Umbrella standards site continues to grow
Just 4 months after its launch, All Umbrella Companies Are Equal – a site aimed at increasing levels of compliance throughout the contracting industry – says it now has 31 members who have committed to providing a ‘straight talking’ approach with clients.
Interestingly, the site says that 100% of respondents to a recent poll said that, at some stage in their careers, they had been offered the chance to ‘increase their take home pay’ by moving from one umbrella company to another. Of course, this could only be achieved via ‘unethical means’, as all umbrella companies should pay the same rate of tax. The only difference should be in the fee charged by the umbrella provider.
You can find out more about the umbrella company charter, and how to spot a compliant umbrella provider here.
Poll reveals how recruits choose umbrella providers
A survey by Parasol, one of the UK’s largest umbrella companies, found out which factors most influenced the umbrella companies recruiters chose to recommend to contractors.
Almost three-quarters of respondents said that an important factor was the quality of service received from existing contractors, followed by the quality of relationships between contractors and their umbrella providers.
Although the practice has been tightened up in recent years, thanks to the Bribery Act 2010 and other measures, it is widely known that many recruiters receive ‘kickbacks’ from the umbrella companies and accountants they recomend to clients. Despite this, a mere 30% of recruiters who took part in the poll said that financial rewards and incentives were a significant factor. Make of that what you will!
Rogue contractor accountant banned from being a company director
Following his conviction for 13 counts of fraud in 2012, Darren Upton has now been barred from acting as a company director for 14 years.
The accountant was found guilty of a number of scams, including providing his contractor clients with his own bank account details, instead of HMRC’s. He also managed to raise £5m in investments for a currency trading scheme that was never actually started. The money was spent on a wide range of lifestyle items – including a box at Elland Road, and putting up his mistress in a £800/month apartment, complete with sports car and thousands in cash.
Worryingly, despite being sentenced over 18 months ago, over £1m of the current investment fund has yet to be returned to old clients.