Any individual who has been considering quitting the ‘9 to 5’ to set up their own freelance office will probably need little encouragement to do so by our own accountants in Canary Wharf here at Freelancer Accounting (http://www.freelanceraccounting.com). It does, after all, seem to reflect an increasing movement by many people and organisations towards more flexible ways of working. However, you will still need to be organised and disciplined to make the transition work.
The benefits of becoming a freelancer, with an experienced and capable PCG accountant by your side, are many – but it doesn’t suit everyone. Those who want to be able to work more flexibly, choosing their own hours, are certainly likely to welcome becoming freelance, as are those who are sick of long train or motorway commutes. It’s also very cost-effective, both in terms of the initial launch of your company and its subsequent operation. You can also enjoy your home surroundings and amenities and better accommodate the needs of the family, in addition to demonstrating to the tax authorities that you are ‘in business on your own account’.
There are many aspects of freelance working, however, that people do not look forward to so much – such as the potentially increased isolation and boredom and clashes between family and business demands. You may also struggle to switch between a home and work mind-set, and family and neighbours may continually interrupt you while working. There are, though, ways of overcoming these issues that many of the clients of our accountancy services adopt. These include having a separate phone line installed for work purposes, as well as scheduling breaks and taking the time to meet and socialise with people – the latter especially important if you live alone.
Other ways in which you can ensure that your transition to home working is as successful as possible, include simply treating your work time as seriously as you would if you were working in any other office, and ensuring that anyone you share your home with understands this. The most experienced people who use our small business accountants also know the importance of a definable, permanent workspace rather than the kitchen table, and also ensure that they meet the people that they are working with occasionally, given how much more memorable personal contact is than communication via email.
Bear in mind that rules that have been in effect since 2003 mean that business rates don’t normally need to be paid on a home office, subject to certain conditions. These include only using the kind of equipment that might be found in any domestic study and not employing people from the premises, among others. The Valuation Office Agency assesses the ratings and each case is considered on its merits.