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We deliver the best recruitment news and advice to the Tax, Legal, Finance, HR and Marketing sectors, including market updates, CV tips, interview advice, and exclusive interviews.

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A National Insurance Contributions 'Holiday' for Employed Veterans from 2021/2022

The 2019 Conservative Party Manifesto stated: We will reduce National Insurance contributions for employers if they employ ex-Service personnel. Consultation In July 2020, HMRC published a Consultation entitled ‘Supporting veterans transition to civilian life through employment’.  This 25-page document is very interesting about an employer’s Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) ‘holiday’.  The pertinent points were confirmed at Spring Budget 2020 (point 2.179 is the most informative).  The Condoc outlines the three key issues: How to define a veteran for the purpose of the relief The types of qualifying employment and the length of time it applies to The most effective way to administer this relief and how employers can claim it Responses On 11 January 2021, HMRC published its Responses document.  This confirms:  It will apply to employers who employ veterans of the Armed Services, as per a definition already contained in the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 and Northern Irish equivalent The NICs holiday will apply to all veterans of the Armed Forces entering ‘civilian employment’ and will not be dependent on the date that they left.  The NICs legislation defining civilian employment will be expanded to include overseas employment and be an employment that is not part of HM Armed Forces   The holiday will not be extended to support employers’ people who have served in the Reserve Forces The holiday will apply to employers every time in a veteran’s lifetime when they enter civilian employment after leaving service.  So, an employer of a veteran who left service, entered civilian employment, re-joined service, left and entered civilian employment again will be able to benefit.  This is quite different from the position outlined by HMRC in the original consultation The qualifying veterans will not exclude employed directors of Single Director Companies, ‘deemed employees’ under the off-payroll reforms and users of Personal and Managed Service Companies. It will be a 12-month employer National Insurance Contributions ‘relief’, applying to earnings up to and including the new Veterans Upper Secondary Threshold (VUST) in the pay reference period (£50,270 per annum in 2021/22, to be confirmed) It will be effective April 2021 – for tax year 2021/22, however, this will not be through the payroll until tax year 2022/23 when it will be through RTI.  ‘Transitional administrative arrangements will be in place for tax year 2021/22.  This means that employers employing a qualifying veteran in civilian employment will have to pay the employer’s NICs and reclaim the monies Employers who employed a veteran before 06 April 2021 and they are in the first 12 months of civilian employees will be able to reclaim a pro-rated amount of employer’s NICs.  Employers will calculate eligibility by counting from the veteran’s first day of civilian employment, regardless of whether that employment is with them or a previous employer Legislation Primary legislation in the form of the National Insurance Contributions Bill (Regulations 6 and 7) will introduce a zero-rate of secondary Class 1 National Insurance Contributions for veterans with effect from 6 April 2021.  This will amend: The Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992 and The Social Security Contributions and Benefits (Northern Ireland) Act 1992 It will also allow the new Upper Secondary Threshold to be created, catering for veterans entering civilian employment (Regulation 8). Note that this only applies for the tax years 2021/22, 2022/23 and 2023/24.  However, the Bill allows for this to be extended by further tax years.  Guidance There is a ‘technical overview’ of this legislation, published on 11 January 2021. As regards guidance on how employers will manually make the reclaim in tax year 2021/22, the Responses document says: ‘HMRC will publish guidance before April 2021 that sets out the information and records an employer will need to maintain for qualifying employments relating to the 2021 to 2022 tax year to claim the relief.’ This published guidance came in the form of a Policy Paper dated 10 February 2021 which simply said that an employer will need to keep the following records: Information showing that the individual is a qualifying veteran’ – see Regulation 7 of the Bill entitled ‘veteran conditions’ The start date of the veteran’s first civilian employment I assume that the employer will also want to keep details of the associated Secondary Class 1 Employers National Insurance contributions in the period until April 2022. Making the Reclaim In that regard, on 03 August 2021, HMRC produced guidance for software developers that will soon be replicated on the Gov.UK ‘Real Time Information support for software developers’.  However, it is interesting and important for employers to note how the reclaim will be effected.  There are two points worth noting: The reclaim will not be available in-year through software for tax year 2021/22.  The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) have described this as ‘unfortunate’ meaning that a claim after the end of the tax year will affect the cash-flow of employers A new threshold is introduced called the Veterans Upper Secondary Threshold (VUST).  The purpose of this is similar to the UST (Upper Secondary Threshold for those under 21) and the AUST (Apprentice Upper Secondary Threshold for apprentice under 25).  The NICs Bill will prescribe that employer’s NICs are at 0% up to and including this threshold, however, the value of the VUST need not necessarily be the same as the value of the ST (Secondary Threshold), UST or AUST So, HMRC’s guidance indicates that the value of the ST, UST, AUST and VUST will be aligned at £50,270 per annum – though we must wait for associated legislation to confirm this. Tax Year 2021/22 As above, for qualifying veterans, employers will need to pay the Secondary Class 1 NICs and make a reclaim after the end of the tax year However, HMRC has requested that payroll software is updated before April 2022 to allow employers to make a reclaim via an amended Full Payment Submission (FPS).  This is not a legislative requirement but HMRC’s request to ‘provide a smooth customer journey’ Where payroll software is not updated, HMRC will provide reclaim guidance before April 2022 Employers should make the reclaim under NI category letter V.  There is no equivalent veteran’s NI letter for a mariner (letters Q, T and W) or others (letters B, C and J).  Where these letters may apply, an RTI amendment cannot be made and reclaim will be a manual process by contacting HMRC at the end of the tax year Tax Year 2022/23 Employers will be able to perform calculations in-year (through software) Qualifying employees (ex-veterans in civilian employment as per Regulation 7 of the above Bill) must be placed on NI category letter V Software will ensure that earnings up to and including the VUST will be free from Secondary NICs As above, there is only one NI letter, so any employee that would normally be on another letter Remember We are talking about a 12-month NICs holiday for employers on earnings up to and including the VUST.  This 12-month holiday begins on the day that the ex-veteran first enters civilian employment.  So, an issue will be accurate record-keeping, as outlined in HMRC’s Policy Paper dated 10 February 2021 (Example 3): A veteran C leaves HM Armed Forces on 01 August 2021, commencing civilian employment with Employer A on 30 August 2021 Record-keeping (possibly payroll software functionality) for Employer A will record that 30 August 2021 is the start of the 12-month qualifying period Veteran C leaves Employer A and commences with Employer B on 30 November 2021 Employer B will need to establish and record that Veteran C’s first day of civilian employment was 30 August 2021 Employer B can place Veteran C on category letter V until 29 August 2022 All employers will want to ensure that their software is updated for 2022/23.  However, employers that have employed qualifying veterans with the 12 months end date in the 2021/22 tax year will need to query whether there will be functionality to make a FPS adjustment in April 2022. There is a lot of employers and software developers to get their head around here. This article is written by Ian Holloway, a highly respected payroll practitioner, writer, advisor and trainer at i-Realise. Ian has worked in the payroll profession for over 30 years.  He has developed exceptional 360-degree insight into payroll’s challenges and the impact of relevant legislation – having worked for both in-house payroll teams, software providers and as a payroll lecturer, writer and government advisor. ​ For more advice or a quick discussion on how I can help with your Payroll Recruitment needs, please contact me at neil.wild@pro-recruitment.co.uk or call 07793 077 421

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Are Payroll Professionals Now Seen as More Than Just the People Who ‘Push the Pay Button’?

Pre-pandemic, Payroll professionals were seen as ‘the people who pay us’, they push the ‘big red button ’and your staff are magically paid. However, during the last 18 months, they are now seen as more of a source of knowledge and insight in the business. We recently polled my several thousand connections and it shows that Payroll Professionals are now more sought after than the HR teams, and even more so than the leadership when it comes to advice on pay.   Over the years, both payroll and pensions professionals have seen significant changes affecting the way they do their jobs, but the last 18 months in particular, with the pandemic catalysing the changing perceptions of the profession. Here are the three main reasons why: Trust Ken Pullar, Chief Executive at the CIPP mentions, ‘to be successful in any profession it is also important, to be honest, and to have integrity, particularly within payroll, says Pullar. “You are the one person within the organisation who has access to every single employee’s personal data and details of their pay, and potentially other financial information depending on the benefits package offered,” he explains. “Everything within your role is entrusted to you in confidence, and it is essential for your success and for the wellbeing of the organisation's employees that you do not break that confidence.”  Payroll professionals are entrusted with an organisation’s biggest expenditure, and quite often left to their own devices to ensure that everyone is paid accurately and on time. “Every so often there are cases within the media about payrollers, I won’t call them professionals, who have defrauded an organisation through ‘ghost’ employees,” says Pullar. “As a payroll professional, you should have the integrity to ensure that this does not happen within your organisation.” Knowledge With payroll becoming much more than salary, and more about overall reward strategies, especially with legislation such as gender pay gap reporting and GDPR impacting on payroll, it is more important than ever that professionals constantly refresh their knowledge and skills. Their insight and knowledge is pivotal in business operations and should not be overlooked. Equally as important as it is for the Payroll employee to stay up-to-date, is the need for employers and organisations not to overlook the need for further training and development of their payroll teams. Less competent teams can put a business at risk for fines and penalties. Diligence Payroll can be very rewarding, but it can also be frustrating because when someone’s pay is calculated incorrectly, it does not matter how the information was received or from whom, payroll will always be held accountable and will be expected to resolve any discrepancies, With the many changes in legislation, with the introduction of furlough, and questions of how it will affect pay and remuneration, it is critical that Payroll professionals remain diligent with the entire payroll process.  Being in the Payroll recruitment profession for many years, I am aware of the many respectable attributes that Payroll professionals have, which often go unseen by employers, but the last year or so have elevated the fact that those in the profession are tech-savvy, deadline-driven, self-aware and flexible to change, and from my Poll and my experience, I am glad to see the perceptions are changing. For more information about this article or to discuss your Payroll recruitment needs, please contact Ray Moore on 07725 970 360 or email ray.moore@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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3 Reasons Why Hiring an Interim Finance Director Can Support You in Recruiting a Permanent Finance Director

One of the most important relationships at the senior level is that of the CEO and Finance Director. so it’s critical to put time and resources into finding the right fit for the FD position. It can seem a costly, time consuming and overwhelming prospect, particularly if it involves C-Suite conversations, but it's essential that you take this time to reflect on the role, what you would like the next FD to oversee and shape the role to suit your growing business. Here is where an experienced Interim Finance Director can help you bridge the gap, allow you to better direct and shape the role and processes to suit your organisation’s needs, as well having someone onboard to keep your existing finance operations running. The changeover of a permanent FD can open up a mix of complications, which if left unaddressed could mean it is filled by the wrong person, which can have a domino effect and be detrimental to your finance department, so it’s beneficial to recruit the right Interim Finance Director to manage this transition. There are many benefits to hiring an interim finance professional, but here are 3 reasons why hiring an Interim Finance Director can support you in recruiting a Permanent Finance Director: Bridge the Gap The permanent FD required at present may not be available immediately and an experienced interim FD provides seamless cover and continuity to day-to-day processes, ranging from a few weeks to a few months. Sometimes, a team without a leader can be misguided and feel a little displaced, so the presence of an interim Finance Director will bring stability to a finance function at what can be an unsettling and uncertain time for the existing team. The C-Suite can then continue to concentrate on company revenue-generating activities without being distracted by accounting and finance responsibilities. Relevance During the Hiring Process A temporary solution to your Finance Department can support you with the recruitment process by providing a professional opinion. Your interim support will be experienced, highly knowledgeable and multifaceted with their approach. They can help you to draft the job specification; taking time to reflect on what you would like from the future permanent Finance Director, perhaps skills you didn’t have in the previous.  An Interim FD can help you review candidate applications. Knowing what is good and what is not so good in a CV can sometimes be hard to spot if you’re not working directly in the field, so the experience of the interim support can help you filter the best candidate for your position, Once the permanent candidate is recruited, the interim can cover the incoming FD’s notice period and provide a comprehensive handover to ensure they are fully briefed and able to seamlessly integrate into the business with a thorough onboarding program. Confidence and Reliability Beyond the recruitment process, many key stakeholders, such as your clients and investors will be reassured that a competent, knowledgeable and reliable FD is in place through the transitional phase, so as to not disrupt the ‘business as usual’ operations. Similarly, the interim FD can also provide additional support and mentoring to phase the incoming Finance Director into the new environment. Freelancers/Contractors do not require the additional provisions which are expected by a permanent member of staff, which may include additional costs to total remuneration, so the business rests assured that the hiring and onboarding process is the most efficient one, in both time and money. For more information about how an interim finance professional can help your organisation, contact Petra on  07791 400 731 or email petra.brown@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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Accountancy Practice Recruitment: A Day in the Life an Audit and Accounts Researcher

Recruitment is one of those careers that the majority of the industry ‘fell into’. It’s rare for someone to wake up one day and think – I want to be a recruiter! Most of us realised a career in an industry that is rapidly growing, can be very lucrative and have a clear and steady career progression actually hits a lot of what we were looking for in a role. An opportunity to utilise our sales and influencing skills whilst working in an industry where every day is different and offers a lot of perks for success! Whilst recruitment in any industry is essentially the same thing (matching the right candidate with the right role) across each sector and industry there are many differences. In a recent poll I conducted on LinkedIn, 33% of recruiters said the focus of a desk they enjoy the most is Headhunting and Resourcing, whilst another 29% chose Account managing a portfolio. One of the opportunities we are hiring for internally at Pro combines both of these aspects as your main focus and is a fantastic starting point for a recruiter who has some experience but is now looking to specialise and make a name for themselves in the field. The accountancy practice market is absolutely booming, and our current team is performing, and billing more than they ever did in a pre-pandemic world. The nice things about the accountancy practice market and having a career within it are; It is candidate short – if you have a good candidate, you WILL place them! You are working in a less saturated market than others – Including Finance Commerce and Industry. It means you will really make a name for yourself and be seen as a specialist Pro-Finance has one of the best names in accountancy practice – you will have clients that WANT to work with you, in fact, seek you out! You will be resourcing candidates who know who you are, know you work with the best clients, and WANT to talk to you! You will progress to managing a portfolio of your own accounts to manage and build and develop relationships with I spoke to Kate Green, one of our resident Finance Recruitment Managers. After several promotions and progressing to her current position after starting as an Associate a few years ago, she shares her insight into the day-to-day role of a Researcher in her accountancy practice team. You will be Working closely with Senior Consultants to resource and generate candidate for clients Writing attractive job adverts to promote on a variety of job boards and social media Speaking to candidates, building relationships, and understanding their career aspirations and goals Informing clients and candidates of up-to-date market knowledge, advising on the types of practice and opportunities that fit what they want Searching for active candidates using a variety of job boards Headhunting passive candidates using a variety of social media and other outlets Preparing candidates for interviews, talking to them about roles, giving them tips, career advice and feedback Placing Accountants into their dream role in practice! If you are currently working in recruitment and looking for a role where you really can focus on candidates and delivery, then a move into accountancy practice can be for you! Speak to Loren on or email loren@pro-recruitmentment.co.uk for more information about opportunities here at Pro.

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Finance Practice vs. Industry: The Big Debate

Once you become a newly qualified accountant, you will inevitably come up against the decision of whether to build a career in practice or to move into an industry role. Both have their pros and cons, and your decision will ultimately come down to what type of person you are and what is important to you in your career. Making this decision can often feel daunting, but our specialist finance recruiters have put together key advice to help you make an informed decision! Recession Proof? Those who have worked through recent recessions and the current 2020 pandemic will share the same sentiment that those working in financial services have experienced reductions in their teams, but for most firms money movement is important, which explains why financial professionals are always in demand. Accountants, Auditors, Actuaries, Claims Specialists, Tax Preparers, Insurance Underwriters — the list of financial service jobs is long and varied, however, in good times or in bad, everyone needs to file a tax return or oversee their accounts, Auditors, see consistent demand during recessions. Financial regulations don’t go away during recessions, so neither does demand for Auditors.  From my daily conversations, and understanding of the recovery from the last recession, I have found that Practice is the safer route for newly qualified accountancy professionals, particularly those looking to specialise in Audit. When reflecting on earlier in they year, when the nation went into flux, many accountancy firms reduced their team sizes and made cuts to keep their operations profitable and afloat. However, upon entering the second lockdown, they are far more technically prepared, and recuiting Auditors in practice is again on the rise, with many firms now recruiting as normal, albeit virtually. Type of Work Many newly qualified accountants are attracted to industry roles because the companies themselves often seem more interesting, or just because they’re not audit roles! But in reality, although moving from practice to industry gives you the opportunity to use your skills in a very different environment, roles in industry can lack variation and excitement. You will find yourself working on the same or similar things on a day-to-day basis and you will most likely lose the client-facing aspect of a role in practice. If you are looking to be involved in the business development side of the firm you work for, you are best to seek a role within practice as opposed to industry where business development focused roles tend to be limited. As well as this, with a finance practice role, you will find you have a varied workload and responsibilities with certain busy periods throughout the year. Depending on your firm and department, your work could be audit, tax-focused, or accounts-focused to name but a few, and you will have autonomy in your work. Every week will see you working with different clients across different types of work that can vary in size and topic. Salary & Benefits Newly qualified accountants are often drawn into industry with an attractive pay rise compared to starting salaries within practice. Salaries within industry for a new-qualified accountant are typically around the £45,000 mark, occasionally going up to around £55,000 in certain sectors like Financial Services. However, the initial pay gap between industry and practice has reduced considerably and the salary for a newly-qualified candidate within practice can actually be higher than in industry, with many firms now matching the money offered in order to retain the best talent. Not only this, if you were to stay in practice and become a future Director or Partner, the pay would more than equal itself out and you would be looking at earning more further down the line. When it comes to benefits, packages in industry are very variable depending on the sector and business, however, more often than not they do include a bonus and a wide variety of benefits. Benefits within practice are typically better for two reasons - they are better-established companies with defined risk & reward teams, and you will also receive benefits in line with longevity of service, compared to industry where it would be a new role. Working Hours Industry roles tend to be busy when it comes to month-end but, again, that is very dependent on the size of the business. Practice roles will have seasonally busy periods throughout the year, but it’s also important to note that accountancy firms are very bottom-heavy meaning there will always be juniors carrying out work that is perhaps more menial, which is often not the case within industry. Typically, working in an industry role offers the opportunity to have a better work-life balance, with regular working hours and no late nights in the office! However, improving work-life balance is something that a lot of firms are increasingly working towards for their employees. The Big 4, for example, are not known for having the best work-life balance but this is improving on a daily basis with more firms understanding the value a healthy work-life balance adds to employee happiness. Progression Prospects Progression will depend entirely on the organisation and its structure. It can be possible to progress quickly within industry depending on your personal performance, as these companies do not have a rigid structure. However, progression within these companies is often very competitive! Teams tend to be smaller and while this is good in terms of extra responsibility, these teams typically do not offer a set career path and it is more difficult to stand out. On the other hand, a finance role in practice tends to offer a clear career progression path. This is particularly true when you get towards higher levels and there are targets to hit to move up in the company. The path for progression is very clear and structured into people’s careers, all the way up to Partner with equity in the firm, and CPD training and development is often a primary focus. Ease of Finding a New Opportunity If you are looking to move from practice into industry you will find yourself in a highly competitive market, particularly if you have trained in a smaller practice as you will be competing against Big 4 ACA qualified candidates, as well as industry-trained CIMA/ACCA candidates who will have more relevant experience in industry-specific roles. Therefore, it is often worth moving into a Big 4 or Top 10 firm to gain the experience and skills needed to open up a range of options for your next career step - whether this be a move into an industry role, a role at a smaller practice or SME, or remaining and progressing within a larger firm. Once you have chosen a route in industry it can be difficult to move sector or change your role type. For example, if your first move from practice to industry is within a Financial Accountant role, you will rarely be able to move within the same company to a Management Accountant role. It can also be challenging to move back into practice if you change your mind later down the line, particularly after a period of time longer than 12-18 months, as advances in the profession and working towards the new reporting standards would require a significant catch-up. However, within practice there is room for movement between different aspects of the business, offering variation and the chance to decide what type of role is best for you. Ultimately, your decision will come down to what type of work suits you and what you want from your career as a finance professional. If you are looking for a role within a company whose brand and household name excites you, then a role in industry may suit you. However, if you are looking for a client-facing role that offers autonomy and variation in your day-to-day responsibilities with a clearly defined career path, you should pursue a finance role in practice. For more information on this article, or for advice on your next career move into a finance role in practice, contact Graeme on 07841 864 239 or graeme.davidson@pro-finance.co.uk.

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So, You’re a Qualified Auditor - What Next?

As a specialist recruiter into the Audit and Accounts market, I interact with candidates and clients on a daily basis across all levels of seniority. I work with finance professionals all the way from trainees just starting their career within the profession, with a positive mindset and the world in front of them; to experienced Partners who have been there and performed the role for many years. One of the key staffing needs industry-wide and therefore one of the most engaging levels is at the newly qualified Audit Senior level. There are many reasons why this is a market skills gap but one of the key factors is that upon ACA/ACCA qualification auditors will look to explore their career options. You have just left a lengthy training contract; you have been employed in the same place for the last 3-4 years and it is time for a change. A common career choice is to leave the firm that has trained you and make the step over into a role within commerce and industry. People sometimes make this move as they feel tired of audit, they have ended up on the same client cycle for two or three consecutive years and it is starting to become a little repetitive, and in some cases, the move over to industry can be the right decision for people! However, in my experience, this can potentially be a rushed and ill-informed decision with people swayed by the bright lights of industry, without considering all of the options available. Some things to consider are the firm you are working for, the clients you are working on and even the Partners you will report to. When speaking with auditors the key thing they enjoy is client interaction, something that you will lose when working in-house.    Whether you want to be working with financial institutions with turnovers in the billions, small owner-managed businesses where you can be a key influencer in the business decisions or spending your time on-site at recording studios, film sets or sports stadiums. The world of audit may perhaps be larger than you realise.   If you are considering your next career move the importance of liaising with an experienced recruitment consultant who can provide advice cannot be overstated.  For more information about the Audit Recruitment landscape, give me a call on 07841 864 239 or email graeme.davidson@pro-finance.co.uk

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Freedom Day Delay - Increased Demand for Hiring Contractors

With the UK’s announcement to extend the final stages of lockdown until July 19th, and as Rishi Sunak rejects calls by businesses for furlough extension, there has never been a better time to consider hiring a contractor to bolster your finance team. More and more companies are turning to finance contractors rather than permanent staff during this unfamiliar time of economic growth. Real gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have grown by 2.3% in March 2021, the fastest monthly growth since July 2020, as government restrictions affecting economic activity continued to ease. Firms are concentrating on temporary workers due to uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit. Demand for temporary staff has increased at the fastest pace since October 2018, according to new research. With firms looking for contractors at both executive and non-managerial levels, there are plenty of finance positions for contractors to find, which means a lot of temporary skills you can be brought into your teams to support timely projects or fill a skill gap temporarily. Here are some in-demand key skills the Finance Interim, Temporary and Contractors can offer your business: Commerciality Technical skills are important, but companies place a high value on temporary staff who can see how their skills fit into the rest of the business operation and functions for any given project. The understanding of facts, figures and data, and the ability to translate that into a commercial reality, describing how it affects sales teams and operations are key. Additionally, professionals with interpersonal skills and a commercial background are sought after and can add bursts of value to your teams. Big Data Analytics This has been a big part of business and financial operations for a while now, but there are no signs that companies’ appetite for data analytics is decreasing. In a financial context, this means understanding your data sources and finding ways of matching them to sources in other areas so that your clients can be more in tune with changes in their customers’ needs. Hiring a Contractor will allow you to bring in skills, understanding and flexibility to work to a brief which your current staff members may not be able to offer, but can learn from. Regulatory Knowledge The effects of the recent pandemic continue to affect the financial sector with regulation remaining a top priority for government and international bodies. Experience in dealing with regulators and understanding what their key warnings are is important for companies of all sizes, but particularly for SMEs, which often do not have much in-house experience of these issues. A temporary member of staff needs little training nor introduction to this area and will be able to bolster your teams with on-the-beat knowledge. Risk Management Linked to regulation is the growing risk management industry, with many clients I am speaking to, having a greater focus on risk during the last year or so – both the potential liabilities of taking risks but also the opportunities afforded in new areas. Many Interim and Temporary finance professionals have experience using financial instruments to deal with credit risk, market risk or foreign exchange risk, they are in high demand but add invaluable resources to your business. Finance contracting is a growing area of the market with plenty of opportunities for professionals and organisations alike. Here are more reasons to hire a temporary, interim or contractor to support your finance operations For a more detailed discussion about your finance recruiting needs and how I can best advise on a temporary solution, please call me on 07791 400 731 or email petra.brown@pro-finance.co.uk

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Hiring an Interim Finance Professional - Benefits to an Employer

rWith the many changes to the economy, business activity and ways of working; A relatively recent development in the recruitment and job industry is that many employees are choosing to quit their positions in a company to work as a freelancer/contractor instead. As working from home and digital independance is on the rise, fixed-term contracts are becoming a popular option for those who don’t want to be tied down to a specific employer or who have been made readily available to employment due to redundancies during the pandemic. There are many reasons why hiring an interim finance professional may benefit your firm, but here are just five: 1. Flexibility HIring an interim finance professional or contractor allows you to meet business demands and manage fluctuations in the market. You may need to bridge a gap in your team temporarily, or bolster your team for a crucial deadline. There is more flexibility with a contracting than permanent employment, meaning that you can bring in workers during busy periods to help relieve the pressure on your permanent staff. 2. Cost Efficient Freelancers/Contractors do not require the additional provisions which are expected by a permanent member of staff, which may include additional costs to total remuneration. By very definition, contractors and freelance staff will work with you knowing they are only there to fulfil a role in a temporary time. Outsourcing contractors only when you need them is a more efficient way of running a business, and makes sure that you never have employees left with nothing to do. 3. Highly skilled with broader experience You will find that the majority of finance contractors come with a wide range of skills due to the number of assignments they have posted themselves to. Hiring a temporary contractor is incredibly useful in cases where you have a ‘gap’ in your company resources that needs to be filled for a short period of time; contracting is the best way to bring in someone with particular knowledge and skills when a specialist is required for a project. 4. Quicker hiring process With an interim professional or contractor you are hiring a specific skill set for a predefined period of time. Therefore the hiring process can be quicker as you do not have to factor in the cultural fit of the individual to the organisation and you can just concentrate on the requirements for the specific skill set. Less management is required when working with contractors, as they often only need a briefing or outline before going away and completing a task under their own esteem. 5. Try before you buy If you’re looking to develop a new role within your team, hiring an interim member of staff will allow you to test the waters and really help you shape a role within your team before having to put resources into onboarding a permanent member of staff. If you are really impressed with the work of a contractor, you can offer them a permanent role in your company at the end of their short-term employment. In summary, interim finance experts provide a efficient solution for organisations experiencing a staffing crisis. However, they can also inject specialist skills, deal with fluctuating workflow or form part of a business transformation project. A contract worker is hired on a fixed-term contract in order to offer their services to your business or work as part of a project. Typically, they are paid an hourly or daily rate and usually work independently. For more information about how an interim finance professional can help your organisation, contact Petra on  07791 400 731 or email petra.brown@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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IR35 - What's Changed?

For years, the stigma of IR35 has been a concern for working Contractors across the board in the Public Sector, however, up until now the ‘impossibility’ of HMRC policing such an issue has allowed the majority of contractors to operate outside (whether they legitimately are or not!). So what has changed? As of 6th April this year, the liability on IR35 status and correct tax reductions have shifted from the contractor’s Personal Service Company (PSC) to the end client and agency payrolling the contractor. Before 6 April 2021, if your worker provides services to a client through you in the: Public sector, the client must decide your employment status Private sector, you must decide your worker’s status From 6 April 2021, all public sector clients and medium or large-sized private sector clients will be responsible for deciding your worker’s employment status. This includes some charities and third sector organisations. If the off-payroll working rules apply, your fees will be subject to Income Tax and National Insurance contributions. What does this mean and what have been the ramifications thus far? Well, the most apparent change is everyone involved has become more risk-averse, in the fear of being liable for up to 7 years of back-dated tax payments to HMRC. The end organisations, who are legally responsible for deeming whether an assignment falls inside or out, are largely taking the risk-free approach and are stating that everyone is ‘inside’. This has, in turn, meant that each assignment has received less interest by true professional interim contractors (who are used to consultancy-like assignments), and has limited the talent pool. For those that have accepted the changes, it has meant that they have to operate through an additional intermediary, such as an Umbrella company – where the contractor is forced to pay full tax and National Insurance (at 13.8%) at the source. Conversely, we have seen many contractors who have put themselves through the HMRC tool, deemed themselves as out, and have the prerogative to challenge the clients and ask at least for the due diligence that has led to their ‘inside’ decision. We have also seen a number of Housing and Charitable organisations who have managed to stipulate, quite confidently, that they are outside, and have been able to offer ‘outside’ IR35 assignments. The risk that professional interims take differs to that of a permanent member of staff. When professional interim finish an assignment there is no guarantee that they will secure the next assignment anytime soon. A contractor could quite easily see themselves out of work 2-3 months at any time whilst they look for another opportunity. A lot of interims also have their own specialist remits such as a particular system implementation, culture transformation and reviewing financial processes and procedures to name a few. Professional interims are important for all companies going through change. Change can be difficult for any organisation that is going through the transition as it means going into something new without reassurance that it is going to work for the better. A lot of projects/assignments focus around someone who has gone through this change period and perform the same project for different organisations. If every permanent member of staff stayed at their company for a year on average just to move on to another company this would cause a huge disruption in the market. One of the important factors for someone to consider permanent over interim is having that security and stability. Every person is different and in the same respect, everyone’s motivators are different. With the IR35 changes, should contractors really have to take a hit in the public sector whilst the private sector remains unaffected? For more information about this article, or to speak to Petra about your interim finance recruiting needs in London or Nationwide, contact her on 020 7269 6350 or petra.brown@pro-finance.co.uk.

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Market Update from Pro-Group: Pat Keogh - Chairman January 2021

Hello, a quick update on the recruitment market from me, Pat Keogh, Chairman of the Pro-Recruitment Group. January 2021 We've been asked recently by a number of candidates "What's the state of the Market like?", and if you know us, we cover the Tax, Legal, Finance, Marketing & HR sectors. All five sectors are really strong, and we've been really pleased with the number of new vacancies registered by the organisations we work with. Surprisingly, 2020 was a very good year for a number of our clients, especially the professional services firms, law firms and accountancy firms. Even a lot of our Not-For-Profit sectors and tax commerce and industry surprisingly had a really good year. And that's been reflected by their levels of recruitment. We have a large number of vacancies we are looking to fill. It's really a character of the market, and that might be a surprise to a lot of people, but candidates and those now looking for new opportunities now have a really good choice of roles out there, clients are really keen to recruit and some have really aggressive growth plans. Many organisations are seeing this time as a good opportunity to grow their business and grow their headcount. If you are looking and considering moving, it's definitely worth exploring the market. Do call us, do explore our website and you will be really surprised to see the number of vacancies out there. Come and speak to us. We will give you good solid advice. We will always give you the best advice as to your career options. Ot's definitely a good market, so definitely give one of our team a call.

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5 Lessons We've Learned from Lockdown

What have we learned from lockdown? There’s no doubt that this year's events and pandemic have taken a huge toll on all of us, mentally, financially and economically, however there are plenty of lessons learnt that will allow us to improve ways of working, our lifestyles and our personal wellbeing going forward. Not for one minute am I suggesting the lockdown was a positive experience however I am a believer in looking for the positives in every situation and I cannot deny the lockdown has helped us learn several lessons.  Technology is the future For many years we have often heard clients say that we are not set up to work from home or have the infrastructure to support this. As a result of the pandemic it has accelerated the need for businesses to change their infrastructure and modernise their approach! Technology has enabled us to stay connected and allowed us to communicate with our friends, families and colleagues through some challenging times. Video calling and virtual meetings are now the norm and working from home is no longer viewed with trepidation and fear from Senior Management. If there is one thing we can take from the last few months it is that our employees can be trusted to perform effectively from home and that the working world has changed forever.  Flexibility is here to stay  How many of us have had the discussion with colleagues around flexible hours and working days? My guess, would be a considerable high amount! Well moving forward flexible working will no longer be ‘sold’ by companies as an additional benefit but will just be the norm for employees. No longer will individuals feel compelled to be at their desk 8.30am - 5.30pm but they will be empowered to manage their working day around other commitments and the focus will be on meeting key deliverables rather than time spent at a laptop!  Time is precious  Lockdown has meant life has changed to a slower pace. Gone are the days where our diaries are filled with meetings and social events and long commutes being squashed on tubes or trains. Personally, I am saving 4 hours per day not commuting to the office and I certainly have seen the benefits. Whilst I miss seeing my colleagues, I am using the time I am saving to take extra rest, spend with my family or exercise. I am ‘switched off’ from work at a good time to allow me to enjoy my evening without the rush-hour commute.  Lockdown has given us the space to reflect on the effects our busy working live has on our personal life and re-establish our priorities leading to some permanent, constructive changes.  Home is no longer a “pit stop”! "Don’t be like race car drivers and treat home like a pit stop” HBR Review. Before 2020, home for most people was unfortunately treated as a fueling station, a space to eat and sleep before heading out to work again and facing the early morning commute. Lockdown, and this pandemic has allowed all of us to treat our homes as more of a sanctuary, people are now spending more quality time together with their families and loved ones.  Putting our health first  According to YouGov, Covid-19 has resulted in 300,000 people giving up smoking, and has led to a further 550,000 trying to quit. The hashtag #QuitForCOVID has circled around Twitter in order to warn of the higher risks and severity of coronavirus on smokers. Personally, with the daily commutes, and the aforementioned ‘pit stops’, unconsciously I had been taking my health for granted through eating at ridiculous times and having little exercise. Throughout the last few months though, exercise has suddenly become a “no-brainer” and far easier to fit into my daily plan. I cannot use the ‘I don’t have time’ excuse anymore and on a personal level, I have seen the benefits through weight loss, feeling healthier and my individual mental wellbeing.  What other benefits have you taken from lockdown? I’d be keen to hear your thoughts on how you’ve utilised your extra time this year. Please give me a call on 020 7269 6349 or email tom.eagle@pro-finance.co.uk

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Calls for a Job Retention Scheme in the Charity and Not-for-Profit sector

30 charity leaders have written to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, requesting the need for  a job-retention scheme for the Charity & Not-for-Profit Sector. Civil society leaders call for the Chancellor to reassess decisions to ensure communities are supported, and fund  as the best way to recover from the pandemic. The letter highlighted that the sector faces a “critical dilemma” and calls for a tailored job retention programme.  The coalition is led by the Charity Finance Group and backed by over thirty other UK organisations, including the Chartered Institute of Fundraising, Association of Charitable Foundations, Acevo (the charity leaders’ body) and the Small Charities Coalition. They represent thousands of charities and social enterprises nationally across the UK.  The request for a time-limited scheme that enables organisations in the sector to furlough staff and allow them to volunteer their time and skills back to their not-for-profit, public benefit employer has been raised by the group for the Chancellor’s consideration. The letter highlights that the sector faces a “critical dilemma” and calls for a tailored job retention programme.  “The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was an exceptionally generous scheme which was welcomed by the sector and which charities and social enterprises have availed themselves of during its first phase,” the letter states. “However, as a scheme designed predominantly with private enterprise in mind, it had the perverse effect of incentivising mothballing of provision and not mobilisation. It finishes with, “It is counterproductive to be paying for a charity or social enterprise employee to stop working when our citizens so desperately need helplines, advice, support and guidance; whether on mental health, unemployment, homelessness or loneliness and isolation.”  From my perspective as a recruiter in the NFP and charities space, a delayed response for the need of support in the third sector space can be detrimental to charities delivering their services in these unprecedented times. It certainly is a ‘social dilemma’: Access the government’s job retention scheme to save on salary costs, and thereby closing or reducing vital services, or risk financial collapse.  The sector is so well served by those giving their time and skills on a voluntary basis, and yet employees who often work in the sector because of the cause and wanting to make a difference are unable to do so if they want too. Whilst this rule was undoubtedly made to stop rogue employers abusing the scheme and employee’s rights; should the charity sector be different?  I am interested in hearing your thoughts? Some have had the added cost of seeking short term, and part time interim flexible workers to help and we have certainly seen an increase in demand for part time and shorter term flexible interim workers. Please reach out on 020 7269 6351 or email me claire.stradling@pro-recruitment.co.uk

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900km run for CALM charity

With the impact of the pandemic this year taking a huge toll on people’s mental wellbeing, myself and 8 others at Pro-Recruitment Group have decided to raise money for CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) a small but growing charity, to support their campaigns, increase awareness, and offer our support. ​ Sadly, suicide rates have increased dramatically in both male and female in 2020, with Male suicide rate being at the highest for two decades. CALM is leading a movement against suicide, the single biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK. CALM runs a free and confidential helpline 0800 58 58 58 and webchat 7 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone who needs to talk about life’s problems, as well as help from other organisations.  CALM has experienced a record surge in demand for our helpline recently… 37% more daily calls in the first week of the Spring lockdown, to be precise. That’s why, during this second lockdown, myself, Rebecca English, Jennifer Nelson, Kevin Racher, Ashleigh Polakiewicz, Dominic Watt, Chris Davey, Tom Eagle and George Tatnell are aiming to run 100km each during a 30 day period to raise money and awareness for CALM, and hopefully improving our own mental wellbeing at the same time! With fundraising events being cancelled due to the pandemic, this charity needs our help more than ever - help fund CALM's life-saving helpline and webchat. Just £8 pays for a call that could turn someone’s life around. We understand that times are tough, however if you would like to donate, please visit our JustGiving funding page, where any donation is extremely appreciated. Stay tuned to socials for updates on our progress!               

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