The news for contractors has been mostly positive over the second half of March, although for many the Budget threw up as many questions as it answered. A number of specific issues have been addressed by parliament in the run-up to the election though so there are some signs that self employment is becoming more of a hot topic for politicians.

The Bank of England proved unlikely allies when they released a report which confirmed what most contractors and independent professionals already knew: that those choosing to work for themselves were doing so because it appealed to them and suited their lifestyles. Just as experts were criticising Ed Milliband for his negative view of self employment, the Bank of England’s report supported the view that self employment was a legitimate choice for most of the independent workforce. Far from being an unwelcome necessity, self employment offered much sought-after flexibility and more choice over their career paths, according to the report, which made Labour’s approach to self employment even more unfathomable.

Learn more here

Interim managers looking for work could find their prospects looking up, with an Ipsos MORI survey showing an increase in demand towards the end of 2014. The number of enquiries about positions rose significantly between the final quarter of 2013 and 2014, and the number of new assignments available also rose by 5 per cent over the same period. Billable hours were up as well, both between 2013 and 2014, and between the third and fourth quarter of 2014. Most of these opportunities were in the private sector with a large majority coming from the finance industry and this continued a trend from the final quarter of 2014 as well. Increased numbers of positions in life sciences and as a result of mergers and acquisitions means that interim management is a potentially lucrative option for many so far this year.

Read the story

IR35, the tax legislation which has had more column inches dedicated to it than almost any other in the world of contracting, has been under fire again. The IR35 Forum, set up specifically to introduce an element of transparency to the ongoing consultation process, has been criticised for their decision to make less of the contents of their meeting public by including only major decisions and talking points in the minutes. There was also criticism of the fact that it took around four months to deliver the document which ran to a mere 1,225 words, demonstrating that there was a lack of concern about providing interested parties with the means to engage with the forum. Limiting the level of information available, especially given the fact that the legislation itself is still generating significant controversy, seems contrary to the state purpose of the forum, according to many commentators.

More on this here

VAT is in the news again as the Budget made it easier for private sector companies to pitch for tax-payer funded works by removing the requirement to pay VAT charges. Until now, ‘in-house’ teams have had a significant advantage over external bodies when it comes to putting together proposals, given that they would need to reduce their prices by 20% in order to remain competitive in the field of public sector outsourcing. The change, which was scheduled to come into effect on 1st April 2015, was designed to allow eligible public bodies to reclaim VAT paid on outsourced and shared services.

Learn more

The Oil and Gas industries received a boost when it came to the budget, with a series of tax cuts announced in the Budget. IPSE expressed their relief that the contribution of these industries had been acknowledged when it came to providing them with the means to increase investment in the sector. Taxes were cut in order to free up funding for research, development, investment in infrastructure and exploration, all of which could secure the future of the sector for the long term and provide fuel security for the UK as a priority. This has meant that there are likely to be plenty of opportunities for contractors in the sector as companies are expanding their operations using skilled and experienced workers to help them achieve their goals.

Read the story here

In a month where every UK tax payer was anticipating the news from the Chancellor’s budget, much of the speculation focussed on the potential for independent professionals to benefit from the news. There were some other stories which grabbed the headlines in the run-up to the announcement.SJD Accountancy - Accountant

HMRC attempted to combat misunderstandings about the tax system in an attempt to reduce the number of people who were managing to file their tax returns on time, but making avoidable errors in doing so. Many people are aware of the potential to be fined for failing to complete your tax return, but the penalties for completing on time but incorrectly are less publicised.

This year, HMRC have contacted those who failed to fill out their details correctly and provided them with guidance on the system in order to help them ascertain where they went wrong, work out if they have ground for appeal, and talk them through the process if they need to do so. Click Here for more >

February has been a month with promise, according to industry experts who have been analysing the job markets and making predictions for the rest of the year. Certain sectors may be increasing their hiring, creating more opportunities for those who have specialised skills and experience in those industries.SJD Accountancy - News

A survey of the finance sector showed that there were plans by many financial institutions to increase their spending on IT, creating roles which are likely to be best suited to those who have expertise in system design. Most of those who are planning to up their budgets are doing so in order to reach new customers and increase engagement as well as attempting to optimise their efficiency.

Building societies are most likely to spend on IT infrastructure, with their responses to the study revealing a forward-thinking approach to apps and system development when it comes to planning growth. In contrast, banks are significantly behind their counterparts when it comes to investment in their IT systems and applications, believing that they were in no way vital to their future growth with just one per cent believing that this was the secret to ongoing growth.

Read more here

Click Here for more >

Despite oil prices falling this month, there is cause for optimism for contractors in the oil and gas sector as many companies are not contemplating a reduction in staffing as a result. Not only were many companies considering retaining their current head-counts, but there are signs that suggest a significant number will actually increase recruitment.SJD Accountancy - limited company

Forward thinking firms are likely to invest in research and exploration despite the slump in prices, and with the skills gap still looming large, it is likely that experienced and skilled contractors will continue to provide solutions to the ongoing hiring problems. Those with IT skills as well as experience in the oil and gas industries could find themselves in even more demand as many firms say they are considering cost-saving measures, many of which could well have a technological basis.

Read more

As well as the oil and gas industries, the construction sector is also likely to be profitable for contractors who can increase their profits in the wake of rising demand for new building. Contractors are likely to be able to increase their margins given that the cost of most materials is falling and many are passing their increased overheads on to their clients.

Click Here for more >

SJD Accountancy - late invoicesLate payment is a growing issue for many contractors and Limited company owners, and the IPSE is supporting calls to put an end to it.

Last year, research from payments provider Worldpay, surveyed over 1,000 mobile tradespeople and micro businesses in the UK, and found that 75% of respondents have had a late payment in the last year.

The survey also revealed that late payments are becoming a growing dilemma for contractors and small businesses, with nearly half (45%) of respondents saying they’ve had cashflow problems as a result.

Click Here for more >