The Contractor Checklist
Want to take the plunge and become an accounting and finance contractor?
Yay for you! You’ve decided you’ll unshackle yourself from your permanent role and venture out as a professional contractor. You’re clearly bold, brave and smart. Contracting isn’t for the faint hearted, but it can be so rewarding if done right!
Last week I dispelled the common myths of contracting. I explained that contracting doesn’t look bad on your CV, you can learn a lot and there’s more job security than you think. Now you may be asking yourself, what’s the next step? Never fear, I have a step by step process on just that:
GET YOUR CV UP TO SCRATCH
If you’re going to be moving between contracts more often than a permanent job, you’ll need to get that CV looking all shiny. Only include the most important info on there.
Get it up to date and try and avoid any red flags. If you’re not sure whether your CV is doing the trick, check out our blog on just how to write a great one.
The big thing to remember here is that you will need to keep updating it between contracts. You could have it on a Google Doc so you can access it from anywhere and any computer. Indicate on your CV that you’re a professional contractor and include as many achievements you had during your contracting period as possible. Some contractors choose to use a table on their front page to quickly summarise their assignments.
SET UP YOUR LINKEDIN ACCOUNT
Most employers go to your LinkedIn profile after they’ve had a peek at your very impressive CV.
Don’t just copy and paste your CV to your LinkedIn account. Use this platform as a time to shine even more and secure that contract. We have some extra pointers on just how good LinkedIn can be for your career here.
PARTNER WITH AN AGENCY THAT SPECIALISES IN YOUR FIELD AND BUILD A GREAT RELATIONSHIP WITH THEM
If you’re a great networker and excel in what you do, you’ll likely get a lot of work through word of mouth. But most of you reading this are only just starting out your contracting journey so it can take a while to build this network up. Contact a recruitment agency who specialises in accounting and finance (such as Consult Recruitment) and gain their advice on how their contractors got started and the steps they took. Work closely with your agency and make sure they get to know you well. Partnering with a specialist agency should increase job security because while you’re busy working, they’re searching for your next contract and doing the hard work for you.
BUILD YOUR BRAND
As a contractor, you’re not hiding behind a corporate brand – you need to market yourself too. Many successful contractors write blogs, speak at events and go to networking meetups. This may sound daunting, but it’s proven to pay off and increase the demand for your services.
THE NITTY GRITTY
You need to make a few decisions about exactly what type of contractor you are going to be and what option applies to you. Are you going to be PAYE or an independent contractor? And what are the differences and benefits of each? Consult Recruitment can guide you on this.
There’s a mountain of info on the IRD website that you can check out to get the full scope of what each one involves. To find out more check it out here.
DO YOUR GST RESEARCH
Depending on your situation and what you’ll be earning, further down the track you may need to register for GST – for more information click here.
HAVE A RAINY DAY/HOLIDAY ACCOUNT
The big upside of going all contract on your career means you have flexibility with your time between contracts to do with what you want (woohoo!) However, it’s also a good idea to just have a ‘rainy day’ savings account for any downtime you might experience when waiting for the next contract to begin.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT THE LONG TERM
As a contractor you can still contribute to KiwiSaver. You’re still entitled to the government’s member tax credit (MTC). This is where the government adds 50c for every dollar you put into your KiwiSaver account – up to $541 per year. When contracting it may be easy to put this life admin to one side, but you’ll definitely appreciate free money from the government.
GET READY FOR WHAT’S GOING TO BE AN EXCITING JOURNEY!
You’re in control – enjoy it. You’re going to learn a whole lot about the accounting and finance world. Whether you land contracts in different organisations within an industry, or different industries all together, you’ll expose yourself to so much more as a contractor. Go you!
If you’re ready to push the boat out into the exciting world of contracting, get in touch with us so we can prime you for your new adventure!