Welcome to the News & Blog

Here at ClearSky, we want to keep you up-to-date with all the latest hot topics that may affect you and your business. This could be anything from IR35 to new legislations.

Please feel free to browse the various categories, individual posts and make your comments known to the author.

Taxman in latest “big brother” move

HMRC is widening its surveillance operation once more as it continues its war on the “hidden economy.”

This latest move by the Revenue will see the taxman granted additional powers to gather information from business intermediaries and electronic payment providers. It hopes that the initiative will stop organisations and individuals evading tax by failing to register a source of income.

HMRC estimates that this “hidden economy” deprived the Treasury of £5.9 billion in 2012-13. This equates to 17% of the total tax gap. … Continue reading

By Beth Bramhall,

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How to avoid time between contracts

When finishing an assignment, the majority of contractors will be itching to get started on the next one. If you don’t plan your next step before your current assignment has ended, you could unintentionally find yourself on the sidelines for a few months. To avoid this, it’s crucial you plan ahead so that your contracting career can continue on its intended path.

Here are our top three tips for avoiding gaps between contracts:

… Continue reading

By Beth Bramhall,

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How client feedback benefits contractors

When you’ve worked hard on an assignment, it can sometimes be difficult to step back and evaluate your performance. Asking your client to give their opinion on your performance is a good way to get honest, constructive and helpful feedback.

Here are three reasons why client feedback is beneficial:

… Continue reading

By Beth Bramhall,

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Taking on an employee

As you progress through your contracting career, there may come a time when you need to take on an employee. Although many contractors have had managers during their time as a “permie”, they probably won’t have any experience being somebody else’s boss.

To help, we’ve outlined 4 tips on becoming a professional employer:

… Continue reading

By Beth Bramhall,

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Contractor pay growth outstrips “permies”

Contractors appear to be victorious in the battle of income as a new study suggests “permie” pay is lagging behind.

Staffing firm Venn Group found a 4% pay increase amongst contractors securing a new assignment in June, with the average day rate now standing at £278. Pay rises were less pronounced for those in permanent employment, with the Office for National Statistics recording a typical 2.7% salary increase in the three months to April.

… Continue reading

By Beth Bramhall,

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How to win repeat clients for your Limited company

Sourcing new assignments is undoubtedly one of the main concerns facing Limited company directors. One way they can ensure a steady supply of work is to build strong relationships with clients they have engaged with previously.

If done effectively, this will make sure that you’re at the top of the list when the client has more projects to outsource. To help, we’ve outlined three important points to ensure you’ll be in pole position should any more work come up. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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By Beth Bramhall,

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Summer Budget: Why contractors should wait and see

Delivering the first Conservative Budget since 1996, George Osborne today announced a series of measures that could affect limited company contractors.

From dividend tax reform to a fresh review of IR35 and potential changes to travel and subsistence expenses, the chancellor’s speech and the accompanying red-book document contained plenty for contractors to digest.

Our managing director, Derek Kelly, praised the overall thrust of the government’s reforms. However, he stressed the importance of adopting a ‘wait and see’ approach instead of rushing to snap judgements.

… Continue reading

By Mike Youds,

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Engineers urged to spark contracting careers

Individuals working in the engineering sector can expect “strong demand and lucrative earnings” if they choose to embrace contracting.

Data from The Engineer’s 2015 salary survey reveals that a combination of an ageing workforce and a lack of investment in apprenticeships has created a serious talent shortage across all disciplines. This has made skilled professionals increasingly valued and sought after.

Contractors have long been regarded as offering business access to key skills, therefore the current talent drought affecting the engineering sector should provide a wealth of opportunities for those pursuing a freelancing career. In addition, competition between employers has created a “talent war” that is pushing up salaries. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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Government to focus on supporting contractors

Cambridge Satchel Company founder Julie Deane, is leading the charge for the government to offer better support for those who are self-employed.

A review looking at the challenges and opportunities for contractors has been launched and is expected to be published in early 2016. The report, firmly backed by the government, will explore why people choose to become self- employed, the challenges and issues they face and will make appropriate recommendations on how they can be supported.

Deane said: “The business landscape has changed so much in the last 10 years and in such a way that self-employment is now a viable option for so many more people. I have first-hand experience of the immense opportunities starting your own business can bring, but also understand the challenges that can face those starting out on their own. … Continue reading

By Beth Bramhall,

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