Business News

Rich pickings for engineering contractors

The demand for specialist engineering contractors continues to rise steadily across the UK, fuelled by huge public sector maintenance projects as well as the rapid export growth of the automotive and aerospace industries.

The market for engineering specialists is candidate led with contractors often finding themselves in a position to juggle multiple contract offers given the dearth of talent in the sector. This has had a knock-on effect on remuneration rates as organisations in both the public and private sectors are prepared to pay top dollar for the expertise needed to bring their projects to completion.

So what are the prized niche skills that suitably qualified and trained engineering contractors bring to the table?

Secrets for Contracting Success: part 2

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Steven Baker has been contracting as a software tester in the retail banking sector for the past six years. It was on his daily commute from Edinburgh to Glasgow that the native New Zealander decided to produce a top tips guide for new and experienced contractors.

We begin the second part of our interview by asking what contractors can do to secure their next project assignment…

HiredByMe launches Portable PES

hiredbyme icon HiredByMe launches Portable PES, solving a £180 million problem for the City’s contractors.

HiredByMe, the compliance and onboarding firm, last week launched the Portable PES – a product allowing contractors to earn more by spending more time on engagements and less time unpaid on the bench.

Secrets for Contracting Success: part 1

101 icon It was on his daily commute from Edinburgh to Glasgow that Steven Baker decided to write ‘101 Contracting Tips – Valuable Tips for New and Experienced Contractors’.

A highly experienced software tester with a retail banking background, Steven decided to take advantage of the greater earning potential of contracting in 2010. He has worked for a number of leading retail banks, including Santander, Lloyds Bank, Westpac and Rabobank.

In the typical ‘Kiwi’ tradition of seeing the world, the Auckland native’s journey has taken him to Sydney, Dublin, London, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Steven now lives in the Scottish capital with his wife and daughter.

We decided to test his knowledge in the first of our two-part interview…

LinkedIn for contractors

LinkedIn is an incredibly versatile and effective tool for contractors – and one of the ways to make social media work for you. It can help you to not only find your next assignment but also to promote your expertise and personal brand. We look at some of the things you should be doing to boost your networking power and also some of the mistakes to avoid.

Top traits of a contractor

Having looked at self-promotion, our focus this time turns to the characteristics that you need to succeed as a contractor. So, just what are those key qualities and attributes that are common to all top contractors?

Checklist: Contract Exit Strategy 

Last time we looked at some of the key things that contractors can do to promote themselves and their business effectively. But what should you be thinking about as your current contract draws to a close? Do you have an exit strategy in place?

Self-marketing top tips for contractors

Continuing our series of top tips for contractors, we examine the importance of promoting yourself and your business.

Contracting in the UAE

Contracting opportunities abound in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is fast becoming the technology hub for the Middle East.

What it takes to succeed as an IT contractor

Looking for some advice about life as an IT contractor in the banking and financial services sector? Thinking about working abroad perhaps? Not sure you’re cut out for contracting? With over 20 years’ experience, IT contractor Daniel tells his story and offers his top tips that may help your IT contracting career.

‘Auf wiedersehen’ EU

An uncertain future for Britain and its contracting sector

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Contractors and freelancers face an uncertain future following the UK’s decision to exit the European Union (EU) following the historic referendum on Thursday 23 June 2016. The results of the vote showed 17,410,742 (51.9%) in favour of leaving versus 16,141,241 (48.1%) in favour of remaining.

Coworking Contractors

Contracting can be a lonely occupation, working alone at home or spending hours commuting back and forth to the current client’s office. But the growth of coworking spaces right across the country is providing an alternative solution and one which suits the contractor market very well.

The true value of umbrellas for contractors

Umbrellas have certainly come under some fire over the past year or so and we’ve all read and heard some bad press portraying them all as the ‘baddies’ who just want to take their cut and deprive the contractor of hard-earned money.  They just process the payroll and expenses, right? WRONG!  They do a whole lot more than that and are key to supporting and sustaining a strong flexible workforce that is vitally important to the growth and success of UK plc.

Neardesk comes to Contractor Weekly

Contractor Weekly is today launching its partnership with co-workspace specialists Neardesk.

Range Rover Evoque Review

The Range Rover Evoque turned heads when it went on sale back in 2011 and has been a massive hit for Land Rover. Such was the demand when it first launch that waiting lists were months and months long. And it’s not hard to see why.

Protecting your car over winter

Advice from Kudos Vehicle Management

With dark gloomy winter nights only around the corner, don’t wait until it freezes before you start to think about your wheels! It’s important to look after your car all year round, regardless of whether you own it or lease it. However, different times of the year require different approaches to protecting your car – you need to take into account the changing weather and driving conditions brought about by the changing seasons.

Revival of the Electric Car

The global economic recession in the late 2000s led to increased calls for automakers to abandon fuel-inefficient SUVs, which were seen as a symbol of the excess that caused the recession, in favor of small cars, hybrid and electric cars.

Top tips for contractors thinking of an electric car!

An electric car offers lots of advantages for contractors, self-employed and small businesses, from simple running and maintenance costs to tax benefits and with an increase of between 50% and 150% sales in Europe this year alone, the attraction of ultra-low cost electrical travel has seriously started to raise its game.

Driving our way back into fashion

Company car demand

The demand for company cars continues, with fuel economy, low maintenance costs and minimising company car tax through low CO2 emissions behind most corporate decisions.

FREE Webinar- 23rd September

How to write a killer LinkedIn profile that dovetails with your CV

Are you concerned that you're not getting the most from your LinkedIn profile?

3 top tips to make your LinkedIn profile stand out from the crowd

There is no doubt that social media is becoming an essential tool for professionals, not only for networking but for seeking new roles and highlighting your personal attributes and skill set. At the forefront of these social networks is LinkedIn.

6 Reasons to become a contractor

For some, contracting can be an intimidating prospect. Working in this manner does come with some degree of uncertainty and risk however the pros certainly outweigh the cons.

8 Common mistakes to avoid as a contractor

Advice from PayStream

There are numerous benefits to operating as an umbrella or limited company contractor. Increased flexibility and the chance to earn higher pay rates are just some of the benefits that have seen many individuals making the move from permanent to temporary work.

Has Audi Made the Fuel of the Future?

Over the last few years in this country there has been a big push towards diesel; indeed, motorists and car enthusiasts have been positively encouraged to buy the new generation of cleaner diesel vehicles. However, Kudos Vehicle Management report that experts are saying that the contaminants contained within diesel emissions are allegedly a major cause of pollution, diesel is rapidly becoming the ‘bad guy’ of the climate change argument.

FREE Webinar 19th August

How to write a contractor CV that wins more work

Would you like to increase your daily rate by presenting a more powerful business case to your target audience?

FREE Webinar 15th July

How to write a killer LinkedIn profile that dovetails with your CV

Are you concerned that you're not getting the most from your LinkedIn profile?

Is the content of your LinkedIn profile merely replicating the content of your CV?

The mystery of self-employment

BIS to review the secrets of the self-employed

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) has asked the entrepreneur Julie Deane, OBE, founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company, to carry out an independent review of self-employment in the UK.

Contractor to contractor tips on accounting

Advice from a fellow contractor

This article was written by Graeme, an IT contractor client of Gorilla Accounting.

Over my 8 years of contracting I’ve used different accountants including a local one man band and a large contractor specialist accountant firm but I’m currently with Gorilla Accounting, joining just as they launched. I’ve also listened to many other contractors experiences of running their finances over that time so thought I’d put together a couple of tips to avoid the most common mistakes new, and in some cases, experienced contractors make.

FREE Webinar

How to write a contractor CV that wins more work

Would you like to increase your daily rate by presenting a more powerful business case to your target audience?
Do you want to know how some contractors are getting a 500% increase in interview activity?
Are you frustrated that you are not getting interviews for contracts that you believe you are more than capable of performing?

What’s happening to the UK’s Oil & Gas Industry?

The outlook for the Oil & Gas industry seems bleak. According to Oil & Gas UK’s Activity Survey 2015, the expenditure last year outweighed the sales earned in the industry, with investment and exploration set to fall throughout this year.

Two years of commuting ahead? Time for a lease

The sales of cars may be booming again, is buying one really your best option? Sure, buying a new vehicle can help the wider economy, but when it comes to your personal finances, it isn’t necessarily the best option. And with the prices of train and bus tickets rocketing, the crowds and set schedules, public transport may not be the best option for commuters either?

Business Entertainment Expenses

It is best to arrange for your company to pay for these directly because, although this is a disallowable item for corporation tax, it is still more tax effective than paying for it personally if you are a higher rate tax payer  IE if the corporation tax rate is 20%, you will in effect pay tax on these items at this rate, as opposed to paying tax @ 25% as a higher rate tax payer using dividend income used for the purchases (or even more with income from employment of course).

Dividends and the importance of Dividend Declaration forms

I advise contractors that a Dividend Declaration Form/voucher should he held on your records to cover all dividends paid out by your company.

Auto Enrolment

You may have read or heard a few things about autoenrolment - the following is how I understand things, having looked into it and having talked the provisions of autoenrolment through with my IFA - after he has researched into it and after he has contacted the Pensions Regulator directly for advice:

Rented Accommodation and Subsistence as an Expense

Your company can pay the rent when the expense is for business purposes eg when you rent an apartment away from home but near to the project on which you are working. Best to get the rental agreement in your company’s name if at all possible.

Tax Planning for tax year end 5 April 2015

Now may be an opportune time to consider issues for the current tax year which ends on 5 April 2015.

FREE Webinar: Win more work in 2015 with a great CV and LinkedIn profile

A Contractor's CV should be written differently to a permanent job seeker!

Let's face it, most people struggle with the concept of writing a CV regardless of their profession or career direction; not least Contractors who have a whole portfolio of assignments to somehow capture in their CV.

HMRC Helplines Criticised Again

Over the festive period, social media websites were filled with taxpayers being put on hold for long periods of time or in some instances cut off whilst trying to contact HMRC’s helpline.

The High Street + Self-Employed Status = Mortgage Disaster

You know that the way you work is special. You’re a contractor or freelancer or company director – the way you pay yourself is not run of the mill. You may even hire an accountant to work it all out for you. So why would you expect an inexperienced bank advisor on the High Street to get it?

High Street mortgage lenders work to a set model. That model, nine times out of ten, revolves around PAYE. That’s it. Self-employed people struggle to get mortgages because they do not use PAYE.

Contractor MVL – Explaining Non cash assets

What are non cash assets?

Many contractors we see own various assets through their limited companies.

This can include property, office equipment, debtors and other ‘tangible’ assets.

Companies can also own other ‘intangible’ assets such as intellectual property, websites etc.

FREE Webinar: Win More Work in 2015

…with a great CV and LinkedIn profile

Let's face it, most people struggle with the concept of writing a CV regardless of their profession or career direction; not least Contractors who have a whole portfolio of assignments to somehow capture in their CV.

Umbrella Companies Explained

We speak to Patrick McConnell about the current state of the umbrella market, speaking about the recent rise in umbrella company workers and what the biggest draws are for professionals who are about to take the leap from permanent employment.

Am I an Employee of My Company?

Are you an employee of your own limited company? Graeme Bennett of Forbes Young provides an answer.

I am often asked about the employment status of my clients. It is a little on the technical side! So here goes:

Why All Umbrellas Are NOT Equal

There’s a plethora of umbrella companies to choose from. Many advertise generous rates of take home pay and make boasts about the level of expenses a contractor may claim. Some even go so far as to claim to be “HMRC approved” or “100% compliant”.

PCG Changes Name

Complete rebrand for contractor association

The Professional Contractors Group has this week revealed its new name: the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE).

Closing Your Limited Company

New service offers advice to contractors winding down limited companies

Johnston Carmichael, one of Scotland’s leading Chartered Accountancy and business advisory firms, has invested into the development of a new service designed to help contractors unlock cash in their limited companies, which was launched on 6 August 2014.

Win More Work!

We are supporting 'Contractor Winning Work Month' which is an initiative run by The CV & Interview Advisors who specialise in personal branding and career enhancement in the contractor/interim management market.

How Important is IR35 and Tax Planning to Contractor Accountants?

One of the main issues facing contractors operating through their own company is IR35. Especially as there are a lot of false stories and rumours about this legislation in the contractor community.

Crunch Extend IR35 Compliance Offer

Crunch Accounting are offering new clients free contract assessments to aid compliance, and support contractors with their IR35 position.

Moving on up

Climbing up the ladder is easy for some contractors especially those in construction, however it has also been reported that the number of freelancers, not only, on the property ladder but also moving up it, has now doubled compared to a year ago.

Contractors Working Away

Whatever you choose to do for a living can cause problems but how you deal with them can make all the difference.  So I was wondering what are the challenges facing contractors when working and living away from home?

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