Tag Archive | "Contractor accountants"

HMRC To Open Scottish HQ Hub in 2020


There has long been calls for a HMRC HQ in Scotland. Well, good news, because they are on track to open a hub by 2020.

The new high tech hub will have the opening ceremony in the spring time and is expected to be the main base for all Scottish HMRC staff.

Which city is this HQ Hub going to be in? Inverness, Glasgow, Fife, Dundee…The Highlands, maybe?

No, no, no, no…and no.

The location is going to be…

[drum roll please]

Edinburgh!

Ah yes, Edinburgh. A city well known for castle’s, kilts, and…contractors, of course.

It is right there in the fair city of Edinburgh where thousands of Scottish contractors ply their trade and pay their taxes. So it makes sense to have the HMRC base themselves right there, in the centre of the action.

If you are a Scottish contractor reading this, then you might be wondering about Edinburgh contractor accountants? Where can you find a decent one?

In our opinion, the best option is look at our recommended contractor accountants, right now at the right hand side of the page.

Sure, you could pound the streets of Edinburgh and look for an accountant on the high street, but how many of them specialise in working with contractors? Not many, you can be assured of that.

You will mostly find general accountants in the city of Edinburgh, and while they are good when you have a general kind of business…when you have a specific kind of business, such as being a contractor, then you need an expert in that field.

As the old saying goes: you wouldn’t hire a dentist to fix your John, and just like you wouldn’t hire a plumber to mend your choppers, if you see what we mean.

If you do see what we mean and we are both on the same wave length then you are in the right place here at Contractor Accountants.

Just like the Scottish HMRC staff are going to be in the right place (Edinburgh) and at the right time (2020).

It is expected there will be around 2600 staff working at the new HMRC HQ and the building is going to cost a cool £240 million.

So let’s all raise our glasses to the Scottish HMRC, Scottish contractors, and Scottish contractor accountants. I’m sure it is going to be the start of a fresh new era for contractors North of The Border, and even South of The Border. No matter which side of the border this is good news all round.

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The 15 Year Old Contractor Accountant


It seems contractor accountants are getting younger and younger. Gone are the days of a suit and tie…say hello to the school uniform.

A 15 year old lad called Ranveer Singh Sandu from Croydon in South London has already started his own accountancy firm.

Right now, as we speak, he has 10 paying clients on his books, and within 10 years he aims to be a millionaire!

There is certainly a strong demand for contractor accountants who know what they are doing – here at Contractor Accountants DOT COM, we can vouch for that – and if Ranveer plays his cards right them I’m sure he will be well on his way to a 7 figure income in no time at all.

He might even become one of the trusted contractor accountants recommended by us here at CA. Although he has a few more years until he becomes that good.

All of the best contractor accountants (found on the right hand side of the page) have many years of experience under their belt and are put through their paces by our demanding team. Once they jump through our hoops then they earn the right to be called…

A Contractor Accountant Certified “Contractor Accountant!”

At the moment 15 year old Ranveer is still juggling his schoolwork with his accountancy work, although I’m sure once he gets school out the way and focuses 100% on his customers then things will really start to take off for the lad.

Right now he charges between £12 and £15 an hour for his services. And to date, he has pocketed a cool £3000 from his clients.

Hey that’s pretty good if you ask us. He is making a bit more than the paper boy or girl, you can be sure of that.

“I have always known what I wanted to do – I decided when I wanted to be an accountant was when I was 12 years old. It isn’t that hard juggling school and my business, I haven’t had that much stress.” – said Ranveer when asked for a comment.

Here at Contractor Accountant we would like to raise our glasses to the 15 year old accountant and wish him the best of luck. Maybe one day he can become “Contractor Accountant Certified,” and even…

A millionaire contractor accountant!!

For now though, his main focus should be on passing those GCSE’s.

And your main focus? You, the contractor who wants to save money on tax and get your books in order without any hassle from the tax man or woman? Your main focus should be to hire a contractor accountant right here at this website.

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Ronal…DOH! (Tax Evasion)


Regular readers of Contractor Accountants will be aware of footballer Ronaldo and his long running tax evasion case in Spain.

The ex Real Madrid player was accused of avoiding his Spanish tax duties, and instead, stashing away his cash in the Cayman Islands.

The football star, who now plays for Juventus, has always claimed his innocence, but in the past week the whole case was turned upside down.

It now turns out that Ronaldo is guilty of the crime. And what do they do with those guilty of tax evasion in Spain? They chuck them in the slammer, of course.

So is Ronaldo about to swap the black and white stripes of Juventes for a black and white convict outfit? Will he be wearing the stripes of a Madrid prison football jersey?

In a word…NO.

Despite being guilty and letting out a big “DOH!” in court…it appears that Ronaldo will avoid spending any time in prison.

Instead, here at CA we understand he has agreed to pay around 19 million Euros to the Spanish tax authorities and in return he will be spared time in the jail house.

Eye witnesses in the court room said everyone let out a “GASP” when the judge slammed down the hammer and announced “23 Months For You.”

But that “GASP” turned to “RELIEF” when the judge offered Ronaldo a deal.

“Give us 19 million Euros and we keep you out of the handcuffs,” the judge may or may not have said (Our Spanish is not that good).

“DEAL,” replied Ronaldo, without even thinking.

You know something tells me that Ronaldo could have avoided this whole mess if he had a contractor accountant by his side.

During the years of 2011 and 2014 it is said that Ronaldo hid 15 million Euros from Spain. It really does make you wonder who his accountant was during this time? Did he even have an accountant?

Maybe he did his own books and just scribbled down some numbers everytime he got a cheque through the post or a bag of cash from his agent? Whatever happened…I reckon he could have avoided this with a contractor accountant in his corner.

Just like Jose Mourinho. Word on the street is he visited Contractor Accountants and declared us the “special ones.”

Or Wayne Rooney…who found us while sunning himself up on Skegness beach.

The moral of the story here is simple. No matter if you are a famous professional footballer or just an average contractor working in an office…you need to hire one of the best contractor accountants to be on your side.

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Tax Firm to the Stars…Faced With £50 Million Bill From HMRC


When you do the books for celebrities such as Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Beckham then you expect a bit of the limelight.

It comes with the territory…celebs = red carpets and camera’s flashing, plus millions of pounds going through their bank accounts. You expect a bit of that to rub off on you.

A tax firm that goes by the name Ingenious Media no doubt expected that when people such as Mr Beckham walked into their offices and handed over his accounts.

“I have 1 column for income and 1 column for expenses,” he could have said, and although that is certainly a simple system, it still pays to have experts go over everything and check the numbers are in order.

Just like the accountants and tax firms listed right here at Contractor Accountants DOT Com. They are all methodical in their approach, and even when doing the books for footballers and musical stars, they treat them just like your ordinary contractor.

It doesn’t matter if you have 100 caps for England or 100 Grandad caps in your sock draw…our recommended contractor accountants will treat you all equally and fairly.

Back to the story and it appears that Ingenious Media have been accused by HMRC of helping their famous and wealthy clients pay less tax…using loophole tax breaks by investing in the British Film Industry.

That sounds above board, you would think, but according to HMRC it is far away from being above board.

In fact, they are accusing Ingenious Media of being downright under hand, to the point where they are now demanding $50 million quid in cash, directly into their bank account. No cheques allowed.

Not one to back down, Ingenious Media are fighting back against the allegations and are expected to take the matter into a court of law.

Who knows which side of the hammer a judge will slam down when giving out the verdict? The one thing I do know is that I’m sure they will consider all of the facts and evidence before coming to a decision

It seems the famous are always in the news when it comes to tax, doesn’t it? Especially footballers.

Who can forget Lionel Messi and his messy tax situation, or Ronaldo and his brush with Spanish authorities. They both nearly ended up in prison of course, but they paid a fine instead.

Fortunately our main man Wayne Rooney is well out of this now. Sure, he’s had his tax problems in the past, but now he is at the other side of the Atlantic and keeping his tax affairs all above board.

Apparently when he arrived in Washington DC he said to his wife, Coleen…

“Here we are in Washington…let’s go and visit Donald.”

“Donald Trump?” she replied.

“No silly…Donald Duck!”

No matter which Donald our man Rooney eventually meets…as long as he sticks with Contractor Accountants he will be just fine.

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Making Tax Digital Makes a Comeback


We all thought making tax digital had been shelved. Officials at HMRC had apparently “pulled the plug” on the idea.

To be honest, most contractors were happy at the news. They didn’t like the idea of filing a tax return 4 times a year…even if it was online.

Well, get ready to be shocked, because word on the street is that making tax digital is making a comeback.

Yes you read that right. While the millions of contractors and self employed of our nation assumed MTD had gone the way of the dinosaurs, it appears HMRC were working behind the scenes, in a secret lab in a undisclosed location, in order to bring back the idea of a quarterly tax return online.

In fact, if recent reports are to be trusted then HMRC already have 35 software suppliers who are chomping at the bit to get this thing “LIVE” and “PUBLIC.”

Not only that, but 18 small businesses have completed a round of testing of the software, and they say everything is almost ready to launch.

When exactly? Next April according to insider sources, where high income contractors will be expected to report their earnings on a quarterly basis.

Hang on a minute. Have we not heard this one before? I seem to remember reporting a few times about how MTD was getting ready to launch…only to have the rug pulled out from under us all at the last minute.

It got shelved so quietly that many pundits wondered if it would ever see the light of day again. Well, here we are once again and yes, the light of day is about to be seen.

If it really is a GREEN LIGHT on project MTD then we can expect chaos in the contracting world.

As I mentioned earlier, most contractors were luke warm at best on the idea of doing a tax return 4 times a year, and there were some who just downright disliked the idea.

Also, let’s not forget that it requires digital financial records to be kept if you have to file your tax returns online, and in my opinion, this is sure to ignite mayhem and confusion among those contractors who try to go it alone.

The solution? A contractor accountant of course…who else? Nobody.

If you have a contractor accountant in your corner then they can become your go-to expert on all things “making tax digital.”

You can even hand everything over to them and allow them to wave their magic wand and get everything setup for you.

You might not agree with MTD…but you can make it a lot easier with a contractor accountant.

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You Have a Tax Refund…NOT!


Plenty of contractors got their tax returns in by the 31st January deadline and paid with their credit card…some even got tax refunds, so they thought.

Emails have landed in thousands of inboxes over the last few weeks all claiming to be from HMRC and with the headline..”You Have a Tax Refund.”

This no doubt was a nice surprise for all of those hard working contractors out there, who would obviously like to receive a cheque in the post.

Unfortunately, these emails are not legit, and in fact, if you click on the link and then go to the website then you are asked to put in your personal details such as bank details and credit card information.

This isn’t the real HMRC website though, oh no, it is a fake website setup by those crafty criminals that operate in cyber space.

Not only that, but they have also started to send out texts as well as emails, all claiming to be from “HMRC.” It’s easy to see why so many contractors fall for these scams. They look so legitimate.

One contractor who wishes to remain nameless said that he got an email from “HMRC” promising him a tax refund. All he had to do was click on the link…but this particular contractor was having none of it.

Instead, he contacted HMRC directly through one of their direct communication channels and was met with the response he anticipated. The response? That HMRC will never, under any circumstances send out an email or text telling people they are due a tax refund.

Official correspondence usually comes through your own personal account on the HMRC website, or they may even send you a letter. That is how they do things.

Also, a spokesperson for HMRC did mention that anybody who has been scammed by this cyber criminals, well, if you let them know then they will do everything in their power to investigate the issue and try to bring these online thieves to justice.

I’ve heard the government and Police force are working very closely together on this, and in the future we should start to hear about arrests being made.

For now though, the best piece of advice I can give to any contractor to avoid becoming the next victim is to hire an accountant.

Not just any accountant…a contractor accountant, someone who specialises in controlling the tax affairs of our nations self employed freelance and contracting professionals.

You don’t even need to bother about clicking on emails from “HMRC,” all you need to do is send everything to your accountant to sort out.

If you get a tax refund then great. Your contractor accountant will arrange it with HMRC and make sure you get the cheque you owed, directly in the mail to your mail box.

Don’t delay…hire a contractor accountant today.

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Ronaldo in Court Over Tax Charges – Faces Jail


Regular readers of this blog will be aware of the Cristiano Ronaldo tax saga that has been going on since last year. Well, this week he was in court.

The Real Madrid star took to the dock and faced prosecutors who claim he has evaded almost £14 million pounds in tax. If found guilty in a Spanish court of law, then it’s possible Ronaldo could be doing some jail time, with a potential 3 and half years banged up on the cards.

Of course, because Ronaldo doesn’t have previous, then it’s unlikely that he is going to end up in the slammer if found guilty, but it is a possibility.

Also, you have the recent case of Barcelona player Lionel Messi who was found guilty of tax evasion in Spain. While some pundits were saying that he faced jail time, in the end all that happened is that he got a fine and had to pay back taxes.

I’m sure Messi didn’t enjoy writing out that cheque, but when you’ve got millions in the bank and don’t have to join the prison football team, then I’m sure the cheque got paid out to the Spanish government pretty quickly.

So will Ronaldo also be writing out a cheque? Right now it’s difficult to say, mainly because although the Real Madrid star did appear in court, he didn’t actually make any statement, although in a previous statement issued to the press he did mention that there has been no wrong doing on his part.

This court case in Madrid (where no guilt or innocence has been proven remember) has really caught the attention of media outlets worldwide, with one onlooker noting that 40 TV crews and 100 journalists were waiting outside of the court for a chance to speak with Ronaldo.

However, it appears the Portuguese footballer is as elusive off the pitch as he is on it, because he managed to dodge the media both entering and leaving the court, before being whisked away by his driver and back to his mansion in the suburbs of Madrid.

So what exactly are prosecutors claiming that Ronaldo did wrong? Apparently, they are saying he formed a complicated company structure, with the help of accountants, to hide income that was generated from image rights. Some commentators who are following the case closely also note that income may have been sent to offshore accounts in places like the British Virgin Islands.

Who knows exactly what has gone on here, but what I do know is that while many contractors in the UK might be reading about this story with interest, they are way more concerned about their business and income.

No matter if Ronaldo is proven innocent or he finds himself in jail for 3 and half years, the only thing you really care about is getting a good contractor accountant…something which you can find right here.

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BBC Stars Still Using Tax Dodge? It’s Possible…


Many of you will remember how I reported on BBC stars being accused of dodging tax. Well, some people are claiming it is still going on.

This comes at a time when the BBC has been making headlines of course, as they recently disclosed the salaries of their top earners which was met with almost universal outcry from the public.

At the end of the day, this is license payers money we are talking about here, and it goes towards paying people like Chris Evans a £2.25 million salary. It just isn’t on.

Not only that, but some financial experts are claiming that many of the BBC stars are using personal companies to get paid in order to avoid paying tax. This is something that was supposedly banned 5 years ago, but many suspect it is still going on.

For example, a lot of BBC stars earn over £100,000 a year, which means in normal circumstances they would pay around 45% in tax. However, if they set-up a personal company and get paid that way, then it’s possible to only pay 20% tax.

Despite these allegations by third party sources, the BBC have refused to comment on any of their employees using personal companies to only pay 20% tax, which means right now all anyone can do is speculate about the situation.

Maybe BBC stars do pay 45% tax? Until anything is proven in a court of law then as far as I’m concerned you are innocent.

Take Chris Evans for example, who is the BBC’s top earner with a cool £2.25 million a year. Some experts are saying that there is a personal company listed in his name on record with companies house, although it’s impossible to say if this is the same Chris Evans or a different Chris Evans.

The same goes for Claudia Winkleman and Jeremy Vine, as there are two companies also listed in that name, but so far the BBC have refused to say whether or not this is where their income goes.

Overall, it has been found that 96 BBC staff make over £150,000 a year, with one pundit commenting this is more then the prime minister.

My opinion is that if this was an independent TV channel that got income through advertising and other channels then I wouldn’t care how much they paid their staff, but, this is a channel funded by the UK public. This means we all have a right to know exactly what is going on.

I’m sure this isn’t the last we are going to be hearing about BBC stars in regards to salaries and tax. Maybe some of them are looking for good contractor accountants right now? Who knows for sure.

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Employers Not Prosecuted for Paying Below Minimum Wage


In the last 4 years there have been 700 firms “named and shamed” for not paying workers at least minimum wage, but no prosecutions have followed.

This all comes at a time when many people in the government are constantly attacking the so called gig economy and contracting industry, claiming that employers are taking advantage of these workers, but it just goes to show that they won’t even take action once they have all the facts.

It’s all about getting the headlines for most of these MPs, but when it comes time to do their job they don’t have a clue, and then they wonder why so many people are turning towards working gigs or contracting? Well, it’s because they are not getting paid minimum wage in a normal job, something it seems no-one is prepared to do anything about.

Funnily enough, it was recently announced that the government are going to be launching a new watchdog agency that has the goal on finding employers who don’t pay workers minimum wage and look to cheat the system.

You already have 700 names though, and nothing has been done…what is the point of collecting another list of names, so you can then pointlessly file them away in a folder somewhere..just what is the point? Go after the companies you already know about before you start spending more money on looking for others.

At the end of the day, minimum wage is a law as far as I’m aware, and like any law it should be enforced.

If the Police stop a driver and he doesn’t have any insurance then he is breaking the law and should be fined, they don’t just write their name down on a piece of paper and then say on your way. Action is taken. Some people even go to prison for no car insurance, but that is a story for another blog.

Put simply, any employer that is caught paying below minimum wage should be at least fined, and repeat offenders must even face prison time or having their companies closed down.

It really is the only way to stop this kind of thing happening, because if all you do is name them and then do nothing, they will just keep doing it.

The message to people in the government is clear. Start focusing on those companies that break the law by not paying minimum wage and then take action. Less talk and more doing is what we want to be hearing about, not another list of names that grabs a few headlines and makes someone look good.

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New IR35 rules likely to catch everyone, experts say


Now that 6 April has come and gone and industry boffins have had a chance to ruminate over the changes, the consensus is we’re all doomed.

The new IR35 rules that were published in the March Budget announcement are, for lack of a better word, deliberately targeted at contractors who work through personal service companies (PSCs) or limited companies. In a move that’s ostensibly designed to clamp down on tax avoidance, the new regulations are so broad that contractor accountants, tax experts, and contracting trade industry bodies have all come out of the woodwork to condemn and criticise – and honestly I can’t blame them one whit.

In fact, many experts simply assume that when it comes to the public sector, contractors working through PSCs are simply going to be assumed to be within IR35 without any sort of even cursory examination. These experts feel that this places an undue burden on contractors themselves to prove otherwise – and that it sets the bar so high to prove they’re not subject to IR35 that it’s effectively impossible to do so.

Recruitment organisations in particular are up in arms, as the burden it places on them to engage contractors to make the IR35 determination themselves is particularly onerous. The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) has been quite vociferous in its condemnation of the new regulations. With the possibility that these new IR35 rules will eventually be applied to the private sector as well sometime in the future, almost everyone is alarmed and concerned. To its credit, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs says there’s no plans on the part of the Government to broaden the new rules to the private sector, though I’m sure most individuals and companies are taking HMRC’s statements with a very large grain of salt.

For now, there is some respite. Since the umbrella company model is PAYE, and thus exempt from IR35, PSC contractors can go that route if they want to avoid having to muck about with all that. Of course, if you became a PSC contractor to get a break on your taxes, going PAYE isn’t going to help you out in that regard. However, if the writing on the wall ever becomes a reality, we’re all going to end up under PAYE before long as the Government seeks to eliminate one of the many advantages of working for yourself instead of as a traditional employee. What else is new?

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Financial contractors to be in high demand?


Contractor accountants and other self-employed financial workers are likely to be in high demand according to one high-profile recruitment specialist.

Robert Half says that, according to its most recent research, nearly nine out of every ten financial companies surveyed are girding their loins for the older generation of workers to transition to becoming pensioners over the next few years. Baby boomers, usually considered to be anywhere between 51 and 69 years of age, are keen to retire soon, and that means there’s going to be a mass exodus of highly skilled and experienced staff members.

So what’s a financial company to do? Well thanks to the skills shortage, it’s going to prove to be next to impossible to source permanent replacements for all these boomers as they move on to greener pastures. Robert Half found that 84 percent of small businesses alone were positively petrified on the impact these retirements would have on their business, while medium businesses are nearly as nervous at 77 per cent. Larger firms are a bit more optimistic – only 69 per cent predicted a negative impact on their business as a result of the swarms of retirees over the next five years or so – but that’s still a rather concerning figure if you ask me.

So what’s a financial company to do? Or any company with a financial department for that matter? Well you do what every other sector has done since the inception of the skills shortage – you straighten out your knickers and get down to the business of finding qualified freelancers and contract workers to fill these incredibly crucial gaps. Contract workers offer high levels of flexibility for employers as they can be hired on a per-project basis, have the requisite skills and experience that are needed to account for the absence of baby boomers transitioning to retirement, and are just better people all-around. They’re better dressed, as well.

All right, I might have made up those last few “facts” myself, but the truth remains that contract workers are likely to be the saving grace for the financial sector over the next two to five years when the slow trickle of retirements becomes a massive deluge. Boomers have put their time in and they deserve a pleasant retirement, so it’s time for freelance financial workers like contractor accountants to step up, take up the slack, and keep the economy humming along as best they can. Take this responsibility seriously and you’re likely to be rewarded with all sorts of excellent projects in the future!

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BRCs binned by HMRC, contractors rejoice


Business Record Checks, or BRCs, have been binned by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs after finding that they’re just not effective.

Proof positive that accountants have been doing their job and doing it well, HMRC has decided to abolish BRCs by citing that it’s been nearly impossible to find non-complient firms that need to undergo these checks. In other words – well, this is a paraphrase, of course – the scheme wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on.

You’d be forgiven if you’d never heard of the BRC programme, considering all this. However, if you’re curious, BRCs were compliance measures that the taxman used to employ to ensure that firms of all types were keeping proper expense and income records to make taxation easier and more accurate. Last year there was a record number of BRCs run, yet despite the sheer volume of checks, more than three out of every four companies were well within the guidelines of keeping records. This seems to have been the final straw as far as HMRC was concerned – or perhaps the final nail in the coffin – as now the taxman has decided to scrap the entire thing.

 

HMRC is of course spinning the move as a resounding success, claiming that BRC was influential in encouraging firms to keep better financial records. Meanwhile I’m much more ready to put roses at the feet of our nation’s cadre of contractor accountants working overtime to ensure that the businesses they work for are in compliance with all of the tax authority’s many rules and regulations. Of course, the Government is keen to take credit for this as usual, but what can you do about that realistically?

Still, it’s good to know that there’s just one less regulation that you’ll need to comply with if you’re a small business owner.  So far there doesn’t seem to be any indication that the Government will be replacing BRCs with some other scheme, half-baked or fully developed, to ensure that companies are keeping accurate financial records, but there’s good money that HMRC will be announcing some sort of other “new and improved” compliance measure that’s sure to be a plague on us for years to come. Your guess is as good as mine as to what kind of form it’s going to take.

Of course, if you’re one of the lucky few actively going through a BRC right now, you’re not off the hook – you’ll still have to finish the entire process from soup to nuts. At least you can rest assured you’ll be one of the last people in the country to actually have to put up with it. Cold comfort I’m sure, but better than nothing.

 

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Sage advice for start-ups and entrepreneurs


Back in March, Sage surveyed over 500+ start-up business in the US in their attempt to see what made SMEs works. The research wasn’t about finance, per se, although that did surface as an indirect effect.

No, this research would look at what made a small business a success beyond the initial capital. And, of course, its continued profit and growth.

Why a predominantly accounts-based company is interested in SMEs

Sage, as most will know, supplies some of the world’s most used accounting software. On top of their business management programs, they’re an actual service provider, too.

The thing is, bespoke sage packages don’t come cheap. Knowing the sage software inside out is a desired skill in its own right.

In that sense, there are the barriers to entry for freelancers or limited company contractors. The learning curve itself and the cost for a one-man business are prohibitive. With so many people across the globe now looking to set up shop on their own, Sage can see their market potentially shrinking.

The State of Startup: what makes a successful business model

A couple of the more interesting facts to surface from the study are:

  • women are more likely to start up their own business than men;
    • (57% v 43%)
  • 30-50 year olds are the most likely age bracket to start their own business, having:
    • earned their stripes as an employee, and
    • still being young enough to do benefit from their industry acumen
  • those approaching middle-age/retirement found it easier to start a business than millennials.

There are other striking, but expected, differences and similarities across the age ranges.

Those who’ve been brought up with social media are more likely to use it as a marketing channel. Those in their twilight are almost 2½ times less likely to use Twitter, Facebook, et al.

But there are commonalities, too, with the following elements reported as issues across the board:

  • increasing revenue beyond the startup capital (46%);
  • new customer acquisition (42%);
  • securing startup capital in the first instance (41%).

What actually works, then?

In order to segment the study group, sage grouped the startups into tiers.

In the top tier, they found that 9 out of 10 had achieved their initial goals. The key to their success, compared to only 12% of the bottom tier attaining similar results, can be found in the following common traits:

  1. Partnerships:
    • For contractors offering a bespoke service, the concept of starting a business can be narrow. 59% of successful business ventures were found to have more than one founder in the sage survey;
  2. Business Plan:
    • That old adage, “fail to plan, plan to fail” was never truer than for the startup business. Those who’d launched successfully in the top tier were 78% more likely to have planned a business map than those in the bottom tier;
  3. Use your Yoda:
    • It might be a very British thing to do to have a mentor, but most limited company contractors know the benefit of having an accountant who knows how their payment structure works.In the sage survey, the best-performing businesses leveraged the knowledge of mentors and accountants to fill in the blanks.
  4. Marketing: it’s not a dirty tactic:
    • Marketing is no longer about cold-calling, pinning leaflets to windscreen wipers or leaving a tear-off flyer in the bus stop. Invest in a blog, engage on social media and leverage the relationships in forums.Using a branded website as the hub of your online marketing strategy is crucial to success in 2015.
  5. It’s not all work, work, work:
    • At first glance, you may think this list all sounds like too much. You’ve got to find the time to sell your service or product, too. So this will surprise you.Those in the top tier of the sage study were more than half as likely to achieve a great work/life balance than those in the bottom tier. Yes, they were the most successful. But they also enjoyed the best work/life balance. If you enjoy your business and find the time to recharge your batteries, you’ll be invigorated when new opportunities present themselves.

What do the experts make of the findings?

According to those who nurture startups, 40% of new businesses fail. They either don’t:

  • consider the demand for their service with a critical enough eye;
  • borrow so much capital that they ever make enough to clear the debt;
  • have no conception of controlling the costs associated with running a business.

It’s the latter that we can identify with. In the survey, more than a third of advisors don’t trust the figures that entrepreneurs present to them.

It’s no wonder that almost 8 in 10 of those advisors suggest either buying bespoke accounting software to handle your business or appoint an accountant.

Knowing a trade is one thing. Being able to run a business another entirely.

For contractors, it’s taken you time to get to a stage where you can make good profits from your expertise. You don’t want to dilute your earning power by labouring over company accounts. Leave that to the experts in finance, while you focus on earning. It is that simple.

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Government’s new ‘Google Tax’ likely to cause row


The new so-called ‘Google Tax’ announced by the Government, specifically to counteract multinationals, is likely to cause a massive row.

Tax avoidance experts say that there’s a ‘legal quagmire’ in the offing thanks to Chancellor George Osborne and his decision to move forward on a crackdown ahead of international standards from the EU are put into place. Not only that, but contractor accountants and tax lawyers say that the test to determine profits that have been ‘artifically diverted’ isn’t clear enough.

Now, for what it’s worth, the new rules are borne out of necessity; multinationals like Google use the so-called ‘double Irish’ system to move their massive millions – or even billions – out of the country so as to avoid paying anything in corporation tax here in the UK. Firms like Starbucks say they have no intention of paying any corporation tax in the next three years, if you can believe it.

Meanwhile, the new proposal, that goes into effect on 1 April 2015, firms will have to disclose to tax officials if they’re in danger of falling afoul of the 25 per cent diverted profits tax. Companies that sell goods or services to Brits but lack a permanent British establishment, or companies with a permanent British arm but avoid paying corporation tax by transferring money to other company branches outside UK fall under the new tax.

You don’t need an advanced degree in economics to know that there’s going to be a massive backlash against the new tax law when all these multinationals see how their profit margins are in question. These firms have some big, powerful, and very well-paid legal experts that are sure to turn the screws when it comes to finding ways to weasel out of this, so it’s only a matter of time before this new tax law gets more holes poked in it that nice slice of Swiss cheese.

Still, it’s a valiant effort by the Government to try to do something about this whole tax avoidance business. For what it’s worth, I’m tired of watching these multinationals cry poverty when they’re busy shoveling their profits down the gullet of an offshore account or into a foreign arm of the same company. I mean how stupid do these people think we are anyway?

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