No longer Ltd->Crystal Umbrella Services Ltd->Aqua Bubble Ltd T/As Crystal Umbrella?? No longer Ltd->Crystal Umbrella Services Ltd->Aqua Bubble Ltd T/As Crystal Umbrella??
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    Question No longer Ltd->Crystal Umbrella Services Ltd->Aqua Bubble Ltd T/As Crystal Umbrella??


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    I was with them - they fuked me over partly my fault tho - T&C's u have to read in detail, missed a clause, only myself to blame.

    Basically I'm 8k out, as it stands - as it's a bad debt now I might be able to mitigate my losses somehow but it's accountant time, too hard for me.

    Real mess and as under an LLP you are largely self-employed you're in the liable tulip tax wise, as I am now. No Ltd protection, not that there was ever that much under the 'lifting the veil' rule....

    Either you can save and save and fight it and worry, or go elsewhere and earn more and just pay it off. As a result I'm off to EU-land, 8k a drop in ocean on this gig but I'd rather pay it off on principal for my own peace of mind, knowing I can return to UK if need be.....

    But I don't think I will.

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    Hold on!

    Umbrella companies are risk free compared to LTD....

    Or so they all claim....

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    Quote Originally Posted by prozak View Post
    Hold on!

    Umbrella companies are risk free compared to LTD....

    Or so they all claim....
    That depends on the umbrellaand what the claims are based on.

    A lot of umbrellas that have gone under leaving a mess for contractors had all of the accreditations and badges of honour going. ultimately they counted for nothing and protected no one.

    The FCSA is worth looking into as part of their code of conduct is a full independent audit by a big four accountancy firm, the results of which are then presented to HMRC.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven@Parasol View Post
    That depends on the umbrellaand what the claims are based on.

    A lot of umbrellas that have gone under leaving a mess for contractors had all of the accreditations and badges of honour going. ultimately they counted for nothing and protected no one.

    The FCSA is worth looking into as part of their code of conduct is a full independent audit by a big four accountancy firm, the results of which are then presented to HMRC.
    You do have a bit of a vested interest though don't you Steve? Not exactly impartial advice
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    Quote Originally Posted by LisaContractorUmbrella View Post
    You do have a bit of a vested interest though don't you Steve? Not exactly impartial advice
    Nope, not impartial and yes I am bias. It's obvious who I work for!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven@Parasol View Post
    Nope, not impartial and yes I am bias. It's obvious who I work for!!!
    That's ok then - as long as you admit it
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    Quote Originally Posted by LisaContractorUmbrella View Post
    That's ok then - as long as you admit it
    I would add one serious point though. Any service provider can join the FSCA subject to them passing KPMG's audit (which includes an onsite visit).

    There have been plenty of examples recently of umbrella companies going under despite having all the badges of honour and accreditation going. This is just my personal view but you could argue that the kite marks designed to protect contractors weren't worth the paper they were written on and some service providers were using them simply as marketing tools.

    The financial irregularities and bad practice that led them to go under would have been discovered by the audit. I won't names but there have been instances when a service provider has not passed the audit and had not been admitted to the FCSA.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steven@Parasol View Post
    I would add one serious point though. Any service provider can join the FSCA subject to them passing KPMG's audit (which includes an onsite visit).

    There have been plenty of examples recently of umbrella companies going under despite having all the badges of honour and accreditation going. This is just my personal view but you could argue that the kite marks designed to protect contractors weren't worth the paper they were written on and some service providers were using them simply as marketing tools.

    The financial irregularities and bad practice that led them to go under would have been discovered by the audit. I won't names but there have been instances when a service provider has not passed the audit and had not been admitted to the FCSA.
    But that's kind of the point isn't it Steve? A one off audit will not prevent an umbrella company from failing - it will identify non-compliance (although that could be argued as HMR&C opinion is not set in stone), it will, possibly, identify bad business practise but it will not stop bad management financial or otherwise. Also, it will not be made public if companies are not admitted to the FCSA so what use is it to the contractor - they won't know if an application has been made but failed. We have always taken independent advice from specialist accounts and employment lawyers but really the only people who can determine whether or not an umbrella is truly compliant is the HMR&C and, as we all know, they don't 'approve' anyone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LisaContractorUmbrella View Post
    But that's kind of the point isn't it Steve? A one off audit will not prevent an umbrella company from failing - it will identify non-compliance (although that could be argued as HMR&C opinion is not set in stone), it will, possibly, identify bad business practise but it will not stop bad management financial or otherwise. Also, it will not be made public if companies are not admitted to the FCSA so what use is it to the contractor - they won't know if an application has been made but failed. We have always taken independent advice from specialist accounts and employment lawyers but really the only people who can determine whether or not an umbrella is truly compliant is the HMR&C and, as we all know, they don't 'approve' anyone.
    The onsite audit is conducted every year and part of the audit is making sure the umbrella company can meet all its obligations to HMRC. Part of the audit also looks at the positive net worth of members and their financial standing. So if the directors are buying yachts with the crown money the audit will uncover it.

    FCSA members also have to make their accounts public so that anyone who wants to review them may do so. Again, encouraging more transparency in our industry.


    HMRC do not approve anything but they have been involved in drawing up the audit process alongside one of the 'big four' accountancy practices and the results are presented to them every year as well. It is the only standard that has the backing of both REC and APSCo (as quoted below).

    Here are the quotes I'm talking about:

    In response to FCSA members undergoing this rigorous review process, Kevin Green, Chief Executive of the REC says:

    "We are delighted to see that three providers have now gone thorough the FCSA's rigorous code assessment process. This process has two important factors: one is independent review which ensures objectivity and the other is HMRC involvement. While we can not endorse any providers we are pleased that the FCSA are bringing standards and professional conduct into a part of our industry sector."

    Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo:

    "APSCo has long had confidence in the services provided by FCSA members and has been pleased to support the Association’s endeavours since its inception. I am particularly pleased to note the code’s unique clarification of FCSA members’ financial standing and their positive net worth. The FCSA code goes beyond anything else that is available in the market and will be the clear leader in setting compliance standards going forward."


    We are actively working with recruiters who are relooking at their PSLs and evaluating; a) what their PSL is actually for and b) do their service providers provide a true umbrella model that mitigates their risk as it should. The ones that don't are being removed.

    You are right in that contractors won't know which companies have failed the audit and don't stand up against the code of conduct, but then an easy way to solve this is to only work with those service providers that have passed the standard. We are finding that more and more of the recruiters we are working with are taking this view point as it also protects their business and profitability.

    So its win win for contractors and recruiters.

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