If you’re a contractor or freelancer, there are many rules and regulations to understand within your sector – especially when it comes to payroll. For example, with so many temporary workers finding themselves inside IR35 since recent changes to off-payroll working rules, hundreds of thousands of workers have been required to use the services of umbrella companies – many for the first time. However, umbrellas can often confuse – especially to those new to the concept of being paid through an intermediary. With so much information to absorb and legislation to abide by, we highly recommend that all temporary workers follow the organisations below closely because they exist to support contractors and freelancers and improve transparency within the marketplace. Have a look and see for yourself. If you have any other organisations you recommend other temporary workers follow – please comment below, and we’ll update this article accordingly.
The Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA)
The Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA) is the UK’s leading professional body dedicated to protecting temporary workers and ensuring the supply chain is compliant. For a payroll provider (including umbrella companies) to earn FCSA accreditation, they must undergo a series of audits and assessments to ensure all processes abide by HMRC’s rules and regulations.
The FCSA’s website is well worth visiting because the articles they post are often informative and full of helpful materials to assist temporary workers. There is also an easy to navigate directory to identify which payroll providers have earned the FCSA’s accreditation.
There are two leading professional bodies in the UK – the FSCA and Professional Passport. Professional Passport is the “only insurance backed provider compliance review” and has a stellar reputation in the UK. Led by Crawford Temple, Professional Passport often liaises with HMRC and fights for temporary workers. If you are a contractor or Freelancer, we highly recommend reviewing payroll companies accredited by Professional Passport (or the FCSA). The same applies to recruitment agencies looking to add compliant businesses to a Preferred Supplier List (PSL).
IPSE (The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) is unique. It’s the only UK based not-for-profit membership organisation that exists exclusively to support the self-employed community. IPSE fights for self-employed professionals and regularly campaigns to improve the sector. The IPSE website is full of engaging and helpful content. Did you know they hold over 100 events a year to help self-employed workers expand their knowledge and skillsets, as well as providing multiple situations for some good old-fashioned networking?
If you haven’t already, exploring IPSE membership is a great idea. With three membership levels (starting from £9.00 per month), you can benefit from insurance, special discounts, legal advice, and more.
If you’re a contractor or freelancer and you’re looking for answers to industry-related – you should head over to the Contractor UK website first because it is full of valuable, trustworthy information.
Believe it or not, Contractor UK has been online for well over 20 years, as it was first launched before the millennium back in 1999. The site now boasts tens of thousands of visitors each month and has featured in some of the UK’s leading publications including BBC News, The Guardian, UK Parliament, Daily Mail, Recruiter and the Telegraph.
There is also a very active contractor forum on the website that is well worth engaging with if you have any questions or concerns associated with your employment status or any organisations within the supply chain (including payroll providers such as umbrella companies).
With over 200,000 monthly readers, IT Contracting is an excellent source of information for contractors, particularly those working in IT. New content is posted weekly covering relevant and complex topics, including legislation, limited company contracting, payroll, and more.
If you’re a limited company contractor, IT Contracting is probably more suited to you (rather than umbrella company contractors) because it features dozens of PSC-orientated guides to help those operating outside IR35. However, there are still plenty of resources for umbrella employees, so we recommend you visit the site frequently to read the latest news. We cannot forget to mention the awesome limited company and dividend tax calculators on IT Contracting too – they’re enormously helpful.
Founded in 2006, Contract Eye is another valuable online resource managed by the same team that runs IT Contracting. The site has mountains of information tailored to contractors and freelancers in the UK. It’s a great place to visit if you have questions about complicated topics affecting the self-employed, including running a personal service company, tax legislation (including IR35), insurance, and anything that affects a contractor’s life.
IWORK is fairly new on the scene, but it’s an organisation you should pay attention to. Here is what the IWORK websites states regarding the company:
“Founded by Julia Kermode, Independent Work Ltd brings together all the different ways that people work independently in the UK – from temporary agency workers, to freelancers, contractors, self-employed or gig economy workers, these are all increasingly important to the UK’s economy.”
Julia Kermode is on a mission to help contingent workers be treated fairly by employers and the government, whilst making it far easier to notice the difference between fact and fiction in relation to claims made by stakeholders within the sector. IWORK is well worth a follow, and you should definitely sign up for the IWORK newsletter at your earliest convenience.
APSCo (The Association Of Professional Staffing Companies) is “an international trade body offering global services with local delivery to the international recruitment sector through our offices in Australia, Germany, throughout South East Asia and the UK. Through our member services, we help differentiate the professional recruitment market by raising standards and delivering expert support and market intelligence to members of APSCo around the world.”
APSCo help raise the standards within the recruitment sector by educating its members and promoting compliance with legislation and law.
Founded and managed by Dave Chaplin, contracting guru and IR35 expert, the Contractor Calculator website is a reliable source of vital information to help contractors and freelancers. If you have any questions or concerns surrounding anything that has affected contractors in the news recently – head on over to Contractor Calculator because Dave and his team will have written about it. And each article is written in an easy-to-understand manner.
Content on Contractor Calculator is referenced everywhere, including The Global Recruiter, Computer Weekly, Financial Times, The Sun, and more. The site states that the “monthly audience of regular readers is made up of contractors, freelancers, interims and consultants from the IT, telecoms, engineering, oil, gas and energy, business, marketing and medical sectors.”
This is our article, so it’s only fair we add ourselves to the list! The umbrellacompanies.org.uk website is a resource created entirely for contractors and freelancers who want helpful and accurate information about umbrella companies. The site is full of helpful guides that cover payslips, pros and cons of using umbrella companies, PAYE, umbrella company margins, the dangers of tax avoidance schemes, and more. There is also a list of top 10 umbrella companies – all accredited by either the FCSA or Professional Passport. We recommend you take a look when you get a chance because they are compliant and some have special offers at the moment.
Top 10 umbrella companies
If you’re interested in registering with a reliable umbrella company, we have just the tool that will help – our top 10 umbrella companies. Every one of our top 10 umbrellas is accredited by either the FCSA or Professional Passport, and some have special offers at the moment.