Finance contractors prioritise security over pay

Finance and accounting professionals seeking contract work are placing long-term security over higher pay rates, according to research by the professional umbrella employment provider, Giant group.

Its survey of freelancers working in the finance sector over the past three months shows that nearly two thirds (63%) would rather work on long term assignments compared with the 37% who opted to receive a higher per hour payment. This is in line with previous studies, which found 65% chose security over pay rates in the same period in 2012 and 58% in 2011.

Matthew Brown, managing director of Giant, said: 'While this discipline has been hit hard over the past few years, more than three-quarters of participants are now saying they only have to wait up to a month to get a new assignment, and we expect this level of optimism to continue in line with previous surveys.'

However, a separate survey from another payroll umbrella company, Paraplus, suggests that finance contractors need to pay closer attention to paperwork if their careers are to prosper. In a survey of over 100 freelancers in the finance sector, it found that 58% reported they did not understand their payslip, with the majority saying they saw no reason to check the details.

Paraplus says its findings are a cause for concern, as the survey also indicated more than one third (35%) of finance contractors said they had received a HMRC fine or penalty and more than half (52%) stating they struggled to understand HMRC guidelines.

Phil McDonald, managing director of Paraplus, said: 'An employer is legally obliged to provide a clearly itemised payslip. Contractors in the finance sector must take the time to scrutinise and fully understand all of the data; otherwise how will they know if they are overpaying on items like income tax or National Insurance?'

'Furthermore, freelancers are directly responsible for the accurate recording of their financial data, such as expenses. Failing to pick up on PAYE errors can leave individuals vulnerable to the risk of scrutiny from HMRC - meaning potential legal and compliance issues in the future - which are easily avoidable yet costly mistakes,' McDonald warned.

Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

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