One of the biggest societal changes of the last five years has been a growth in contracting, freelancing and self-employment.
One of the underlying trends behind this explosion in the volume of small companies and sole-traders is how large organisations are seeking a dynamic critical mass, a lower cost-base and that ability to expand and contract around the delivery of projects.
Having labour market flexibility has always been a key part of that – but developing a complex supply chain of knowledge workers, sub-contractors is growing in popularity – also contractors prefer the looser arrangement, as long as they get paid.
But how have professional service providers got their heads around this? What does it represent and how is it disrupting established ways of delivering services like accounting, book keeping, legal services and compliance?
The reasons for this are many. From the employers perspective (at least for some employers), employees are increasingly seen as a risk as much as an asset. Witness the growing number of zero hours contracts, allowing companies to add and drop resource as required.
But more specifically, in some industries, there has been a shift driven by the supplier of the highly skilled service which has eroded the very notion of what we would traditionally think of as a ‘job’. A long term mutual commitment between company and employee that incorporates wages, rights and perhaps some additional benefits like a pension or healthcare.
In the North of England, two of the boom industries of the new and emerging economy are digital industries and creative businesses, represented at thriving clusters in Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester city centres and around hubs such as MediaCity at Salford Quays. It’s an arrangement well known and well established in the film and television industry, amongst IT contractors and in construction, but it looks to be expanding into many creative and digital sectors too.
In February 2015, the government convened tech entrepreneurs to launch the ‘Tech Nation’ report, which revealed that over 170,000 people are now working in digital business in the North, many in rapidly expanding tech clusters, many of these working as contractors and freelancers.
To accelerate this growth, the government pledged to support the development of innovative businesses across the north through an £11 million investment in tech incubators based in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield. These tech incubators will create thriving local ecosystems by nurturing start-ups, fostering collaboration, and providing mentoring, learning and business support.
But as the costs of running businesses in London soar, so many technology businesses have been born in the North, so there are now 74% of digital and technology driven firms are now outside of the capital. Opportunities for IT contractors are as high as they’ve ever been in the North, which is a drastically different picture than a decade ago, often IT contractors would have to travel if they wanted to work.
The North is fast becoming a tech hub for digital contractors and freelancers, a vision of London becoming the only ‘Tech City’ is slowly being replaced by the recognition that digital opportunities should not be focused to one city, it needn’t be. With further development, innovation and investment, Britain as a whole could be on its way to becoming a ‘Tech Nation’!
Here at Gorilla Accounting, we understand how a contractor or freelancer can often be overwhelmed by compliance and we have developed an efficient, technology driven, simple accountancy package.
As Gorilla director Dan Fallows says: “Gorilla has been formed to offer a simple, competitive and slick offering to contractors and the self-employed. There is a real demand from busy contractors for a simple, slick and non-baffling accountancy service. There is no different packages, no gold membership for higher premiums or anything like that, Gorilla is simple, to the point and highly efficient. As more and more people become self-employed, there is a strong market for a product like Gorilla.” We are specialist accountants for contractors working in a range of fields, including accountants for IT contractors, accountants for vets and accountants for artists, just to name a few.
Published: 04/09/15 05:27:pm