would like to speak to an accountant about any questions you may have about contracting, please call us on 01253 362063  or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Government Scrapping Contractors Business Record Checks

HMRC has now scrapped the Business Record Checks for UK Contractors meaning that they will no longer have to complete checks by tax inspectors. The Charted Institute of Taxation (CIOT) said this decision was “a victory for common sense”, as Business Record Checks had previously been criticised for being ineffective and badly targeted as a means of ensuring contractors were submitting the correct amount for their tax returns.

The Charted Institute of Taxation does acknowledge that in order for businesses to keep good records the key is to educating new and standing businesses about good practices rather than fining them once they have become non-compliant.

Although evidence suggests that most small businesses in the UK are keeping records to an appropriate level, HMRC are tackling this with their online learning packages to help improve further.

Along with the CIOT, the Association of Taxation Technicians among others have been involved in discussions with HMRC over the business record checks future, group Chairman, Anthony Thomas states, “Pulling the plug on Business Record Checks is certainly the right decision”.

However, scrapping the Business Record Checks does not mean that HMRC are going to become relaxed on tax compliance with small businesses, who need to keep up to a good standard of record keeping. This in line with HMRC’s idea of bringing in digital tax accounts, meaning businesses may need to submit data more frequently.

If you would like to speak to an advisor about any queries you may have, you can contact us on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors Weekly News 23/10/2015

In this week’s contractor news:

  • Contractor Mortgages on the Rise

August 2015 was witness to the highest level of lending to contractors since 2007, year on year and was the third month for solid growth, revealed the council of Mortgage Lenders. Lending had reached £20 billion in the previous months, with interest rates at an all time low, demand for montages is on the rise and with lenders offering products such as lower deposit requirements, there has been an increase in the rate of house purchases.

  • SME’s Growth Boost

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills released a report finding that SME’s account for 99.3 per cent of all private sector business; that’s around 15.6 million SME employee’s in the UK. The majority of these SME’s, 76 per cent, are in fact the self employed or contractors, making the contracting industry the largest in the UK business market.

  • IR35 Figures Submission Date Looming

Any contractors working within IR35 which were able to calculate their deemed payment of salary on the 5th April 2015 must submit this by January 31st 2016.

On 31st January 2016, contractors must submit accurate figures by adding an adjustment to the provisional return (the return submitted without the deemed payment salary figure on) by using an Earlier Year Update (EYU). This is all done electronically, a guide to how this is done can be found on the Gov.UK website

Also on this day any outstanding payments must be paid, otherwise you could incur a fine. HMRC will not send you a reminder to do this, so it is vital you find out well in advance if this applies to you. Your accountant will be able to help you fill out all the necessary paperwork if this is the case.

If you have any concerns about your IR35 status or figure submission you can call us for advice on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

UK Economy Showing a Boost in Entrepreneurs

Statistics from the small business group have shown a rise in entrepreneurs in the UK of around 146,000 new small businesses over the previous year, reaching a record of 5.4 million private sector businesses.

It is reported that small businesses account for 99.3 per cent of all private sector businesses, according to a statistical release from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills; and that they totalled an employment of 15.6 million in the UK.

These recent statistics show the vast growth of the UK small business economy and how these small businesses underpin the importance of growth and employment. The report also showed the 76 per cent of these small businesses were in fact contractors, or the self employed, making the contracting industry one of the largest segments in the UK new business market.

The increase in these numbers means that the entrepreneurial catalyst is booming in the UK SME (small to medium enterprises) market. People seem to have been taking the risk with making the move to contracting and reaping the rewards.

John Allan, National Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said, “The key is to continue to encourage people to take the plunge and set up their own business, by providing business support that will help them grow and meet their aspirations”.

“To do this, they need further reassurance from government and policymakers that they will back them, rewarding their risk-taking while minimising the burdens that will hinder their growth” Allan added.

If you are thinking of taking the plunge and becoming a contractor, you can contact our new business team with any queries you may have on 01253 362062 or email contractoradvice@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors can now Top Up State Pensions

From October 12th, the new state pension ‘top up’ scheme from government is now allowing more than 7 million Britons the option to top up their state pensions up to £1,300 extra per year.

Anyone who reaches state pension age before April 6th 2016 will be eligible as well as existing pensioners for a further guaranteed income of up to £25 a week, in exchange for a one-off payment.

It is thought that around 265,000 people are likely to peruse this government scheme and is most sought after by the self-employed. Reports state that the self-employed could treble their income compared to a savings bond. For example pay in around £10,000 and you’ll get an extra £11 on your pay out – or £572 a year before tax. Though, if you put the same sum in an average savings bond at 1.8 per cent, pay out would only be £180 per year before tax.

Any additional payments made by pensioners will be guaranteed for life and will also have the ability to be inherited by surviving partners of at least half of the additional pension, only once their partner reaches state pension age. The pay out for the top up scheme is inflation proofed, meaning that it will rise in line with the consumer price index (CPI).

However, anyone who will reach state pension age after April 6th and feel they have missed out by only a few months, will have the option to boost their own state pay out with the new higher flat rate pension. This scheme is open to women born before April 6th 1953 and men born before April 6th 1951 and will run for 18 months; due to finish in April 2017.

A spokesman from DWP stated that there will be an information pack sent out to those who have signed up for the top up scheme later in the year. However, it is probably more beneficial for you to speak to an accountant regarding your pension as there are different contributing factors which could influence your decision.

If you would like to appoint an accountant or see how Nixon Williams’ New Business team can help please call us on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors Weekly News - 16/10/15

The major stories in the contracting world this week have been:

  • Skill shortages in the engineering sector

Fears are growing in the construction and engineering industry as demand out weighs supply of skilled contractors. If the skilled contractors aren’t found soon, there is fear that major projects such as buildings, government plans and building associations may suffer. Perhaps now is the time for you to make the move to contracting?

  • Number of High Earning Finance Contractors Double

Within the past year the number of finance contractors has doubled with contractors earning more than £750 per day. As the demand for finance contractors increases from 6.3 per cent to a significant 11.6 per cent, institutions and banks are seeking contractors with niche skill sets, which over time strengthens and increases their average daily rate.

  • Contractors set to gain from Private Sector

It looks like the demand for contractors in the private sector has risen recently, as a result of investment. A contractor database has found that contracting professionals are anticipating a significant growth in the private sector over the next 12 months, so if you are thinking of starting up as a contractor, why not call us to find out more on 01253 362062

  • Contractor Organisations support Tory Infrastructure

Light has been shed on contractor organisations supporting the conservatives’ announcement of a new national infrastructure commission, during the speech at the Conservative Party conference; made by Chancellor, George Osborne who stated that the matter had been addressed in his manifesto ahead of the general election, as it is one of the greatest challenges highly mobile workers face.

Making the decision to be a contractor comes with many questions, so if you'd like to speak to one of our new business team you can call them on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Number of High Earning Finance Contractors Double

Within the past year the number of finance contractors has doubled with contractors earning more than £750 per day. As the demand for finance contractors increases from 6.3 per cent to a significant 11.6 per cent, institutions and banks are seeking contractors with niche skill sets, which over time strengthens and increases the average daily rate.

Despite news that the bank industries are continuing to trim permanent roles, the demand for outsourcing contractors is rising, heavily due to their expertise and lower long term costs, compared to hiring permanent employees for example; contractors enable flexibly, i.e. they can be hired on a project by project basis. Also they are experts in their field and can fill gaps of knowledge in the current workforce. The financial sectors reluctance for creating permanent roles is partially the reason for the rise.

Alongside this, industries are now required to hire specialists for regulation, compliance and financial reporting and are doing so through contractor roles.

Earlier this year the UKGAAP created a greater demand for for accountants within the finance and banking industry on a contract basis to ensure the compliance with IFRS 9 was being met at an accounting standard.

Other indicators of the strengthening demand of the finance industry include the number of contractors in the finance sector who are out of work are falling. Recent figures have indicated that at least 95 per cent of finance contractors are in work and that contract lengths are also increasing.

If you would like to speak to someone regarding your daily rate or any other queries, please contact us on 01253 362062 or email craig.whelan@nixonwilliams.com

Contractors Weekly News - 09/10/15

• Government Freelance Group

The Government has recently announced that there will be a group for freelancers set up by MP's from different parties which will share a variety of views and give a freelancers a strong voice in parliament. Its purpose is to represent the interests of the self employed, who make up nearly 4.5 million people that support the UK economy. The group will be lead by Conservative MP, David Morris who was appointed government Ambassador for Self Employed in the previous year.

• Skill shortages in the engineering sector

Fears are growing in the construction and engineering industry as there is demand out weighs supply of skilled contractors. If the skilled contractors aren’t found soon, there is a fear of major projects and house buildings may suffer. Perhaps now is the time for you to make the move to contracting?

• Professional Vacancies Supply

Recent data from APSCo has shown that contract vacancies are remaining stable with contract opportunities up by 0.3 per cent, and other contract industries are growing year on year. Finance and Accounting vacancies were also strong with a 7 per cent increase. Making the move to contracting is proving to be a success, but are you a part of it yet?

Contracting can offer great opportunities, as well as an increased rate of pay and many other benefits. To find out more about what making the move to contracting can do for you, read our Guide to Contracting.

North East the fastest growing UK region for tech start-ups after London

The North East is second only to London for growth in the number of tech enterprises over the past year, according to research by Nixon Williams, a specialist accountant for finance and banking contractors.

According to an analysis by Nixon Williams, the number of tech businesses in the North East increased by 9.2% in 2015, compared to 11.7% in London. The number of tech businesses in the North East jumped from 9,695 to 10,285 between 2014 and 2015. In London the number of tech businesses, rose from 34,755 to 38, 810 during the same period. 

According to Nixon Williams, in recent years, the North East has emerged as one of the fastest growing UK regions, with the tech sector being a key driver of growth. The surge in new business creation in the tech sector in Newcastle is fuelling a jobs boom, which is encompassing other urban areas, including Sunderland and Gateshead. 

Victoria Kelly, Practice Manager at Nixon Williams, comments: “The North East is developing as one of the most innovative tech clusters in the UK. The region has five universities and with software giant Sage headquartered in Newcastle, has a talent pool with appropriate skills. Manchester arguably remains the Northern powerhouse for tech businesses, but Newcastle is snapping at its heels.”

 

“The North East has a much lower cost base than London, which makes it a perfect location for a start-up. Most start-ups have limited funds but those based in the North East would be able to allocate more cash to product development than an equivalent business in London, which would have to contend with much higher property and staffing costs in the capital.”

Nixon Williams points out that iginite100, the tech accelerator programme, has one of its three UK bases in Newcastle, and through venues such as Campus North is providing a support network for tech entrepreneurs and investors.

Kelly adds: “Tech businesses looking for investment have traditionally been drawn to the capital, which is still a hub for business development and networking. That is now changing too, with a number of tech funds now operating in the region, making the rationale for being in London less compelling. ”

Wales the second fastest growing region for tech businesses outside London

According to Nixon Williams, Wales is the second fastest growing region outside London for tech start-ups. Wales saw an 8.7% increase in the number of tech businesses between 2014 and 2015, from 2,630 to 2,860.

Victoria Kelly points out that over 28,000 people from the South Wales region alone are employed by digital companies, with 98% of those businesses expecting their revenue to increase in 2016.

Kelly continues: “Cardiff has become the focal point for tech businesses in Wales. Its strength lies in its diversity, with health tech, financial tech, data management and e-commerce businesses making up a varied digital ecosystem. Increasingly, businesses are able to attract funding locally, which is important if they are to grow within the region.”

“We are seeing growing demand for IT contractors from start-ups. Contractors frequently work on a wide range of projects, often for much larger organisations, and this experience can be invaluable to a small business. If a business needs to reduce its headcount, it is much easier and less expensive to do so with contractors than permanent staff.”

Mothers lead the contracting charge

Being an increasingly popular work-style choice, it's no surprise that new mothers are taking advantage of the opportunities presented by contracting.

 

Contracting is an increasingly popular lifestyle choice amongst the workforce, for a variety of reasons. However, a recent survey has shown that a certain demographic is taking especially well to the flexible and independent form of work. New mothers are increasingly shunning returning to permanent employment, where hours may be reduced or their job role changed. Instead they are taking matters into their own hands.

There has been as much as a 70% rise in new mothers entering the contracting market between 2008 and 2015, up to a startling - and record -  287,000, and the reasoning is clear. Freelance mothers earn significantly more than their permanent employment counterparts, within the same field, and by working for themselves they can fit work around other commitments, such as childcare.

“Running my own business gives me the freedom and space to follow my career passions without compromising on being a mum to my two children.” Charlotte Wibberley said, a business consultant and an IPSE Freelancer of the Year finalist. And many in similar situations agree, citing the freedom to mould their careers around their home-life as opposed to the other way around.

You won’t find economists complaining either, as recent research from Think Tank Development Economics has turned up over £7.2 billion generated for the country by enterprising small businesses headed by mothers like Charlotte. These freelance positions support an enormous 204,000 jobs and economists only predict this to rise in the next decade, with some estimates predicting a further 217,600 jobs by 2025 for an additional £9.5 billion to stimulate the economy.

The study went on to discover that the most popular industries for enterprising mothers are in the health services, online retail, technology services and management consultancy; a wide breadth for an economic force to be reckoned with.

Contractor’s need to hold onto their cheques

A recent study shows that a startling amount of cheques are misplaced or lost, costing small business up to £740 per year.

In a recent study conducted by Barclay’s bank, it was discovered that a fifth of small business owners forget to pay in cheques at least once a week, costing them up to £740 on average. This, alongside owners who misplace and never recover their cheques, could mean companies are losing up to £550 million a year. The startling implication here is that, due to these forgotten or missing cheques, an estimated one million traders and small business owners aren’t being paid regularly.

This follows on the heels of a different study conducted by Mintel, that cheques are slowly becoming a thing of the past. In the last three months only a third of the population was found to use the – apparently increasingly outdated – payment method, compared to the 40% in 2015. Combined with the rise of contactless payment, making up 39% of payments the study found, Cheques are now the least favoured method of payment for Brits.

However, the firm also argued that not everybody is okay with the current trend, finding the idea of an entirely cashless system “uncomfortable”. Mintel’s financial analyst Rich Shephard stated “People’s payment habits change slowly, as can be seen with the cheque’s stubborn refusal to disappear from the payment’s landscape.”

Barclay’s own study would appear to agree with the firm’s claim, and as evidence it submitted that more than 90 million cheques were paid into their accounts over the past year, valuing over £140 billion. Of course, that is not to obfuscate the underlying issue, as the study goes on to advise that “the 550 million lost each year by SMEs losing or forgetting to deposit their cheques [only] highlights the scale of the problem.”

Whether cheques - having already survived a remarkable two millennia since their creation in 1st Century Rome - are on the out or not, a little more care may need to be taken when handling and paying them in.

North East Leapfrogs London to become fastest growing region for engineering start ups

The engineering sector in the North East has surpassed London for growth over the past year, buoyed by the strength of the region’s automotive and rail sectors, according to an analysis by Nixon Williams, one of the UK’s leading accountancy providers to engineers.

The research by Nixon Williams shows that between 2014 and 2015 the number of engineering businesses in the North East jumped by 17.6%, from 595 to 700. This compares to a 5% increase in engineering businesses across the UK as a whole, from 20,490 to 21,510 enterprises.[1] The number of engineering businesses in London jumped by 11.8% over the past year, from 1,985 to 2,220.

The North West is the third fastest growing region for engineering businesses, increasing by 9% between 2014 and 2015, from 1,895 to 2,065. This is due to the ongoing decommissioning of the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site in Cumbria (North West), which is one of the largest engineering mega-projects outside London. 

The analysis by Nixon Williams shows that despite the recovery in the engineering sector in most regions in the last few years, the number of engineering enterprises in the UK is still 11% below its 2009 peak. There were 24,220 engineering businesses in the UK in 2009.

Victoria Kelly, Practice Manager at Nixon Williams, comments: “The engineering sector is rebounding strongly, but that recovery is very unevenly distributed. At least three regions – Wales, the West Midlands and the South West – are still seeing a contraction in the number of engineering businesses. At the other end of the scale, you have the North East and London well into double-digit growth”.

“At the current rate of growth, it will be another three years before the total stock of engineering businesses exceeds the 2009 peak”.

Kelly adds: “London has led the pack in recent years, buoyed by Crossrail, which has fuelled engineering start-ups in the capital, but the North East has now taken up the baton. The North East has established itself as an engineering powerhouse with multinationals like Nissan, Hitachi, Komatsu and Caterpillar all present in the region”.

“Alongside automotive, the North East has vibrant rail, aerospace and defence sectors. All these sectors support a supply chain, which is where many engineering start-ups tend to emerge as providers to the large multinationals”.

Nixon Williams says that skills shortages in engineering, which have been evident in London and the South East for some years now, as starting to become more prevalent in the North East. A cohort of senior engineers are reaching retirement age, and apprenticeships have been slow to recover from their recessionary decline.

Victoria Kelly says: “It’s low-cost base and talent pool make the North East an attractive location for engineering businesses, but skills gaps are widening. While the number of apprentice starts is increasing, the drop-out rate is still very high. The North East needs to ensure that its skills base is appropriate to the needs of engineering businesses so that it continues to attract inward investment”.

Accountants close the pay gap on Lawyers

The pay gap between chartered accountants and lawyers has narrowed to just 13.7%, the smallest gap since the financial crisis, according to an analysis by Nixon Williams, one of the leading accountancy provider to contractors.

According to research by Nixon Williams, average pay for chartered and certified accountants jumped by 2.8% in 2015 to £35,923, the largest annual increase since the global financial crisis. Pay for chartered and certified accountants is now 3% higher than its pre-recession peak of £34,882 in 2007. At the same time, median pay for legal professionals (£41,602) is still 2.4% below its peak of £42,633 in 2009. At that point, median pay for accountants was £34,072, just over 20% less than legal professionals but now stands at just 13.7% less.

Nixon Williams says that accountancy firms have continued to build up legal services divisions and have been able to take work from law firms by offering discounted, fixed fees. Law firms, however, have struggled to make the billable hour model work in the post-crisis economy.

Simon Curry, Chief Executive Officer of Nixon Williams, comments: “Compared to the legal profession, demand for accountants held up reasonably well during the recession and has picked up markedly since. Pay for accountants and finance professionals has pushed past its pre-recession peak and is continuing to rise while lawyers are still struggling to come to terms with the post-recession market.”

“Law firms are facing intense competition from accountants who are moving into process-oriented, high street work. Accountancy firms are increasingly able to undercut law firms by offering a fixed fee pricing model. This is appealing in a market which has become less willing to accept the billable hours charged by many law firms.”

According to Nixon Williams, accountants were focused on cost-cutting and reducing headcounts during the recession, but the emphasis is shifting so that accountants with strong resource planning and change management skills are increasingly in demand as businesses grow. At the same time, large accountancy practices cut back on graduate training programmes during the recession, leading to a shortage of suitably qualified candidates to meet rising demand, which has pushed up pay.

Nixon Williams says that the legal profession has the reverse problem of too many lawyers when demand in many areas has stagnated or fallen.

Simon Curry says: “We are still producing too many lawyers at a time when law firms are closing down or merging, crime is falling and legal aid budgets being slashed. Law firms are getting rid of really expensive solicitors and getting more work done by paralegals, which is driving down average pay.”

“Despite the glut of talent, Brexit may produce a short-term boom in work for lawyers, as well as accountants, as organisations turn to their advisers as they prepare for the post-EU commercial landscape.”

Freelancers lead the remote working revolution

Among most permanent employees, remote working is considered a luxury. The same, however, cannot be said about the growing number of freelancers and contractors in the UK, for whom working remotely is very much part and parcel of their lifestyle.

This isn’t just the stereotypical view of the working habits of the self-employed either. It’s a theory supported by research into working trends carried out by the association for the self-employed, IPSE, in collaboration with freelance jobs board, PeoplePerHour.

A telling 87% of freelancers and self-employed workers who took part in the survey revealed they have worked remotely in the past 12 months. When you compare this to the mere 6% of employees who told TUC they regularly worked from home in 2017, it’s clear that the UK’s remote working revolution is being driven by the independent workforce.

The data suggests that remote working isn’t something freelancers only do once in a while either. According to the research, the majority (62%) of independent professionals spend their typical week working remotely and not onsite with their clients.

You’d be unwise to make the assumption that millennials account for most of the individuals embracing this modern way of working too. The stats show that freelancers and contractors over the age of 55 are more likely to have worked remotely in the past year (86%) than younger respondents (80%).

Why do freelancers work remotely?

Generally speaking, this kind of research usually focuses on the relationship between remote working and productivity. Such studies often make the point that remote working increases a person’s level of output, while, at the same time, allows them to build a better work-life balance.

IPSE and PeoplePerHour’s data digs a little deeper, however, and explores the specific advantages of remote working - advantages that you could argue contribute to an upturn in productivity.

For example, 55% of freelancers said one of the reasons they work remotely is for the flexibility it offers, while 43% said it saves them valuable commuting time. 41% believe it helps them strike a better work-life balance. 27% explained it allows them to save money, presumably in travel costs. 20% see it as a good way to spend more time with loved ones - the same number of whom work remotely to reduce stress.

Where does remote working take place?

Clearly, there are plenty of benefits to working outside the confines of a traditional office. But where do freelancers and contractors spend their working days, if not onsite with their clients? Well, a staggering 97% of independent professionals who work remotely said they often do so from the comfort of their own home. 32% regularly pitch up and work from public places, such as coffee-shops. Nearly one in four (24%) use their time wisely when travelling and work on the move. While somewhat surprisingly, only 13% of freelancers work from coworking spaces or work-hubs.

What are the drawbacks of remote working?

Importantly, the whitepaper also considers the challenges that this increasingly popular way of working poses to freelancers. IPSE and PeoplePerHour highlighted the issues that people often face when trying to communicate with clients, not to mention the feeling of isolation that can result from spending the majority of their time working alone.

Encouragingly, 20% of freelancers said they haven’t experienced any disadvantages when working remotely. Those who have faced difficulty stated two main areas of concern: trouble maintaining a strong relationship with clients and the need for more human interaction.

Interestingly, loneliness was a bigger issue among millennials, who the report suggested might not have yet built up their confidence or adopted techniques to help them connect with people. Whether this is the case or not remains to be seen. Regardless, it’s certainly something for freelancers to bear in mind.

So how do you create a healthy and productive remote working environment? 99% of individuals working this way made it clear they view technology as the key factor, with 78% of those unsurprisingly listing access to fast and reliable broadband as the priority.

While the report doesn’t explore ways freelancers can combat the mental health side of remote working, support groups, online communities and even work-hubs and coworking spaces each serve an important purpose.

Will more businesses embrace this way of working?

Despite these challenges, 93% of self-employed workers believe that remote working enhances their freelance experience. That said, when looking ahead, freelancers are split with regards to what the future holds for this liberating way of working. 35% expect all work will be carried out remotely, while 46% do not have faith in companies to allow remote working.

Although, whether certain businesses embrace remote working or not isn’t something freelancers need to worry about too much. As independents, these workers are ultimately in control of who they work for, when they work and where from.

Enhance your experience with Nixon Williams

Working remotely is a great benefit of working for yourself and so is increasing your take home pay and making the most of expenses. For more information about how Nixon Williams can help you boost your contracting career, visit our accountancy packages page.

IR35 Private Sector Reforms: Key Points For Contractors

The off-payroll working rules, commonly referred to as IR35, were first introduced in 1999. The introduction of this legislation was designed to ensure contractors who are working in a similar way as an employee would pay the same Income Tax and National Insurance contributions as employees typically would.

During the 2018 Budget, it was announced that the off-payroll working rules in the public sector would be extended to the private sector. The off-payroll reforms in the private sector are largely as expected and broadly mirror the reforms in the public sector.

As anticipated, the reforms will apply from 6 April 2020. HMRC have confirmed that they are not seeking to apply this retrospectively and will not carry out targeted campaigns into previous years when individuals start paying employment taxes under IR35 for the first time.

In light of this news, we have put together a breakdown to help you unpick just what was announced on Thursday 11th July 2019, and what this could mean for you:

The small companies exemption

As expected, the reforms will only apply to medium and large companies. The current rules will continue to apply to contracts with small companies, as defined in the Companies Act 2006.  This is HMRC’s attempt to minimise the administrative burden for small companies.

The 5% allowance

The draft legislation introduces a new power for HMRC to collect unpaid PAYE from other parties in the supply chain. This will apply to all contracts in the public sector and engagements with medium and large companies in the private sector from April 2020.

The regulations make provision authorising the recovery from a ‘relevant person’ of any amount that an officer of HMRC considers another person should have paid under PAYE regulations in respect of a deemed direct payment.

This means that if the fee payer fails to make deductions and pay the PAYE tax and NI liability, HMRC can recover the unpaid liability from other organisations in the supply chain. 

PAYE tax and NI deductions will be made at source by the 'fee payer'

If the client determines the engagement as inside IR35, the amounts paid to the workers intermediary for the workers services is to be treated as employment income. As with the public sector rules the fee payer will be responsible for deducting PAYE tax and NI and paying this to HMRC.

Introduction of a Status Determination Statement (SDS)

The legislation introduces a Status Determination Statement (SDS),this must be provided to the worker and the fee payer and include the status of the engagement and the reason for that decision. The client must have taken reasonable care to arrive at the decision in order for the SDS to be valid.

The client will have ‘fee payer responsibilities’ until they pass the SDS to the worker and the party they contract with i.e. they will be responsible for any tax liability. The last party in the supply chain to receive the determination is classified as the fee payer and will take fee payer responsibilities.

Introduction of a statutory client-led disagreement process

The legislation outlines a client-led status disagreement process, this will also apply to public sector engagements from April 2020.  If the worker or the fee payer disagrees with the Status Determination Statement (SDS) they can challenge this. The client must respond in 45 days to inform the worker or feepayer that either the decision stands and give the reasons why it has reached that decision or give the worker and the deemed employer a revised SDS.

Debt transfer provisions

The draft legislation introduces a new power for HMRC to collect unpaid PAYE from other parties in the supply chain. This will apply to all contracts in the public sector and engagements with medium and large companies in the private sector from April 2020.

The regulations make provision authorising the recovery from a ‘relevant person’ of any amount that an officer of HMRC considers another person should have paid under PAYE regulations in respect of a deemed direct payment.

This means that if the fee payer fails to make deductions and pay the PAYE tax and NI liability, HMRC can recover the unpaid liability from other organisations in the supply chain.

Improvements to the Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) tool

In the key information document, HMRC advises that they are making improvements to CEST and the improved tool will be available for use later in 2019.

Our thoughts

Mark Beal-Preston, Chief Commercial Officer of the Optionis Group which includes Nixon Williams, said:

"Across the industry, there is still a distinct lack of understanding about the new rules - from contractors to recruitment agencies and end clients. There are still question marks hanging over the reliability of government's CEST tool and if it can really make the necessary changes to needed provide accurate assessments in line with case law, as well as delivering planned education on how to prepare businesses in time."

Need more advice?

IR35 legislation can get confusing rather quickly and it can take time to get your head around it. We’ve had a wealth of experience in dealing with the finances of contractors, so we’re able to answer any questions you may have regarding the off-payroll rules. We’ve also put together a collection of helpful guidesIf you would like to speak to us about IR35, please get in touch with our team on 01253 843180.