Category Archives: Opinion

To Be Home or Not To Be Home – Do You Really Need The Office?

I work from home a lot. To be honest I quite enjoy taunting my friends with it. Most of them work in a 9 – 5 office environment or similar and I like to tell them that I roll out of bed, throw down a coffee and then get on with my day without even dressing sometimes. Obviously this is not true, ok it’s partially true but I can promise you I am not writing this in my Spiderman onesie.

Working from home does have a number of advantages and many of these go beyond the option to sit around in your PJ’s, however there are also a lot of pitfalls and difficulties associated with teleworking. Some of the downsides include:

  • Where do you meet people?
    There are still a lot of clients who will put store in the office as indicator of success. Your local coffee shop is not always as conducive to meeting clients as the meeting room in the business centre where you are located.
  • The office is where you ‘work’.
    For some people there is a psychological element to going to work. It means you are ‘working’ whereas being at home doesn’t have the same professional atmosphere. You may even encounter some prejudice in that people will believe you are not actually working productively at home. In the case of some home workers this can be true, not because they are lazy but because they need the ‘working’ state of mind of being at work.
  • Daddy can I…Mummy can I…
    Home is also where everyone else is at home, and that means it is full of distractions. Five minutes chatting to your partner, the kids, the postman, the man next door and the girl looking for a charitable donation can quickly turn into an unproductive couple of hours each day.
  • The Kitchen Chat
    Being at home is isolating and can be quite lonely. Creative people tend to thrive on everyday input and don’t forget the work related information and opportunities you will probably miss out on.

On the other hand there are a lot of positives. For example:

  • Flexible and free
    You have no phone to man and no office to attend to so if you want to zoom off to Lizard point or John O’Groats for a meeting you can do. The office isn’t somewhere you can just leave as needed. It needs attention and it needs maintaining. Working from home you are free to come and go as you please.
  • As much as the home worker is prone to distraction they are also freed from the office gossip and the time thieves. If you are fine working on your own then being a home worker is perfect for long, uninterrupted periods of concentration.
  • Money in the bank
    Working from home is obviously cheaper for the individual. If, as is often the case in the media world, you are a freelancer and/or self-employed sole trader then why spend the money on offices? There are also potential tax advantages to working from home.
  • Work life balance
    Yes the kids and all the various paraphernalia of domesticity will conspire to interrupt you but, if managed effectively, just in the commute alone you could save a couple of hours of family time.

The other thing we haven’t even touched on here is the half and half option of shared and virtual offices.

There are good and bad points on both sides of the working from home debate. Probably equal top of the list for most of us is the question of finance and work life balance. The latter you will need to decide for yourself but the question of the financial benefits we can help you with. Whichever way you work it is a good idea to find out if that onesie is a legitimate expense, so call us to discuss your situation and we will be happy to help.

The right business advice is essential for your success

It doesn’t really matter whether you’re starting a business, going self-employed or if you’re already trading – business advice is essential if you’re to effectively manage every element of your venture. While our media accountants specialise in a niche industry, the knowledge and insight we’ve gained over our many years’ of combined experience has given us a fantastic awareness of exactly what business advice is most valuable to our clients, whatever their chosen sector.

If you’re just starting out, the first thing you may need help with is developing a business plan; this is essential if you’re going to be relying on a cash injection from elsewhere to help you get things moving. If you’re applying for a bank loan or investment from another external source, having a robust business plan is the first step in convincing them that their money is safe in your hands.

A media accountant from Blue Skies can help you understand your responsibilities

Our media accountants can help you through every step of the process when starting or growing your business. From deciding what kind of company you should set up, to working out the most appropriate bank account for your needs, we’re here to offer our expertise in order to help you make the right decisions. You may also need some information on legislation or laws that will apply to you, such as employment laws and tax liability and regulations.

Depending on the type of work you’re doing, you might also need to organise some insurance – whether that be public liability, indemnity or something else; with our first hand knowledge of your industry, we can help you to work out exactly what requirements will apply to you and your business.

Our media accountants can deal with your financial liabilities and much more

As media accountants, we’re also the best people to turn to if you’re looking for help with your bookkeeping, national insurance contributions, tax returns or payroll responsibilities. Because we’ve been working with people in your sector for so long, we know all of the facts and figures like the back of our hands – and it’s our job to keep up with any changes that may affect you so that you don’t have to shoulder this responsibility yourself. We know all the best ways to legally reduce your tax payments and we can even offer business advice regarding contracts and rates of pay – we can even give you help with networking if you like!

So whether you’re a cameraman, a production company, a singer, a presenter, an entertainment agency, or even if you work in any other industry at all, you can trust our media accountants and business specialists to provide you with the most up-to-date and relevant business advice for your needs – no matter where you are on your journey.

The potential benefits of being self-employed

People all have different reasons for becoming self-employed, and as long as you’re well prepared there can be many benefits. Some people choose to go self-employed following a big life change, such as after a redundancy; with the current economic climate seeing a reduction in the amount of jobs available, self-employment may be the best option in order to create your own work opportunities. For other people, it may simply be a choice of turning their skills into their own business, rather than opting to work for someone else.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of being self-employed is the flexibility that it gives you. You can work the hours you want on the days you want – if you have children at school, it can be a great way of working around their education while also saving on expensive childcare. This flexibility also extends to your finances; you decide how much you want to charge for your services, rather than your hourly rate being dictated to you by someone else. It also means that you can take time off for holidays whenever you like, or charge a premium for certain services; for example, some self-employed people charge extra if they’re asked to complete work in a short timeframe.

Outsourced accounting and tax services can help

Being self-employed also has some tax benefits; in the tax year 12/13, you’ll get full tax relief on the first £8,105 that you earn. You may also be able reduce your tax liability by claiming some of the costs of running a home office, as well as any purchases that you make which are necessary for the work that you do. Obviously, the things that you can claim relief on will differ depending on your industry – our accountants and tax advisers can help to explain how tax and business accounting works, so do feel free to contact us if you require any help with this.

Filling in your own end of year tax return can seem a bit daunting, especially if you’ve never had to do this before. The good news is that for an affordable fixed fee, we can take care of all of your bookkeeping and tax calculations for you. As accounting professionals, we know all the best ways to reduce your tax liability and will ensure that everything is managed in compliance with HMRC regulations – and of course, our fees will also be classed as a tax deductable expense!

Additional benefits of being self-employed

Being self-employed also affords you the benefit of being your own boss – you don’t have to abide by somebody else’s rules and you get to keep everything that you earn. You decide the best processes and systems for you and you can manage your work commitments around your chosen lifestyle; if you’re an early riser, you can start work at five o’clock in the morning if you like and then have the afternoon to do your own thing, or you can start work later if that’s what you prefer.

Being self-employed also means that you get to manage your own cash-flow. You can take money when you need it or leave it in your business account. You can do anything that you want, as long as your tax liabilities are met.

In addition to our accountancy and tax services, we can help you with everything you need to go self-employed. We can help you with your tax registration, contract and rate negotiations, offer advice on business development and growth and help you to ensure that everything is set up in the best way for you to succeed – we can even offer advice and help with networking. So why not give us a call today and see what we can do to help you realise your self-employment dream?