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The Current State of Contracting

Contracting experts Seb Maley, Mervyn Stanley & Joanna Holloway shed some light on the current state of contracting in the 2013 business market.

The number of contractors that currently operate in the UK is growing each day, and as a result of numerous reports and statistics, this on-going trait shows no sign of slowing down. Since the mid-90s, when contracting is said to have really ‘taken off’, the number of professionals entering the field of limited company trading has been rising each year; 2013 being no different in this trend. Throughout a number of sectors, the amount of temporary contract positions are increasing steadily, the latest salary survey update from for example showing that the number of new IT contract vacancies advertised online grew by 1.7% during the first quarter of 2013.

With such an influx of professionals entering the contracting market, the importance of maintaining limited company finance, safety and stability is essential, and for those who are new to the game will no doubt struggle to keep on top of their self-employed obligations.

As an attempt to aid any limited company contractor who is concerned about some of the current issues facing the professional market, we have spoken to some of the top experts in the contracting field to comment on many of these important matters.

Mervyn Stanley, who works in contractor accounting, highlights the importance of outside help in a time when contractors are feeling overwhelmed with both paperwork and self-management: ‘The recession saw an increasing number of contractors attempt to handle their business administration themselves. New legislation on RTI (Real Time Information) or even the recent amendments to IR35 in the wake of the budget mean that now there has never been a more important time to have qualified and knowledgeable support on board.’

Finance expert Joanna Holloway commented on the current state of contracting, stressing the importance of company finances in a post-recession business environment: ‘The contracting community is continuing to grow in the UK, with many people already having made the jump and significant numbers of workers saying they are seriously considering it. We need to remove any blockers that could prevent this skilled workforce from starting out. They should be treated like the businesses that they are, as access to finance is an essential lifeline in the early days.’

IR35 expert Seb Maley has been working closely with contractors for over a decade and has followed the many twists and turns of the IR35 legislation intently. Speaking to us, Seb reinforces the importance of IR35, especially in a professional route that seeing so many new faces: “Between 2008 and 2011 the IR35 legislation was virtually dormant, with only 60 reported enquiries throughout the entire period. However, those days are over as the government look to crack down on perceived tax avoidance in a big way. HMRC have created specialist teams of status inspectors and the risk of IR35 enquiry has never been higher.

Much of HMRC’s attention seems to be focused on personal service companies in the public sector at the moment, but they will undoubtedly broaden their attention to contracting in general. With more and more people incorporating limited companies, now is the time to ensure you are confident of your status.”

If any of the topics touched upon within this article are relevant to you, then please feel free to email any questions or queries through to our team, and we shall see that they are answered.


By Troy Stevens


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1 thought on “The Current State of Contracting”

  1. AContractor

    I would like to see an article written from the client perspective. The fact that there are x% more contractor opportunity is not all good news. It could indicate the clients shift to a temporary workforce rather than a pool of permie but the clients attitude to this is they are temp-permies and most of the ‘contractors’ that get the gigs haven’t a clue about IR35. If that status continues to grow HMRC will naturally want to focus more on us.

    More roles for contractors great but lets have some focus on the shift of attitude from clients who see us as temp permies and the number of contractors who are nothing more than the same. I think this is a grown problem that is not being looked at in these articles.

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