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The rise and fall of worldwide oil prices

Rise Fall Oil Prices Infographic

It’s well known that the year from January 2014 to January 2015 was a tumultuous one for the oil industry. By the end of January 2015 crude oil prices had dipped to their lowest in five years, dropping down to just under $50 a barrel.  In our infographic we take a look at how that year unfolded, and the impact it had on those countries reliant on oil production. You can view it by clicking on the image above, or at this link right here. What do you think? Did the fluctuations have an impact on you or your job? Let us know what you think in the comments below, or over on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Our Budget reaction: What impact will it have on the contractor community?

Summer Budget Reaction

The first Conservative-only Budget in 19 years took place in the House of Commons yesterday and whilst there were some positives, the Tories announced a number of changes which will undoubtedly affect contractors in a negative way, with contractor dividends, expenses, and IR35 among the areas targeted by the Chancellor.

Chris Bryce, CEO of IPSE, noted: “The combination of the action on dividends, clamping down on travel and subsistence and potentially toughening up IR35 legislation could leave many contractors feeling pretty sore.”

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Get LinkedIn working for you

LinkedIn

Today’s job market is becoming increasingly competitive, especially as contractors are becoming progressively more important in bridging the skills gap throughout the UK. It follows, therefore, that creating an extensive network of influential contacts is an invaluable way for contractors to compile a prospective client list and raise their profile online.

LinkedIn really is an invaluable tool for this exact task. It can help position you as an expert in your field, catching the attention of specialist recruiters and potential clients. What’s more, you can use your LinkedIn profile to highlight your skillset through client recommendations, endorsements and membership of professional groups.

If you want to get more digitally savvy, sprucing up your LinkedIn profile and keeping it totally up to date is a great place to start. What’s more, you need to know how to make the most of LinkedIn’s special features to make sure that you’re maximising the potential to secure your next, big, game-changing contract.

Here are some of our most important tips to getting the most out of your LinkedIn profile and fully harnessing the power of the professionals’ social media network to make sure that you’re making waves in your industry.

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What changes would contractors like to see under the new Conservative government?

David Cameron

The official State Opening of Parliament took place on Wednesday 27th May, with the Queen’s Speech outlining the new Tory government’s agenda and proposed legislation for the upcoming parliamentary session.

Just over a month into their new five year term in government all eyes in the contracting community are focused firmly on what pre-election promises Cameron’s Conservatives are likely to come good on. In this blog we’re going to look at some of the most important aspects of working life in the UK that will make a contractors life easier, more secure and more profitable.

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Cameron’s cabinet reshuffle: key ministers for contractors

Sajid Javid

Much ink has been spilled, including by us here at Kingsbridge HQ, about the all new single party Tory government that few of us were expecting for the next five years. One of the key concerns for contractors, of course, is what policies the party will introduce that support the working life and growth of the independent professional sector.

However, of equal concern are the ministers that hold strategically important positions for contractors. Those that understand and appreciate the unique position that contractors hold in the landscape of modern British business and can advocate on their behalf are a necessity if independent professionals are to flourish and continue to play an important role in the UK’s economic recovery.

Here we’re going to take a look at some of the ministers that will play a significant role in the working lives of contractors for the next five years of Conservative government.

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The Top Ten Tips for New IT Contractors

IT Contractors

We’re big fans of a good list here at Kingsbridge HQ. It’s lucky for us, then, that the lovely people over at Intouch Accounting have put together the top ten tips for new IT contractors. Read on below.

Moving away from permanent employment and into contracting can be a confusing time for an IT  professional. As well as the holistic adjustments, you will want to understand the finer details before you make the leap. From decisions regarding operating under an Umbrella Company or setting up your own Limited Company to how taxation works to the benefits of contracting, it can be an overwhelming time – but it can also be a great opportunity to adapt in the industry and hone your skills.

As an IT professional, the decision to branch out into contracting doesn’t come easy – and whether you’re certain it’s the route for you or still making your mind up, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 tips for new IT  contractors to help you on your way.

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Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance

Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance

We’ve got some exciting news from Kingsbridge HQ. From today we’ll be known as Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance. If you currently hold a policy with us you don’t need to worry – nothing is changing apart from our name and website address. You’ll still get all the familiar benefits, the same excellent customer service, and the unbeatable, comprehensive insurance cover. You can now find us online at kingsbridge.co.uk.

Why the change? Since our very first day we’ve always been fully committed to contractors and independent professionals, and we wanted to reaffirm that commitment by changing the most visible part of our business: our name.

Since we formed Kingsbridge in 2007 we’ve seen the contractor community grow from strength to strength, and we’re proud to have been a part of that. As the contractor marketplace continues to develop, we’ll be there with our experience and our expertise, providing you with the insurance cover you’ll need to protect yourself in business. As always, if you need to discuss insurance, or if you have any questions about working as a contractor or an independent professional, we’d be happy to hear from you. You can contact us on 01242 362176, at info@kingsbridge.co.uk, or on Twitter @KingsbridgeCI.

Contractors: How to Handle Non-Compete Clauses

Non Compete Clause

Our friends at Lexoo have put together a great piece on non-compete clauses and how best to deal with them. Read on below.

Imagine you’re about to finish some contract work for the best known brand in your industry. It was  tough to come by so you were thrilled to get the job and with the boost it provided for your CV. Just days before the contract is up, a similarly well-known company in the same industry approaches you with an offer of employment. You’d be forgiven for thinking that everything was working out well, but unfortunately that’s not the case.

Remember that non-compete clause you signed as part of the contractor agreement?  Well, it’s come back with a bite. You were so happy to get the contract that you didn’t even read it.  The result? You can’t take the job you’ve been offered, or any like it for the next two years.

This scenario might sound farfetched, but it’s something that can and quite regularly does happen to those not diligently inspecting their contractor agreement. Most contractor agreements contain a ‘non-compete’ clause, which essentially sets out to what extent you are limited in working for other similar businesses in the immediate future.

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How every contractor can benefit from Professional Indemnity insurance

Professional Indemnity Insurance

We’ve no doubt that you’ve heard of Professional Indemnity insurance before. You may know it by a different name; errors and omissions, PI insurance or professional liability insurance. Whatever you call it, it means the same thing.

It’s insurance that provides cover for freelance contractors in the event that a client suffers financial losses as a result of a ‘breach of professional duty’. That could mean neglect of professional responsibilities, an error in work or omission on the part of the contractor.

It’s a pretty fundamental element of cover for any contractor. It will protect you if a client alleges you’ve made a mistake in any designs, advice or specifications you provide during the course of your contract.

Many freelance contracts now require you have a minimum level of Professional Indemnity cover and for good reason. Read on to find out what we think are some of the main benefits that this insurance can bring to a contractor’s life.

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Getting accredited: the benefits of professional memberships

Accreditation

Trust is a remarkable thing, especially in the world of contracting. If a client trusts you and the quality of your work then you build a reputation as a trustworthy professional and this can do wonders for your career and the opportunities to which you are exposed.

During the course of your career as a contractor you may have considered joining a professional body and becoming accredited as a way of further cementing client trust in your work.  You may have already done so as a result of certain, industry specific legislation, or you may be considering doing so for the business benefits. In this blog we’re going to look at some of the ways that becoming an accredited contractor can add value to your business.

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