Meet Nicole Slowey, our Operations Director. In this article she shares with us her past experience with IR35 in both the private and public sectors and how this shaped her expectations for the 2021 reform to the off-payroll rules.
How would you describe your day-to-day role at Qdos?
At Qdos, I am ultimately responsible for sales, marketing and operations across the business. Despite this, I have a particular focus on our Off-Payroll Services for client and agency organisations.
My priorities under our Off-Payroll Services are client development and service delivery, which means my role is varied and covers a breadth of work – no two days are ever the same.
One day I can have calls and meetings with prospective clients, giving them an overview of our services and what we can do to support them. The next I might be directly working with our Tax team delivering an IR35 Audit Project for a client.
I also spend a lot of time with our marketing and PR teams on designing thought leadership and education content – so from time to time you also might find me on a webinar or the Qdos YouTube channel giving an update on the latest IR35 news developments. Education and sharing insights is one of my favourite parts of my role. It gives me a fantastic opportunity to engage with clients both old and new, giving them the information they need to make well-informed decisions of their company’s IR35 strategy.
What is your experience in the IR35 and contractor market?
I have worked in the contractor market for almost 9 years for finance, accounting, insurance and tax consultancy firms. For the last 6 ½ years at Qdos, I have been in a variety of roles across projects, marketing, and operations. I have been in my current role as Operations Director for almost 2 years now.
My experience and knowledge of the contractor marketplace is varied as a result of the different firms I have worked with. The most important part of my experience in all of the roles I have fulfilled is the timing – with each coinciding with major events within the contracting industry. Most notably in my tenure at Qdos, I have seen a period of significant change with IR35 while it was previously a piece of legislation which remained unchanged for a very long time.
I have been at the forefront of our client and agency offering since its inception in 2017 when Off-Payroll Reform was introduced in the Public Sector. This means I have seen first-hand two separate rounds of preparation for reform across both the public and private sector. This experience gives me, alongside our CEO Seb Maley and our wider team, a unique position in the marketplace.
In my time in the contracting industry, I have witnessed the good, the bad, and everything in between when it comes to approaches to reform. I talk directly from experience of the most beneficial ways in which organisations can prepare for IR35 reform based upon their own unique business model and contingent labour structure. Clients really appreciate that first-hand account insight.
What is going to be the main focus at Qdos for 2020 leading into 2021?
Our focus for the remainder of 2020 and 2021 is two-fold. We first want to maintain momentum on all the great preparation work we did with our clients working towards the April 2020 reform date. Secondly, we wish to continue to use our ability and unique experience to educate the wider marketplace on all things IR35.
It is important that we continue to ensure our existing portfolio of clients reap the benefits of all the work we did collectively last year. This includes making sure that they are suitably prepared come April 2021.
We equally understand the unique opportunity we have to educate the wider market. Perhaps they did not get so far down the road with their IR35 strategy or preparations coming up to April 2020. Perhaps they took a direction that, with hindsight, they would like to change coming up to the 2021 reform.
At the very heart of Qdos are our fantastic teams who deliver our Status Review and IR35 Consultancy Services. They manage the on-boarding and project management of clients and agencies. They deliver our first in class IR35 Status Review facility with exceptional levels of customer service and lead complex IR35 advisory to the highest technical compliance standards. Having such a high calibre of staff makes the intricacies of everything we do for our clients possible.
What do you expect or hope to see happen in April 2021 and after IR35 reform?
I would like to see that organisations have done all their preparation and have undertaken all of their IR35 determination exercises well in advance of that date so that it is business as usual. That way it just so happens to be the start of a new financial year and that off-payroll legislation exists and is in effect. Organisations are lucky enough to have the time to be able to do that, so we really hope that is the case come April next year.
While now in the early weeks of recession we are yet to see the full extent of the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic and it is likely that we will see widespread restructuring in businesses across the UK. Contractors will form an integral part of an organisational strategy to recouping some of the financial ramifications of Covid-19, whether it be supporting with continuity of key project or actually directly participating in various aspects of restructuring strategies. Therefore, it is important that thinking ahead to next April organisations consider their wider IR35 strategy in the context of the current situation that we find ourselves in as a country and in respect of the pandemic.
What we really do not want to see come next April is a large number of organisations having taken blanket bans and choosing not to continue to engage with our contractors under the new off-payroll legislation. They have the opportunity to prepare and consider all the risks they face. We hope that there are no last-minute snap decisions made because businesses have not taken the time to prepare in advance when they could have. We also hope there is no immediate panic in the marketplace in terms of projects thrown into jeopardy because there are mass walkouts of contractors. This shows the benefits of taking a pragmatic approach and deploying that in advance, involving key stakeholders every step of the way.
Qdos are unrivalled when it comes to IR35 experience and expertise – developing the first and most robust solution to IR35 reform in 2017 which has supported over 2,200 organisations in both the public and private sectors, and assessing over 150,000 engagements for IR35 status since 2000 – making Qdos the most trusted opinion on IR35.