A flexible working pattern gives Neil time to explore new business opportunities

For Neil, being intellectually stimulated is the most important element of working for himself. New problems to solve and working with multiple clients affords him choice and more importantly new challenges.

“I need to be challenged; I’m always looking for new developments in IT forensics, malware and bug hunting, patches and fixes. It’s fast-paced and it keeps things interesting.”

Business processes need to be slick and keep things moving in the background.

For Neil, having a cloud-based accounting platform that can keep up is important

I run multiple contracts at a time and it’s easy to get carried away with the work when you enjoy it so much. Pretty soon you can find that you have no time to look after the admin and the figures. When I signed up with inniAccounts it was great as the service was so like what I’d want to build myself, plus they took on board quite a few of my suggestions for additions to the functionality and things the software could do – it made the accounts side faster and easier.

Business stability is a big thing for me and part of that is ensuring that HMRC are satisfied with my submissions, inniAccounts takes care of all of that so I know that the figures are correct and everything’s done on time. I had a big group of contracts lined up before starting out so with all the scheduled work I wanted the business up and running smoothly so I could concentrate on my clients.

Extra help makes a big difference

When I started contracting, banks and other lenders viewed us with extreme caution, it was difficult for lenders to understand my business model. inniAccounts were brilliant at supplying accountant’s certificates for proof of income and multiple submissions for my mortgage; they were really supportive and worked fast to make sure I could secure the mortgage to buy the house. Now lenders are more accepting of contactors and consultants, but it’s support like this that makes a real difference when you have your own business.

Expanding, staying flexible and growing multiple businesses

In addition to my main business as a Digital Security Specialist, I’m also developing commercial software and a few rental properties so my hands are pretty full! At the moment I work the majority of my time in my main business but I know I can make the shift when the other businesses take off.  When I’m ready to get the other businesses online I’m confident that I’ll be able to keep an eye on all the figures in one place with the inniAccounts service.

Neil’s advice to others thinking of becoming a consultant or contractor

For me, I wanted to work with multiple clients so I’d suggest building up a good network of contacts first; that way you can hit the ground running when you want to build your client base.

Don’t try and do the numbers yourself; delegate and employ experts to look after the financials and dealings with HMRC. It’s great being involved, but you need an expert to check it’s all correct and submitted properly. Having inniAccounts there to double check everything means it’s all sorted in hardly any time at all.