Currently, the UK flexible workforce comprises over 4.8m people and due to the project-by-project nature of the IT industry, a sizeable proportion of this population is made up of IT contractors.
Working as a contractor in the IT sector clearly has its benefits – flexible hours, higher rates of pay and the freedom of working for yourself. There are however a number of challenges to operating on a self-employed basis including having to look after your business finances effectively, something that technology can play a key role in managing.
Using technology to stay on top of your business finances is something IT professionals should be all too comfortable with but does keeping on track of your finances play second fiddle to work for those operating in this sector?
What to look for in Accountancy Services for IT Contractors
When assessing the needs of an IT contractor and what they look for from an accountant, accessibility, accurate information and information that is easy to understand would all be high up on their wish list, all things that a specialist contractor accountant should offer.
- Accessibility – Contractors need ‘real time’ access to their business finances regardless of their location or working pattern
- Financial information– getting the detail right and making it accessible across a variety of platforms
- Language – conveying financial information in a way that is easily digestible
Accessibility to financial information is one of the key requirements for self-employed professionals in the IT sector to keep on top of their business finances. These individuals are looking for real-time accounting information which is accessible on the go through web, email and smartphone, on a 24/7 basis. These are professionals that expect consistency and reliability from their IT systems so any accountancy technology they use has to meet these requirements.
The amount of financial data available from accountancy providers is also important to IT Contractors. Typically, they want access to both a high-level summary of their information, for example, viewing a real time statement, as well as being able to drill down to a greater level of detail and view individual invoices and cash receipts, regardless of the platform it is accessed through.
The need for accurate financial information to be presented in a user friendly way is also important to IT Contractors such as accessing their accounts in ‘real time’ in order to get an up to date view of information such as invoices raised, tax position and disposable income.
The information available to contractors is ultimately redundant if it is not conveyed in such a way which makes it easily digestible.
IT Contractors are not trained accountants and neither do they want to be. Contractors simply want key information about their finances presented in such a way which enables them to make quick decisions, where necessary, and have an understanding in basic terms of how much money they can spend and what needs to be kept aside for tax purposes.
So if you are an IT Contractor, make sure you choose an accountant who caters for your business needs and one who uses technology to make your financial information accessible, useful and understandable.
Brookson’s all-inclusive accountancy service designed for contractors is underpinned by its bespoke Connect platform which gives its customers more control, flexibility and peace of mind, helping them to make decisions based on current information, not past performance.