Annually, the good people at APSCo hold a ball in support of a chosen charity. Each year the ball has a theme. 2017, for example, had ‘Miami Beach’. 2018 was based around the idea of ‘Aloha’. This year, on Friday 14th June, they’re going for something a little different – ‘Enter the Dragon’. Think Bruce Lee. Chinese dragons. Cheongsams. With centuries worth of Chinese tradition to choose from, it should be a spectacular event for all those in attendance.
In our final piece following on from last year’s Industry Insight event, we’re taking a look at what the future might hold for the recruitment industry as well as the challenges change is creating within the staffing ecosystem. We’ll be borrowing from John Nurthern’s excellent presentation, and if you wish to do further reading there is a wealth of information on the SIA website.
There has been, and continues to be, a fundamental shift in the way that people are working –perhaps more so than at any time since women entered the workforce in large numbers after the war. It could even be said that the freelancer surge is the industrial revolution of our time.
May is one of our favourite months here at Kingsbridge. It’s not just the blossom falling from the trees, that first smouldering barbecue of the year, or the thrill of needing to get the suncream out again. There’s also the fact that May treats us to not one but two Bank Holiday Mondays. Of course, for busy contractors and freelancers, sometimes taking a four-day week seems like a luxury only available to those in a steady 9 to 5. However, the chat around the idea of a four-day working week as standard has been hotting up lately. Since its annual conference last September, the TUC (Trades Union Congress) has been consistently calling for a four-day week as a way for employees to share in the benefits of the tech revolution. And research foundation the Wellcome Trust recently announced – and then spectacularly abandoned – a plan to trial a four-day week among its 800 head office staff. All of which got us wondering: is the four-day week a good idea? And could it work for contractors and freelancers? After all, freedom to set your own hours and work flexibly is a major draw to the contractor life for many people.
Self-employment as a contractor can seem like an easy way to keep your costs down: low overheads, no wage bill, perhaps a home office to save on commuting costs. However, the reality is that even experienced contractors can get caught out by all sorts of unexpected expenses. Here’s our list of the top unanticipated spends that contractors and freelancers face – and some tips on how to prepare for them.
We can’t imagine a job at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is always a barrel of laughs, but we’re sure that these outlandish expenses claims must have raised a few smiles around the office when they came in. Although the new tax year is now in full swing, it’s always a good idea to take a look back through some of the weird, hilarious and just downright cheeky expenses claims that self-employed workers have tried to sneak through the tax system over the past few years.
“Your brand is the single most important investment you can make in your business” Steve Forbes, editor of Forbes business magazine
“Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room” – Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO Amazon
You might think that brand identity is a concern only for big companies, or that, as a small business, you can’t afford to spend a lot of money on flashy marketing. But building a brand identity is all about communicating a consistent message about who you are and what you do, and it needn’t cost any money at all. This blog explores the basics of brand identity for contractors and freelancers and offers some simple principles for building a unified brand around your core asset: you!
As the quotes above tell us, branding isn’t a one-time marketing exercise. Rather, every encounter that a client or potential client has with your business should be considered part of your branding. Every interaction is an opportunity to build a positive relationship, and to communicate your story, values and benefits.
On 15th and 16th May the Kingsbridge Group will be entering a team into the 2019 BIBA Hackathon. Featuring Nathan Halsey, Stuart Bell and Simon Wilkinson from Kingsbridge Contractor Insurance, John Clarke from Kingsbridge Insurance Brokers, Ed Woodcock from Dinghy and Matt Tyler from Larsen Howie, the team will join seven other groups from a variety of insurance and tech backgrounds to tackle challenges and work collaboratively in order to come up with some ground breaking innovations.
Everything is starting to feel a bit fresher and warmer. But sometimes the signs of spring can make going into the office every day feel like more of a slog. April is a great time to consider your position and decide whether you are ready for your next challenge. Many contractors held “normal” jobs for years before they decided to go it alone and take advantage of the freedom, flexibility, and financial advantages that can come with being self-employed. But how do you know when you’re ready to take the plunge, leave the 9-to-5 and take the reins of your own company? Here are five signs that it might be time for you to go self-employed:
Your reputation precedes you
If you are fighting off calls from headhunters, or if clients, customers or partners of your current employment keep trying to twist your arm into doing some extra bits for them “on the side”, then you should definitely consider giving contracting a go. Your expertise and experience are clearly visible to others and therefore should be easy to market, and you have a pre-existing group of potential clients to target for those precious first few contracts.
Off-Payroll working – what is it?
Most contractors probably already have a basic understanding of IR35 legislation: HMRC’s framework to try and weed out “disguised employees” – people who are claiming to be self-employed but whose work operates along lines they deem closer to an employer-employee relationship (if you’ve never heard of it, check out our previous guide here). It’s also commonly referred to using HMRC’s terminology of “off-payroll working”.
What some may not be aware of is that IR35 regulations have already undergone reform recently in the public sector, with the changes due to be extended to the private sector from April 2020. There is a consultation open at the moment which purports to inform the Government’s implementation of the new rules, but many contractors are sceptical that their voices will be taken into account.
HMRC’s most recent defeat by the queen of daytime TV, Lorraine Kelly, has thrust IR35 regulations in the spotlight once again. But how can contractors be assured that they won’t fall foul of HMRC’s crackdown on “disguised employment”? Much of the press coverage focused on the judgement that Kelly does not appear on television as herself, but rather performs the chatty persona “Lorraine Kelly”. Although you might not be able to get away with arguing that you perform your freelance duties as a more entertaining version of yourself, there were many other aspects of Kelly’s successful defence that can serve as useful guidance for contractors with regard to the various indicators of “genuine self-employment” as outlined in IR35 legislation. The judge for Kelly’s trial declared that they “did not consider this a borderline case” as they dismissed the £1.2million bill for tax and national insurance that had been claimed against her.