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.

Dividend tax changes: will contractors bear the brunt?

George Osborne’s first Budget as chancellor of a Conservative majority government threw a potential spanner in the works of the UK business owner community in the form of changes to the dividend tax rules.

At the time, our managing director Derek Kelly urged contractors to adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach until more details of the regime change emerged. Now HMRC has published a fact sheet outlining some of the key elements, we investigate how the new measures will affect the self-employed.

… Continue reading

By Beth Bramhall,

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Self-employment tax receipts on the rise despite drop in numbers

Although it’s been disappointing to read about the sharp decline in the number of people choosing to go self-employed, latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) still prove that interim workers are integral to the success of the UK economy.

Last month, HMRC raked in £7.8 billion in self-assessment income tax receipts, up from £6.7 billion the previous year. In total, the Revenue received £19.8 billion in income tax in July 2015, compared to £18.5 billion in 2014.

Meanwhile, the statistics revealed that the taxman’s coffers swelled by £163 billion from income tax receipts alone, helping it reach an overall tax take of £515 billion in 2014-15. Of this, £23 billion came from self-assessment – up from £20 billion the previous year. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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How to prepare for unplanned time off

There may come a time when for unforeseen circumstances you have to take time off during an assignment.  As a contractor, it is your responsibility to ensure any projects or commitments you have previously made are addressed and handled in a professional manner.

To help, here are three points to consider when taking unplanned time off:

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By Beth Bramhall,

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How to choose the right social media channel

Like it or loathe it, social media is everywhere. While some people are content with updating their status with what they had for dinner or tagging photos of cats, many professionals are now successfully using online profiles to boost their career.

Social media is a great way of getting your name out there, but with the vast amount of websites available, how do you know which one is right for you?

Here are three points to consider when making your decision:

… Continue reading

By Beth Bramhall,

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Wage growth report highlights why contracting is king

As a worker, you’ll want to receive a wage that truly reflects the skill and expertise you possess and the sheer effort you put in on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, it appears that many permanent employees are being held back when it comes to salary growth – allowing contractors to storm ahead. Indeed, a recent report by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that wages dropped 2.4% in the three months to June.

Contractors, meanwhile, are seeing their earning power skyrocket in recent months, with IT specialists particularly having cause to celebrate. According to IT recruiter Computer People, assignment rates for application analysts are now 27% higher than they were last year, while senior managers enjoyed a 12% rise. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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A comprehensive guide to networking – Part 2: Offline networking

Welcome to the second half of our networking masterclass. In part one, we discussed how to develop an efficient online strategy. Now, we’ll focus on what you should do away from the computer.

The social media boom may have transformed the way we communicate, but mastering traditional forms of networking is still crucial for contractors. The age-old adage of “you never know who you might meet” still applies in today’s technology-driven society, so you may end up making new contacts the old-fashioned way you possibly wouldn’t meet online.

Offline networking also gives you the chance to make a lasting impression. Social media’s fast-paced nature means that you could end up getting lost in a sea of ever-updating statuses. … Continue reading

By Tim Moore Beecroft,

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A comprehensive guide to networking – Part 1: Online networking

The ability to network effectively is an essential tool in a contractor’s arsenal. Not only will it enable you to make new contacts, it’s also a great way to find out about upcoming assignments and push your personal brand.

An efficient networking strategy will operate on two levels, online and offline. Mastering both avenues is crucial if your want to build a list of contacts and extend your reach as far as possible.

Building contacts is a great benefit to your contracting career, but how do you develop a successful approach to networking? Due to the sheer scale of the subject, we’ve put together a two-part master class.

… Continue reading

By Beth Bramhall,

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How contractors can avoid stress

Stress affects us all at some point in our lives, but the key to staying calm is to avoid hitting that brick wall in the first place.

Of course, that may not always be possible, and extenuating circumstances can come into play. However, if you can eliminate yourself as a cause of stress, you’ll most likely become a more happy and productive contractor.

But how can you achieve this? Here are our top four stress-busting tips: … Continue reading

By Beth Bramhall,

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Why you should increase your pay rate

As your contracting career advances, there may come a time when you need to evaluate how much you charge for your services. If you want to increase your rate, you’ll need to build a valid case as to why clients should pay more.

To help, we have chosen four reasons why you might increase your contractor rate:

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By Beth Bramhall,

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What can the government do to help the self-employed?

It’s no secret that making the leap to self-employment is a fantastic opportunity for UK professionals to take more control of their own destiny.

The list of benefits is seemingly endless, ranging from an enhanced work/life balance, increased tax efficiency and the chance to avoid office politics. Yet despite these plus points, new figures show that the number of people choosing to become self-employed has dropped by a staggering 131,000 over the past year.

So why has this happened?

… Continue reading

By Beth Bramhall,

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