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How to Become a Career Contractor

Contracting in Auckland’s and Wellington’s Accounting market can be a highly lucrative venture but making that leap without first considering the risks can be dangerous. Working as an Accounting contractor is significantly different from permanent employment and can be a tough transition for even the most experienced professionals. Our guide is here to help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of contracting and provide practical advice on how to secure your first assignment.

What is a Contractor?

An independent contractor is someone who is self employed and earn income by invoicing their client. A contractor pays their own tax and ACC levies.

These highly skilled professionals are usually engaged for a single project that required specific or hard-to-find skills. Contractors may work for several companies at once and charge by the hour for their services. The length of these contracts vary.

One of the main differences between a contractor and a permanent or temporary employee is that contractors are not entitled to employee benefits such as sick pay, holiday leave or employer KiwiSaver contributions. 

What are the Benefits of Being a Contractor?

When compared to permanent employment, contractors can afford greater flexibility in how, when and where they choose to work. A permanent employee would usually need to accrue their leave entitlement before they take leave, but contractors can simply choose to not take on any more projects. 

As contractors have specialist and sometimes specific skills, they often have the opportunity to be part of interesting, challenging or innovative projects. This means that contractors may often be at the forefront of their respective market and first to learn new technologies or methods of working.

What is the Downside of Being a Contractor?

If you are highly skilled in what you do, then being a contractor can be extremely lucrative, but it does not come without its fair share of challenges. Setting up a company is no walk in the park. You will need to consider your finances and whether you have enough capital to cover your start-up costs and living expenses when in-between projects. You may need to invest in an accounting system .

You will need to consider tax and insurance. As a contractor, you are responsible for your own insurance and tax obligations.

How Can You Secure Your First Contract?

Here are several tips to help you secure your first contract assignment:

Get qualified

Although you may have significant experience in your field, employers will often want to see up-to-date qualifications and a resume to demonstrate this. Qualifying as a Chartered Accountant is a good example because you must complete continuous training and development each year to maintain your membership.  

Start networking

One of the best ways to secure work will be through your existing contacts and networks. Re-engage with previous colleagues, managers and industry peers and start attending events and conferences. Take your networking online and start expanding your reputation and reach.

Build a reputation

Eventually, clients may start approaching you directly because you have a reputation of being a highly capable contractor with specialist skills. Remember, however, that you are only as good as the contracts you complete so approach every assignment with the same degree of professionalism, energy and skill irrespective of its scope or difficulty.

Engage a Recruitment Partner

Agencies that specialise in contract recruitment are an excellent port-of-call for assignments. If you work exclusively with one recruitment partner, they will be your dedicated eyes and ears for work in your respective field. They can also help you stay up-to-date with the latest news and trends and provide valuable business and career advice.

If you’re looking for contracting opportunities within the Auckland or Wellington market, speak to one of our Consultants who are here to help you take control of your career.

Contact us on 09 377 3727 for Auckland and 04 472 4380 for Wellington.


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