In the 21st century economy, it’s becoming more and more common for working professionals throughout the UK to be self-employed, but many of today’s leading industries have yet to adapt to meet the unique demands of these self-sufficient clients. For British accountants to remain effective and marketable in the long-term, they’ll need to master the ins and outs of working with self-employed clients, and learn what simple mistakes they should learn to avoid if they want to remain successful for long.
Here’s how you can meet the unique needs of self-employed clients, and the key stats about the future of the job market in general you’ll want to stay up-to-date on.
Understanding the future of the job market
Before you can hope to meet the needs of your self-employed clients, you’ll want to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of the future of the job market, which increasingly appears set to be dominated by the self-employed and freelancers. In the post-Brexit economy in particular, the UK is set to experience and explosion of self-employed workers and freelancers, especially as millions of professionals come to realize that self-employment is the ideal route towards achieving financial security while retaining flexibility. There are already more than 4.7 million self-employed professionals in Britain alone, and this number is only likely to grow; so, what should you be doing to tap into this key market?
The first thing you need to understand is that your self-employed clients, include a dentist working at Fourth Ward Dentistry, are a world apart from those clients with a more traditional job at a classical firm, and that you can’t handle the demands of these two disparate groups with the same approach. It’s not impossible for accountants to handle both self-employed and traditionally-employed clients at once, but understand that doing so will put a significant strain on your resources and attention span, as you won’t be able to take a one-size-fits-all solution and expect it to work for every one of your clients.
Accountants should take extra time when dealing with their self-employed clients to figure out their personal workstyle and living arrangements, as the two are necessarily essential to any contractor’s continued success in the market. Contractors have significantly more unpredictable incomes than traditional employees, meaning it can’t hurt to encourage innovative ways to usher in greater personal savings, which are much more vital to freelancers and contractors than to traditional workers. Becoming a specialist in contractor affairs isn’t easy, precisely because it’s not all about industry-specific knowledge; oftentimes, you need extra social skills, and a good eye for determining your clients work schedule and financial preferences.
Furthermore, specialist accountants who are aiming to corner the self-employed client market will need to retain a greater level of flexibility themselves. The rise of flexible working arrangements appears to have been spurred by the recent increase in automating technologies, but flexibility is particularly important when it comes to dealing with non-traditional clients who don’t necessarily keep ordinary schedules, too. Thus, don’t be afraid to book your time more sparingly to ensure you’re going to be there for your clients when they need you the most.
Help your clients see the big picture
Far too often, the self-employed fail to have a bigger picture of the market place, largely because they don’t need one; self-employed specialist and freelance contractors need only master their area of expertise, and they can attain financial security for themselves. Still, not keeping your finger on the pulse of the broader market is an ideal way to spoil potential future profits, so it’s your job as an accountant to remind your self-employed clients that the fact that they’re self-sufficient doesn’t mean they live in a world of their own.
Younger clients who are just embarking on their careers may need more professional advice than you’re used to lending as a traditional accountant, too, so be prepared to act as more of a mentor than you may have originally thought when you began catering to independent contractors. Above all else, accountants will want to stay up to date on the handy tips that the self-employed can follow when it comes to filing their taxes, which is a unique way that contractors in particular can save a few extra pounds that many traditional employees can’t. Above all else, don’t get in over your head, and take on too many self-employed clients at once. These clients will need extra time and attention, and you’ll have to develop more extensive personal relationships with them, meaning trying to expand too fast is a surefire way to doom yourself to inevitable failure. Keep calm, expand slowly, and never try to rope in too many contractors at once, and you’ll soon find yourself to be providing invaluable services to a plethora of self-employed clientele.