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  1. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by AR Tax View Post
    According to Companies House the FCSA (i.e. FREELANCER AND CONTRACTOR SERVICES ASSOCIATION LIMITED) uses a virtual office for its registered address. It previously used Brooksons' address as registered office but has since changed (maybe to give an impression of independence?). Brooksons are still the accountants according to the last set of accounts filed with Companies House. According to these accounts the FCSA only has 1 employee (probably explains why the FCSA doesn't need a physical office).

    One of the directors is Chris James. He is head of accounting at JSA Services Ltd.

    The other director is Julia Kermode who appears to have a background in biology, medical charities, the voluntary sector and marketing before becoming director of the FCSA.

    Consequently the FCSA does appear to be a small entity setup and run by the contractor accountancy/umbrella industry in order to regulate the contractor accountancy/umbrella industry. However, to its credit, it seems to be not for profit (limited by guarantee) and setup 11 years ago by firms not using offshore loan schemes as a way of distinguishing them from non-compliant providers.

    There is another similar organisation called Professional Passport Limited. However this organization has never really gained the same traction as the FCSA. Most likely because it was not setup by the big contractor accountancy firms and therefore probably does not have a big budget. This organisation appears to be for profit.

    In summary, I don't think either organization was originally setup to create a barrier to entry primarily for umbrella companies. However 11 years on it would seem that the FCSA is a barrier to entry because an umbrella will find it difficult to get onto a recruiter's PSL unless it can jump through all the compliance and financial hoops the FCSA lays down. I feel sorry for small umbrella companies trying to enter the market.

    Long term I think the FCSA really needs to sever all ties board position ties that it has with its contractor firm members (e.g. get new accountants and new directors) and act like a genuine regulator, e.g. issuing fines to non-compliant providers, bringing the audit in-house rather than outsourcing it to EY, launching investigations, etc.
    Hi AR Tax,

    Every time a new chairman is elected from the board, they become a director of FCSA too. That's the only explanation for this as many of the names seem to correspond with past chairmen.

    I would disagree with Professional Passport having the same "authority" as FCSA in the contractor industry. You may be right 5-6 years ago as at that time most of the audit questionnaires and PSL applications we did, we were asked if we were members of Professional Passport. However, this isn't the case now. They seem to revolve around us having FCSA membership, and indeed, all REC agencies that send out these applications specifically have FCSA mentioned because of the close working relationship between the two bodies.

    I think that FCSA membership being a prerequisite for many agencies PSL is a good thing. It doesn't allow companies that use tax avoidance schemes to get any foothold in the market. We've been advising contractors for many years that headline take-home numbers aren't the be-all end-all.

    We're going through our audit now, and it's not with EY. You can choose from a number of organisations. And FCSA is the only trade body that will shares the results with HMRC.

    Thanks

    Zeeshan

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by DolanContractorGroup View Post
    And FCSA is the only trade body that will shares the results with HMRC.
    Who do they share them with at HMRC? Surely there would need to be a disclosure agreement to do this as there is sensitive data that is shared which I don't ever recall seeing?

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by lucyclarityumbrella View Post
    Who do they share them with at HMRC? Surely there would need to be a disclosure agreement to do this as there is sensitive data that is shared which I don't ever recall seeing?
    Hi Lucy

    This is what the Code states: "FCSA will notify HMRC once your application is successful. By virtue of applying for FCSA accreditation, you agree to this information being shared with HMRC, should your application be successful."

    As for who this is at HMRC, you will have to ask Julia.


    Thanks

    Zeeshan

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by DolanContractorGroup View Post
    As for who this is at HMRC, you will have to ask Julia.
    Will do, thanks

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