Throughout our website, we reiterate how important it is that contractors and freelancers only use compliant umbrella companies for their payroll. And, we frequently mention that using an FCSA accredited umbrella company is a great idea! But who is the FCSA (Freelancer & Contractor Services Association), and why are we so impressed with their accreditation? Keep reading and we’ll provide you with some more information.
UK’s leading professional body
The Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (referred to as simply the ‘FCSA’) is the self-proclaimed “UK’s leading membership body” dedicated to ensuring the supply chain of contractors, freelancers and all temporary workers is compliant with HMRC rules and regulations, and operates ethically.
The FCSA is there to support contractors, freelancers, sole trader, recruitment agencies and payroll providers (accountancy, umbrella, CIS) in their quest to operate compliantly within the temporary staffing sector.
The FCSA’s constitution states their organisation’s objectives, and these include:
- Setting the highest standards of compliance.
- Promoting the best interests of temporary workers, because they recognise the importance of this sector in contributing towards the economy.
- Assisting recruitment agencies so they can make informed decisions when working with contractors and freelancers.
- Becoming a trusted voice that represents their members and stakeholders.
- Sharing their expertise.
- Being “the leading trade association in the UK, representing a broad church of views of organisations who are interested in, or involved with, the contingent labour market”.
Strict Codes of Compliance
In order to obtain the prestigious FCSA accreditation, umbrella companies, contractor accountants and CIS payroll specialists must be able to prove their internal procedures run in accordance to the FCSA’s strict Codes of Compliance.
Every member is audited annually to ensure they remain compliant with the Codes of Compliance, and all the information that is unveiled in the audits is made available to HMRC – should they require it at any point. This level of transparency is brilliant, and a reason we believe the FCSA’s accreditation is both genuine, and in the best interests of every stakeholder in the supply chain.
FCSA accreditation is a big deal to payroll providers – but don’t just take our word for it
Achieving FCSA accreditation is a big deal to umbrella companies and contractor accountants. Let’s not forget, to obtain FCSA membership, organisations must complete a rigorous and time-consuming assessment process.
We’ve taken a look at some of the press released from FCSA members having just achieved the accreditation. As you can see – it really does mean a big deal to them.
Fair Pay Services (Managing Director)
“We are extremely proud to have attained FCSA accreditation. The assessment process has been extremely rigorous and in-depth, and further demonstrates our commitment to compliance and continual improvement”.
View the FCSA press release here.
SmartWork (Sales Manager)
“SmartWork is thrilled to have been awarded full FCSA accreditation for the 5th year running. The accreditation complements the hard work and professionalism that we strive for here at SmartWork”.
View the full SmartWork blog post here.
“We are delighted to have passed FCSA’s rigorous auditing and be granted accredited status which is recognised throughout the industry as the gold standard for compliance and professionalism. Our staff are committed to delivering the highest levels of service to recruiters, end clients and contractors and I’d like to personally thank them for helping us to achieve FCSA’s standards across our brands”.
View the full Parasol blog post here.
Bright Sky Contracting (Founder)
“Having been accredited as a trade member of the FCSA we are demonstrating our commitment to maintaining the highest levels of complicity and an understanding that we have a responsibility to maintain such standards as rules, regulations and legislation evolve. We look forward to working alongside compliant providers to drive forward compliance across the board”.
View the full Bright Sky Contracting web page here.
Bluebird Accountancy (Director)
“Compliance has always been at the epicentre of everything we have done as a business and now that we’re an FCSA member, everyone who engages with us knows they’re in the safest hands”.
View the full Bluebird Accountancy blog post here.
SG Accounting and SG Umbrella
“We’re delighted to announce that SG Accounting and SG Umbrella have been added to the accredited members list of The Freelancer and Contractor Services Association (FCSA). To become an accredited member, we’ve had to undergo an independent and rigorous assessment of our business services, operations, policies and processes, all of which have been examined to ensure adherence to FCSA compliance standards”.
View the full SG Accounting and SG Umbrella blog post here.
Umbrella Company UK (Operations Director)
“As the recruitment industry rightfully continues to tighten up its supply chain, the importance of engaging with compliant payroll providers has become of paramount importance. This is why we have been so keen to obtain FCSA accreditation. We want our recruitment partners and clients to know that we have their very best interests at heart and will always operate in full compliance with HMRC rules and regulations”.
View the full Umbrella Company UK blog post here.
The FCSA helps to protect the entire supply chain of temporary workers
We’ve said it before, but we’re happy to repeat it – tax avoidance schemes are evil. They can get the entire supply chain of temporary workers in serious trouble. Not only are contractors and freelancers vulnerable to tax avoidance schemes, recruitment agencies and end-hirers can also get in serious trouble if they point a worker in the direction of a tax avoidance scheme – even if it’s a genuine mistake! For more information, we recommend you read up on the 2017 Criminal Finances Act.
Contractors are in the safest hands if they use an FCSA accredited accountant, umbrella or CIS payroll provider. And, recruitment agencies and end-hirers are also in the safest hands if they have a Preferred Supplier List that only includes FCAS accredited organisations. Why? Because it safeguards their business from referrals to non-compliant payroll providers.
Top 10 umbrella companies
If you haven’t already, please check out our top 10 umbrella companies. Every provider that we feature is an FCSA accredited umbrella company, and some of them have some excellent introductory offers on at the moment. If you’re in a hurry, why not request a calculation or a call back from a top 10 umbrella company? They’ll get in contact with you at a convenient time to discuss their services. And, there is absolutely no obligation to use their service after speaking with them.
Whoever you decide to choose as your payroll provider, please carry out your own due diligence. Compliance with HMRC rules and regulations is critical, and if you come across an offer that sounds too good to be true – make sure you don’t fall for it. Tax avoidance schemes are targeting honest, hard-working contractors, and engaging with one could have devastating consequences.