We’re here to help you better your business.

Call Today : +44 (0) 20 3137 9791

Employee vs contractor – what you need to know!

Depending on the nature of your business, you may have workers who are employees or contractors, or you may have both. Each has their merits, but it’s important to review which are which in order to meet your tax obligations.

When you have an employee, you must withhold income tax as well as report on additional benefits. Contractors generally look after their own tax obligations.

It’s against the law to treat an employee as a contractor. Significant penalties apply if you do, so it’s important to get it right.

The simplest way to remember is:

An employee works in your business and is part of your business.
A contractor is running their own business.

But how can you be sure that you’ve got an employee or a contractor on your hands, especially with remote work blurring the lines between employees and contractors?

Does there come a point that you should actually be hiring a worker as an employee, when you thought they were a contractor?

There are six factors to consider:

1. Ability to subcontract or delegate

An employee is not able to subcontract or delegate the work. They must perform the outlined tasks themselves. If they can’t do the work themselves for any reason, say a prolonged illness, and someone else does it, this is substitution. Your business would then pay the other person to carry out those activities.

A contractor can delegate the work as long as they’re not obligated to do it themselves as per the contract. If your contractor can’t work, they would arrange for another qualified person to do it. You would pay your contractor as usual, who would then pay their subcontractor.

2. Basis of payment

An employee is paid a set amount per period of time. The most obvious example would be an annual salary or hourly wage.

Some employees are paid piece-work rates. They receive an amount per successful sale, or per the number of pieces produced. A commission basis would be a price per item structure.

A contractor, however, is paid an agreed-upon price in exchange for a predetermined result. Some contracts may specify the amount to be paid in increments as stages of the project are completed. But the key takeaway is that a contractor is paid when the agreed-upon result is achieved.

3. Equipment, tools, and other assets

If your business is responsible for providing the equipment, tools, and other assets required to perform the job, that’s characteristic of an employee.

If the worker is providing these items, they are likely a contractor.

4. Commercial risks

Employees do not bear commercial risk and they are not liable for correcting any defects in the work at their own expense. Instead, your business takes this responsibility. The worker will be paid for the time required to perform the task to completion.

A contractor assumes the commercial risk. They are responsible for fixing any mistakes on their own time. This extra work would fall under the umbrella of the terms set at the beginning of the project. Your business does not have to pay for any extra time taken or materials used, unless otherwise specified in the contract.

5. Control over the work

Employees have to complete the work the way the employer specifies. What work is done, where it’s done, how it’s done, and when it’s done are all up to the employer. The employee then completes the work as required.

Contractors are not subject to the same rules. They decide when and how the work is done, so long as it meets the obligations laid out in the contract. For example, a contractor could choose to work three 10-hour days to complete a job, rather than working four 8-hour days.

6. Independence

An employee works within a business. They complete tasks as required until they leave the job.

A contractor operates independently and may have any other number of contracts on the go with other companies. They can freely accept and refuse other work. Their obligation is complete when they deliver the specified outcome.

Final thoughts

It can be confusing to make the determination between an employee and contractor, but it’s important that you do so in order to meet your tax obligations and play by the rules. Contact us to learn more about your tax obligations for employees and contractors.

If you are looking for Fulham accountants or a tax advisor in London, get in touch!

e: office@londonaccountants.co   t: 0203 137 9791

Kind Regards,
The Team at London Accountants

Do you know your break-even point?

Do you know your break-even point? 

All business owners need to be aware of this – that is, the number of units they need to sell in order to cover their operating costs.

Once you’ve reached your break-even point, it’s time to celebrate: your business is no longer in the red, and you are officially earning a profit.

This article will show you how to calculate your break-even point so you can make wise business decisions that support greater growth.

Why your break-even point matters:

Entrepreneurs who attempt to run a business without knowing whether or when they’ll be profitable probably won’t be in business long.

Knowing your break-even point comes in handy whenever you’re making plans to invest in your company’s growth, or making a decision that will have an impact on profits (i.e. a cost-benefit analysis).

Another key advantage of knowing exactly how much you have to earn to start generating profits is improved accuracy of your budgets and forecasts.

What are your fixed costs?

The first step to calculating your break-even point is to list the predictable, ongoing monthly expenses required to run your business.

Examples of fixed costs include:
– Rented or leased office space
– Rented or leased retail space
– Employee salaries
– Office expenses
– Insurance
– Utilities (e.g. heat, electricity, phone service, internet)

Do the best you can to include the most accurate numbers on your break-even spreadsheet – and be sure to add an additional 10% to cover unforeseen miscellaneous expenses.

List your variable costs

You’ll also want to take into account the business expenses that vary month to month. In order to be as precise as possible, calculate an average monthly cost by tracking your variable expenses over a two to three month period.

Examples of items you’ll want to include monthly estimates for are:
– Inventory
– Labour
– Commissions
– Shipping costs
– Delivery fees
– Interest fees Icalculated on your business credit cards or lines of credit)

Based on your fixed and variable monthly costs, you can now determine how much you need to sell in order to reach your break-even point.

Try this simple break-even formula

To find the break-even point for any product or service you offer, enter the following numbers in the formula below:
1. your company’s fixed overhead costs
2. the price of each item for sale
3. each unit’s variable costs

Fixed costs ÷ (unit sales price – variable costs)

As an example, let’s calculate the break-even point for a web designer offering fixed rate website packages priced at £5,000/each.

Fixed operating expenses: £10,000
Variable expenses/package: £1,000
Current sales price: £5,000/package

£10,000/(£5,000 – £1,000)
£10,000/(£4,000) = 2.5

According to this calculation, the web designer would need to sell 2.5 website packages to break even and start earning a profit.

In order to improve profitability, the designer may decide to cut expenses, switch to lower-priced business service providers, raise her rates, or try to sell her customers new “add on” services.

Final thoughts

To ensure you’re always making business decisions based on the most accurate, up to date info, make it a habit to update your break-even analysis each quarter.

Now that you know your company’s break-even point, what will you do to increase your small business’s profitability today?

Kind Regards,
The Team at London Accountants

Londonaccountants Logo Main 12 12

Get paid first – why your salary should be your business’s first monthly expense

Get paid first – why your salary should be your business’s first monthly expense!

It’s the line item most often left out of a small company’s budget: the business owner’s salary.

Let’s face it: you can always spend cash on your business. From office expenses to employee salaries to rent, every month a portion of your revenue is accounted for.

But paying yourself first is a must. You need to earn a living – and paying yourself can actually help your business succeed.

Here’s why you should make your salary a top priority, starting now.

It’s the first rule of wealth building

A business exists to make money, but business owners thrive when they continuously save and invest profits. If you aren’t paying yourself before your vendors, suppliers, and employees, you’re probably not setting aside funds to re-invest in your business to help grow more profits – or investing in a wealth building portfolio.

Pay yourself what you can afford monthly or biweekly and earmark a portion to invest in savings. Making consistent financial contributions throughout the year will help you build a healthy nest egg – and the sooner you start the more you’ll benefit from compound interest.

Setting up automated fund transfers from your business to an investment savings account will make paying yourself easy. After a month or two, you won’t even notice a difference in your cash flow – but odds are you will be motivated by your growing balance.

Avoid a cash flow crunch

There will be times where you’ll need additional funds available for your business – and borrowing from a lender may not be an option. Unfortunately if you’ve only been in business for a short time, it can be difficult to qualify for a business loan or line of credit.

When you make it a habit to pay yourself first you’ll be able to build up funds. When you need to make a large purchase, an unexpected expense comes up, or you’re ready to invest in profit-generating growth strategies, you’ll be prepared – and can avoid the risk of debt.

Pay yourself – even when you think you shouldn’t

Sometimes it may feel like you need to compromise between two priorities: paying yourself and paying all your bills in full.

Continue to pay yourself a minimal salary every month, even when money is tight. Then pay the rest of your bills, putting down as much as you can above the minimal required payment. This strategy will help you build a solid credit rating – so when you apply for a business loan a lender will consider you a good risk.

It’s worth noting that banks, finance companies, and investors regard business owners who pay themselves in a positive light – and are much more likely to want to deal with them.

Financial reward can be a powerful incentive

Many businesses generate revenue, but it typically takes time to see healthy profits – another reason it can be difficult to pay yourself first.

Nonetheless, rewarding yourself for your hard work will motivate you to keep working, even if you aren’t able to pay yourself a large salary right away.

Talk to your accountant for a guideline on how much to pay yourself – and always treat yourself as generously as you would your employees.

Reward financial milestones met and projections exceeded with a bonus. Raise your salary when your profit shows continuous growth. If giving yourself a raise creates some anxiety, do it in confidence knowing you can always make adjustments as needed.

Kind Regards,
The Team at London Accountants

Londonaccountants Logo Main 12 12