It’s that time of year when the words “next year I’m going to drink less/join the gym/lose weight” start popping out of our mouths. Quite often, we really do mean it as well. We’ll then all hurtle into 2020 with the best of intention before promptly giving up on 12th January. But what about making some New Year’s resolutions that you can keep?
Before you became self-employed, Christmas at work was probably either the most fun you had all year, or a horror you’d prefer to forget. Office Christmases can be wildly hit or miss and, if we’re being honest, can be often more of a miss (except here at Kingsbridge HQ, obviously).
Just when we all thought things couldn’t get any more complicated with regards British politics, a 12th December General Election has been thrown into the mix. As the news is filled with stories of campaigns, Brexit, and whether or not nativity plays will need to be cancelled, most contractors are wondering what this (and the delayed Budget earlier this month) will mean for April 2020’s IR35 reforms.
Not that long back, not working from the office meant, instead, working from home or, maybe, a library. Then came the coffee shops with their free WiFi and the idea of more flexible workspaces began to gather pace, cumulating in the more formal co-working spaces now available in most cities across the UK. These offer WiFi, food services, printing facilities, meeting rooms, virtual office services and the company of other freelancers, and latest research has shown that these workspaces are growing in popularity with no sign of tailing off.
Contractor Umbrella reports that forecasts suggest there will soon be more than 20,000 co-working spaces globally and this number will reach 25,968 by 2022. That’s 56% growth in 2018 alone and an average of 2,500 new spaces popping up per year since 2015. Last year, a new flexible workspace opened in London every five days.
But what are the pros and cons of using these spaces?
It’s official. The UK’s creative sector is thriving after £1.1 billion in support from the Government in the form of tax reliefs.
Award-winning, water-cooler-moment TV series Killing Eve is just one such to benefit from them, and since they were introduced 2,955 films, 485 TV productions and 1,075 videogames have also benefitted. Meanwhile museums and galleries have benefitted from an exhibitions tax relief that has allowed them to host 300 exhibitions across the country.
Contracting is often thought of the arena of people further on in their careers, when they’ve built networks and gained enough experience to be considered experts in their field. However, that looks set to change with recent research by AAT and Survation revealing that 43% of 16-24 year olds have the ambition to set up their own business during their working life.
It was the Autumnal Equinox on 23 September and with children returning to school and a general feeling of new starts everywhere, what better time to reassess your habits and fall (ahem!) into better ones? By habits we do, of course, mean your freelancer habits which, let’s face it, can easily become neglected. And once they’re neglected, they can actually become a hindrance to your freelance business.
So, which habits likely need a look at and what should best practice look like? The Kingsbridge team has put together some of the ones we hear about most often.
It’s fairly commonplace these days for contractors to employ their spouse or partner to assist them – often in an administrative role. It makes sense on a number of levels:
- The admin work (bookkeeping, filing, schedule planning, invoice chasing, etc.) that you would otherwise have to do in your spare time can be done by someone else during work hours, freeing up time for your whole family.
- It means these tasks can be done from your home, rather than you having to provide an office space for someone else to work.
- It can provide significant tax benefits as it transfers some of your income to your partner. If he or she pays tax at a lower rate than you do, or if they have unused personal tax allowance, this is likely to create a tax saving for you and your household.
We’d understand if this is seen by some of you as a trick question. After all, when no one, right down to the Prime Minister, seems to have the foggiest idea what’s going on from one day to the next, how is the average contractor meant to be able to prepare?
Well, even in the midst of all the Brexit uncertainty, believe it or not, there are still things you can do. But, first, let’s take a look at what’s changed for contractors already since the 2016 referendum.
We recently saw a report on a survey compiled by CV-Library which revealed the most and least trusted professions in the UK. 1,200 UK workers were surveyed and the results were intriguing.
- Doctor (61.3%)
- Nurse (40%)
- Teacher (36.9%)
- Paramedic (36.5%)
- Police (23.2%)
- Armed forces (20.8%)
- Vet (16%)
- Scientist (14.3%)
- Judge (13.2%)
- Hairdresser (8.4%)
It seems that we associate trust with professions that are there to protect our best interests (73.4%), are there for a good cause (71%), are reliable (64.5%) and are friendly (16.2%). With that in mind, it’s no surprise to see vocational roles topping the list, particularly those based in healthcare, education and law enforcement.