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Monthly Archives: April 2013

A typical contractor client

The longer that you are in accountancy and tax, the more I have realised there is no such thing as a typical client, true you can put people into bands such as there job descriptions such as IT Contractor, Interim manager, web designer etc, but each client has particular nuances, and a one size fits all accountancy service just does not work, or provide value to the customer.

I intend to write a few stories about clients we have helped recently to demonstrate this, hopefully you might find them useful and interesting.

Face to Face Meetings

We always try to have a face to face meeting with all clients, although sometimes this just isnt practical for the client, and we find out about their initial situation over the phone or email, but most of the time we have a meeting in one of our offices, be it Guildford, Reading Richmond or Canary Wharf, or even in the clients own premises or a local coffee shop.

About a year ago I met with an IT Manager, at our Canary Wharf offices, who had worked all his professional career as an employee, over ten years, and had recently been made redundant with a payoff. The payoff was now reducing and looking for work was coming back into the front of his mind.

The IT Manager was considering IT contracting, I think the redundancy situation was quite stressful, and he wanted an environment with less office politics where he could just get on with the task at hand, and thought that contracting might be just that, whilst he was figuring out his next career move.

We chatted through his options, what he was likely to be doing, and who for, and which agencies he was using.

Options for contracting

We then got on to discussing what his options were with regarding getting paid, fixed term contractor, umbrella company, sole trader or Limited Company, and the pros and cons with each of these options.

Most contractors in Canary Wharf choose to use either an Umbrella Company or Limited Company. The IT Contractor was interested in finding out more about using a Limited Company, so we chatted about his spouse being a shareholder, how a limited company is taxed, how he could get his money out to the company being a mixture of salary and dividend, and how to keep business records.

A couple of months later, the IT Contractor contacted our office, requesting that we form a company, and arrange a bank account for him, as he has landed a contract working for a large bank in Canary Wharf and could we review his contract for IR35 issues.

This was now about six months ago, he is keeping his records on our online book keeping system, and we have been helping him with matters such as VAT, raising invoices, dealing with expenses and getting paid.

He seems to be enjoying the contracting work life, will he ever go back to being an employee, I personally doubt it.

Freelancer Accounting assists many freelancers and contractors accross London and the South East with their taxation and accountancy matters.

 

How to deal with the more difficult freelance clients

As much of a joy as it can be to work freelance, you will inevitably occasionally encounter a client who is difficult to manage. Client/customer satisfaction is vital if you are to achieve repeat business, which is why you should plan a strategy for dealing with the worst clients carefully, according to leading accountants in Reading Freelancer Accounting (http://www.freelanceraccounting.com).

 

It’s much easier to iron out any potential for misunderstanding from the very start of the project, which is why our accountants in London would advise you to take time in interviewing your client about the job, identifying their needs, objectives and perspectives. If you carefully document what you agree to and when, you will be able to refer back to that section of your proposal if you need to. Remember, too, that projects can easily drift off track unless you hold regular telephone conversations or even in-person review meetings, the latter presenting you with the opportunity to ask the client to sign off work that has been done so far.

 

These progress conversations could result in you receiving requests for changes or work outside of the originally agreed brief, in which case you should send a client an email immediately afterwards to confirm the request of this additional work. You might want to use the short ‘contract report’ that is common in the advertising world to outline the date and place of a conversation along with its participants, followed by body copy of the action that it is agreed needs to be undertaken, when and by whom. Details can also be provided of any additional charge and changes to the delivery date.

 

Our accountants for freelancers would always stress the importance of a final proposal or contract that is not vague or able to be misinterpreted. All terms and conditions should be clearly explained in this document, including relevant timescales, dates, deposits and payment terms, as well as any other options that may have arisen at the interview. When you are communicating with the client, you should speak in their language rather than use any off-putting and confusing technical jargon. By keeping every aspect of your assignment carefully documented, your client is clear about what you are doing for them, and can interject at any time if they have concerns.

 

Inevitably, many of the clients of our accountants in Richmond wish that they could fire certain clients! However, these are just some of the things that you should do to reserve your reputation and increase the chances of repeat business. If certain mistakes are made, you may even wish to financially compensate the customer. Here at Freelancer Accounting (http://www.freelanceraccounting.com), we would always stress that you are flexible and not take criticism personally, instead always being open to new ways of improving your freelance business.