10 payroll tips for contractors

7 mins
Sellick  Partnership

By Sellick Partnership

With over 15 years’ experience specialising in recruitment, Sellick Partnership is ideally positioned to place professionals into roles on a temporary, contract and permanent basis across the private, public, not-for-profit and practice sectors. 

Increasingly, finance professionals are seeing the benefits of working on a temporary, interim or contract basis at some point in their career. Below are some tips for contractors to make the most of their assignment.

1. Know your weekly deadline:

When you start your new assignment with us you will be told when your deadline will be for getting your timesheets approved and submitting your invoices (where applicable) – this will either be Monday at 11.30am or Wednesday at 10am, depending on your agreed payment terms. It is imperative that you submit your timesheets each week and meet these deadlines to ensure weekly payments.

2. Familiarise yourself with your timesheet system:

Depending on where you have been placed, you will most likely be using an online timesheet system to enter your timesheets. Your consultant will give you the appropriate log in information for whichever system you will be using. Most are quite easy to use, but it would be advisable to take some time to get to know the system, how timesheets are entered and how you can check if it has been approved – this will come in handy when your payroll deadline is near, as you will be able to check on the status of your timesheet and chase your line manager if needed.

3. Check your invoice:

Unless you are PAYE or operating via an umbrella company on our Preferred Supplier List (PSL), you will need to submit invoices as well as your weekly timesheets. Some important things to check before sending your invoices are: that the week ending date is correct, check your hours against your approved timesheet and ensure they have been decimalised, manually calculate the net total to double check it is correct to your hours and rate. If using an umbrella company not on our PSL, make sure you know their process for raising invoices. Most will have an online system where you enter your hours, which will then be used to raise and send an invoice. Also make sure they are aware of our payroll deadlines.

4. Registering for VAT?

Please ensure you inform us at the earliest opportunity if you are intending to register for VAT so we can make the necessary arrangements for adding VAT to your account – we will need a copy of your VAT certificate before we proceed with paying VAT so please send a copy as soon as you receive it. Once your VAT certificate has been received, ensure you include your VAT number on your invoices and also the VAT calculation.

5. Have the correct compliance documents:

Before we can process any payments, we have to ensure we have the correct compliance documents. Your consultant will supply you with exact details of what we need and the appropriate forms. As a general guide, below is a list of everything we will need:

PAYE contractors – A completed PAYE payment form, which will list your personal bank details and NI number, and your latest P45. If you do not have a P45, then we will need a completed New Starter Checklist – please take extra care to ensure all relevant questions have been answered.

Umbrella Companies – those using one of the umbrella companies on our PSL will not have to supply any compliance documents as we already have copies of the documents on file. For anyone wishing to use a different umbrella company, we will contact them directly to obtain a copy of their compliance pack to ensure they meet our high standards.

Limited company – A completed Limited Company payment form which will list your business bank account details, a copy of your Certificate of Incorporation, your VAT certificate if applicable and, in some cases, we will require Professional Indemnity insurance – your consultant will confirm if this is needed for your specific placement.

6. Claiming for expenses:

If your place of work is happy for you to claim for expenses then these will need recording on your timesheet so that they can be approved. How these are entered will depend on the timesheet system you will be using so if you know that you will be claiming for expenses, ask your consultant for instruction on how to enter these. If you enter your timesheet onto the Sellick Partnership online Precision portal an expenses box will be at the bottom of the timesheet, where you will enter the monetary value of the expenses you wish to claim. Please be aware that if you operate your own limited company and are VAT registered, all of your expenses will be subject to VAT.

7. Keep copies:

It is good practice to keep copies of all your paperwork – invoices, remittances/payslips etc. - as this will come to be very useful when completing your year-end accounts/tax returns and can also be really useful to have to hand if there is a query regarding payments.

8. Check your e-mails:

If there is a problem regarding payroll, our first point of contact will usually be via e-mail so it is advisable to check your e-mails on a regular basis and ensure that payroll@sellickpartnership.co.uk doesn’t go into your Junk Mail.

9. Make use of the Sellick Partnership online Precision portal:

Even if you don’t enter your timesheets on the Sellick Partnership online Precision portal you can still access it to find copies of your remittances/payslips and check your payments. You can find details of all the payments we make to you under the ‘Your Data’ tab – here you will find a remittance/payslip which will give a detailed breakdown of the payment we have made, including timesheet, invoice number, tax and NI deductions (if PAYE).

In most cases your remittance/payslip is available to view on the Thursday morning prior to a payment being made on a Friday. You can also use the portal to set up alerts via SMS or e-mail which can tell you if you are being paid, your pay amount and if your timesheet has been approved (if you enter your timesheet onto Sellick Partnership online Precision portal). Take some time to look around the system to find what can be most useful to you.

10. Any problems:

Talk to us – we are here to help. The sooner we are made aware of any issue surrounding timesheets or payments the more we will be able to assist in resolving the problem, so please let us or your consultant know as soon as possible should a problem arise so that we can help.

For further information, get in touch.