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Frequently Asked Questions

Access Financial – Why

In some cases, a company may only wish to work with you for a specific project and would therefore prefer to avoid the complications of an employment relationship. In such situations, it’s usually best that you work with qualified professionals who can make certain that you are in full compliance with applicable tax, social security and immigration laws. Additionally, such professionals can assist you to retain as much pay as possible from your contract.

Even if you have a limited liability company, you could end up paying a lot more in taxes or even being in breach of company and tax laws as using an LLC is not always an appropriate – or even legal – course of action.

Access Financial helps agencies and end clients by removing any tax and social security responsibilities. We also handle most of the administration of timesheets and invoicing, freeing up your employees to work on more important tasks.

Access Financial helps contractors by ensuring you retain as much of your pay as possible while also receiving said pay promptly, fully and by eliminating any of the issues and problems that could arise when working in a foreign country.

Generally speaking, our role is to ensure that you retain the highest level possible of take-home pay by employing completely legal and transparent means to minimise the social security and tax burdens you are subject to. More specifically, we:

  • Ensure compliance by making certain that you fulfil all legal requirements from a tax, immigration and social security viewpoint.
  • Handle administration matters. Thus, we pay your tax and social security contributions, handle any and all relations with the appropriate local authorities, help you register in the work country and provide you with the necessary returns, either directly or through our local partners.
  • Make sure you have the right level of coverage through the Professional Indemnity Insurance we offer for consultancy or full employment contracts. Furthermore, we can provide advice on a variety of professional, family and personal insurances so that you always have the right level of coverage for your needs without overpaying for insurance you might not need.
  • Provide assistance in obtaining immigration and work permits. Thus, we can help you with your application to obtain the right to work in a country which you are not a citizen of. In certain cases, we provide sponsorship, while in others we can help by obtaining sponsorship via the partners we work with on a local level.
  • Assist you in obtaining a bank account in the work country by supporting your application.
  • Assist you with financial advice by introducing you to experienced and qualified advisors who can advise you on the best course of action for your particular situation, which includes disclosing various opportunities that might be available to you.

Access Financial provides compliancy services in the following countries:

  • Europe: Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Rep, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK
  • Africa: Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania
  • Asia: Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam
  • The Middle East: Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar.

Access Financial can offer your Payment and Invoicing Services in most countries, even if they aren’t listed above, as long as your agency and end client approve. Please keep in mind that we are constantly expanding into other geographies, so if your country isn’t listed, please email us at info@accessfinancial.com and we will get in touch to go over your needs.

Khuki Austin, Director, Customer Services, email khuki.austin@accessfinancial.com
Kevin Austin, Director Finance, Technical & Marketing, email kevin.austin@accessfinancial.com
Daryl Gould, Director, Operations & Quality, email daryl.gould@accessfinancial.com

If you feel our services weren’t up to par, you can first discuss matters with our Customer Service Manager. If this doesn’t lead to a resolution for your issue, please contact the Customer Services Director, Khuki Austin, who can be reached via phone at +357 25 820 640 or via email at khuki.austin@accessfinancial.com, who will try to resolve the issue as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Banking

Yes. Our local partner accountant can recommend a suitable bank in the country where you work and help you with your application.

If you are self employed, that may be a requirement.

If you are employed, we recommend you open an account with a local bank so that you can withdraw cash and use the services and expertise of a bank familiar with the place where you are working and the local regulations. Should you choose to open a local account, our local partner accountant can recommend a suitable bank and we can help you make an application.

Normally, we pay our own outgoing bank charges and you your incoming ones. We charge outgoing bank charges only if you have asked for a special same-day service like CHAPS. Otherwise, if our bank charges have come to you, it is probably a mistake: please contact us and we shall look into the matter at once.

Confidentiality and Security

We are bound by strict Swiss law. Your affairs are confidential and information can and will be disclosed to third parties (and that includes your agency and end client) only with your express written consent.

Your affairs are reported to the necessary official bodies only if you are employed by us and we make payment of taxes and social charges on your behalf, as is usual in employment.

All funds held by us on your behalf are ‘client monies’ as defined by the leading EU professional bodies. These monies are placed in a tightly controlled, designated client deposit account with our bank until they are paid over. These terms are reflected in your contract.

Contracts and Compliance

Compliance is the business of making sure that

  • you are working legally and meeting your local tax, social security and residence obligations; and
  • we can provide evidence to your agencies and their clients that this is the case.

Any delay or failure to meet local regulations can be dangerous and may well be a reason for your agency and/or their client to refuse to pay you or even terminate your contract.

It may not be possible or advisable. There are two main aspects:

  • Legally, your agency contract (which is reflected by our own) may prevent you from working for the end client or its associates for a period of time or in a certain capacity.
  • Practically, having an agency will help you find work sooner when the current assignment comes to an end, and have more options for future assignments, remuneration packages or work location.

Subject to financial agreement, it is often possible for the end user to take over your contract by negotiating directly with your agency.

Normally, we confirm agreement with you and email your contract with us within 48 hours of receipt of your agency’s contract. If in doubt, please contact your Customer Service Manager.

Yes: you will have a contract which binds us to pay you upon receipt of funds.

Probably not, because of conflict of interest. If possible, your Customer Service manager will advise.

Possibly yes, providing that there is no conflict of interest and your agency, the first end client and any other party all agree. Your Customer Service Manager will advise.

Immigration

Please speak to your sales consultant. We will help where we can.

Normally, a business visa is the official permission to enter a country for a short visit to conduct discussions, negotiations, meetings and so on, but not to take up employment or work that is paid in that country.

A work permit is a legal authorisation for you to take paid employment in a country where you do not hold citizenship.

Normally, you cannot use a business visa where the requirement is for a work permit.

It depends on your nationality and if you intend to work in an ‘old’ member state (part of the EU since before May 1, 2004) and Cyprus and Malta, or a ‘new’ member state (which joined after 2004). Your sales consultant will tell you what applies in your case.

You do not normally need a work permit if you are a national of an old member state working in another old member state: Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxemburg, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands and UK, plus Cyprus and Malta.

You may need a work permit if you are a national of a new member state (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia) working in an old member state.

You must have a work permit for your country of work if your nationality is outside the EU.

Insurance

In some countries this may be compulsory, and you will have been given details by your Sales Consultant.

Generally, we strongly recommend that you do this and we will be pleased to advise you on the matter. This is particularly important if you are accompanied by your family.

We believe that you should seriously consider taking out loss of earnings cover. Please note that payments under such policies might well be tax deductible locally.

Our Insurance and Wealth Section operates has developed partnerships with different insurance companies to offer international contractors the most suitable and widest range of insurance covers.

Pension schemes, travel insurance, mortgages and Professional Indemnity Insurance are all available from this department as a means of insuring our contractors’ means and future.

Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) is an insurance to protect you against claims for compensation by clients for errors, omissions or negligence for professional services you provided to them. PII will also cover the legal cost involved in defending your case.

Normally, End Clients require that all contractors working on their behalf have an acceptable Professional Indemnity Insurance. Access Financial can offer you a fully comprehensive Professional Indemnity Insurance at the special rate of Euro 50 for 3-months or Euro 150 per year. The policy covers compensation and legal costs up to Euro 5 million worldwide (exclusive of USA/Canada).

Investing & Saving

We will be happy to introduce you to qualified financial advisors who can explain the opportunities open to you.

Invoicing

Normally, if you have sent us your timesheet by 14:00 GMT, it will be validated and generate the relating invoice the same day. You will receive a copy of the invoice for you to check. This is our confirmation of receipt of timesheet. If the invoice is not correct or you have any query, please contact your Customer Service Manager immediately so we can make corrections.

You should claim expenses in the same way as you claim hours or days worked.

If you use timesheets and expense forms provided by your agency/client, please email or fax us copy of the completed document.

If you use our electronic timesheet, the second tab at the top allows you claim expenses. If the detail here is not satisfactory or if your agency requires something special, contact your Customer Service Manager who will help you.

Your timesheet may have been sent to the wrong internal email account in our company. Please let your Customer Service Manager know and we will trace the timesheet and arrange for the invoice to be generated immediately.

Management Fees

We confirm our management fee in our contract with you. If you have any concerns about how your management fees are calculated you should contact your Customer Service Manager.

Not normally. However, if you ask us to obtain a work permit or perform services for which there are additional charges that are not covered by the normal management fee, we do expect to charge for these services whether or not you proceed with the contract.

Generally, our management fee is between 5% and 7% of your contract value. This fee is all-inclusive and covers local registrations and tax returns, though not your home ones. Where you have a local accountant and may already be registered then our fees will reflect the lesser work we have to undertake. We do not charge a start-up fee.

Payments

This depends on a number of factors, like your contract duration and your home tax and social security position. Your Sales Consultant will discuss your circumstances with you and offer you the best option to give you the highest retention.

As a rule we pay you only after we have received the necessary funds from your agency or end client. First, please ask your agency if they can help with an advance. If they can, they will send the funds to us and we will forward them to you the same day we receive them. If they cannot, then contact your Customer Service Manager who will always try to help you.

We follow up the agency to make sure that your invoice has been received, that it is not being disputed and that it will be passed for payment, when and by whom. Then, if the funds are not received by the date stipulated with your agency or client, we chase them again. Contractors who have admittance to the Access Contractor Portal can see there the status of all agency payments. If you are concerned about this in any way, contact your Customer Service Manager.

Normally, you receive an automatic payslip or mini-statement when payment has been made to your bank. The document shows how the value of the invoice for the timesheet period has been distributed to you after making deductions for taxes etc and our fees. If you have not received your payslip or mini-statement or it isn’t clear, please contact your Customer Service Manager who will help you.

Contractors who have admittance to the Access Contractor Portal can make all changes there. If your electronic timesheet from us has a second tab, you can instruct us there if we have bank details of the bank to which you want us to pay. Otherwise, contact your Customer Service Manager.

We pay you by direct bank transfer within one working day from your agency or end client invoice settlement.

If you are employed by one of our companies you receive a monthly payslip. At the end of the financial year you will receive a summary statement.

If you are self-employed, you will receive a mini-statement and, at the end of the year or the contract end (whichever is earlier), you will receive a summary statement.

In all cases, contractors who have admittance to the Access Contractor Portal can see there the status of all payments.

If your timesheet is received before 14:00 GMT, the invoice to your agency or client is issued on the same day. Similarly, we issue payment to you on the same day we receive the appropriate funds from your agency or end client. To this, you must add the time it takes for the invoice to reach your agency and for your funds to reach your bank account from ours. In practice, this may take up to seven – ten working days from the moment you submit your timesheet.

You need to understand the work flow:

  • Timesheet-to-invoice generation – normally same day
  • time for agency or end client to pay (depends on their system and terms)
  • time for agency or end client funds to reach us (normally 2 – 3 working days)
  • time for us to instruct our bank to pay you (normally same day)
  • time for funds to reach your bank 1 – 3 working days depending on destination

They may have and we are just processing your payment. However, if the funds have not been received we are chasing them and if we have information for you we will email or call you to keep you advised.

There are several possibilities:

  • the invoice and or timesheet may have been wrong;
  • there may be items in dispute;
  • we or your agency or the bank might have made a mistake.

If you feel that something is not correct ask your Customer Service Manager to investigate.

Registration

Your sales consultant will start the registration process on your behalf. Your Customer Service manager will then send you a Joining Pack with all necessary forms and any instructions.

Depending on your nationality and the country of work, you may be asked to register for:

If you are employed:

  • Tax
  • Social security
  • Residence permit or certification

If you are self-employed or a limited company: all the above plus

  • VAT
  • Self employment
  • Company incorporation
  • Country-specific business registrations

Your Sales Consultant and your Customer Service Manager will clarify and advise what is needed in your case and if necessary our local partner accountant will help you register.

You may have to de-register, especially if you are self-employed. Our local partner accountant will help you de-register when necessary.

Social Security

Social security is the broad term for the range of institutional and financial benefits provided by your country when you become ill, or retire, or you are unable to work, or your family needs support. The benefits vary from country to country and may be paid through a number of different contributions. Normally, social security contributions are compulsory.

Yes. However, if you pay taxes and social security contributions in the same country, your social costs will often be allowed as a deduction when calculating your tax, which means a lower tax bill. This is not he case if you pay social security in one country and taxes in another.

You may be able to remain within your home country scheme if there is a social security treaty (or ‘totalisation agreement’) between your home country and where you are working. Your Sales Consultant will advise.

  • If you are employed by Access Financial, we are responsible for registering you and paying your contributions on your behalf.
  • If you are self employed, you are responsible for registering and paying for your own social security.

The A1 (was E101) Certificate is the official proof that you are paying social security. It is issued by the EU country where you pay social charges and exempts you from paying the same anywhere else in the EU or EFTA.

  • If you are already paying social charges in your own EU country and want to continue doing so, you need to apply to your country’s relevant social security office. Many social security departments make the application available online.
  • If you are not paying social security in your own EU country and want to start doing so, normally you have to register in person at the relevant office in your country and apply there for the A1/E101 certificate.
  • If you have to pay social charges in the country where you work, you do not need an A1/E101.
  • If you are employed under the A1/E101 payroll scheme, we shall process your application on your behalf.

In most cases social security is mandatory as it covers more than medical costs. Where private medical insurance is acceptable, it must be with an officially approved insurer. Your Sales Consultant and our Insurance and Wealth Department will advise you on the matter.

Tax

The general rule is ‘yes’, despite what you may hear to the contrary. Practically every country expects you to pay taxes on the money you earn there, unless you are already paying taxes in your own country and there are reciprocal tax agreements in place to avoid you paying taxes twice.

Your end client may be prosecuted and fined if the tax authorities discover that you have not paid your taxes.

It only means that they have not yet been caught. Tax evasion is illegal and the consequences include large fines, interest penalties and even substantial jail terms. This is not a matter to take lightly as exchange of information between countries is now common practice and raids by local police on client sites are frequent. This means that there is a very good chance indeed that tax evasion will be detected and the offenders prosecuted. You should also note that ignorance on this point is no defence. We do not condone tax evasion. We are qualified experts who deal with international tax matters every day. Simply contact us and we will help you to legally maximise your retention.

  • You may never again be able to go back to that country without facing prosecution.
  • The local tax authorities may approach those in your home country to recover the debt.
  • The local tax authorities may reveal to those in your home country that you have earned income abroad – which may make you liable there.

Bearing in mind the potential consequences, it is simply not worth the risk.

This is generally tax evasion and most agencies and end clients do not accept invoices from offshore companies or based in known tax-heavens.

Generally no: these are aspects which are dealt with by the law. The Double Tax Treaty in force between the country where you are working and the country in which you are ordinarily resident determines where the taxes should be paid. Equally, the Social Security Treaties determine where social costs should be paid.

The short answer is no. Even if you do not have a tax liability in the work country, you are likely to have to pay taxes on your foreign earnings at home. Furthermore, the ‘183 day rule’ or ‘six month rule’ only applies where there is an income tax convention between your home and destination countries, and generally only if you are employed. In the EU/EFTA area you can expect that:

  • if you are employed by a company in your home country and sent abroad, for the first six months you will continue to pay taxes in your home country;
  • if you are employed by a foreign company to work in that country, you pay taxes in that foreign country from the first day of work;
  • if you are self-employed, you pay taxes in the country of work from the very start.

We do not recommend this because:

  • In many countries the distinction between yourself and your ‘service’ company is not recognised;
  • In many countries your company may not be recognised unless it is registered there – and become subject to local tax legislation;
  • the tax authorities can levy not just foreign income tax against you as an individual but also foreign corporation tax against your company;
  • the common practice of taking a small salary and a large dividend from your company may not work abroad;

No. In most countries, recruitment agencies are obliged to deal only with registered companies.

  • Your agency may still have to invoice a registered company;
  • Your agency may still not be able to pay you gross and you will therefore have to recover taxes that you have suffered in your agency’s country;
  • We may still be able to improve your retention by clarifying your tax position.

Not necessarily. It is a legal requirement that you do register locally and your agency and its client may well demand documentary evidence of this before paying for your time. If you are covered by a double tax treaty and you are paying taxes at home, the registration will not make you liable for taxes in the work country.

The answer will often be ‘yes’, provided you become non-tax resident in your home country. That involves informing your tax authorities, remaining abroad for a minimum prescribed period of time, and returning only for limited numbers of days in any year.

This depends on where you are working, for how long, where you have come from, if you are employed or self-employed and your tax status. Generally,

  • If you are employed by one of our companies, we will either pay monthly taxes on your behalf, or withhold the expected tax contribution from your salary and pay it through our local partner accountant if and when taxes are due. If no taxes are due in your work country, we will return all the money to you.
  • If you are self employed, our management fee includes the services of our local partner accountant who will help manage your tax affairs and prepare all returns when necessary.

If you are employed, this may not always be possible.

If you are self employed, you should keep a monthly record of these and forward them to your local partner accountant at the end of the contract, (or tax year, if sooner), so that the expenses can be claimed on your tax return.

Yes, though in some places there is no choice. In general, if you are employed you will have to bear the cost of both employee and employer’s social security contributions; in addition, if you are self-employed you can.

You should keep a monthly record of these.

  • If you are employed by Access, you should forward your expenses to us at the end of the contract, (or tax year, if sooner), so that the expenses can be claimed on your tax return.
  • If you are self employed, you should forward them to your local accountant as and when required locally.

At the end of the tax year or the contract end, whichever is earlier, you should complete your tax return or tax returns. Any overpayment(s) you have made will be refunded to you by the authorities.

Timesheets

Yes. You may send us copy of your agency timesheet by email or fax and we will invoice accordingly.

Depending on your contracts rates and constraints, we automatically generate and e-mail you an Excel timesheet. When your original timesheet is approved, copy the exact details into the Excel template and email it back to us. Please note that the automated timesheet works only for the specific date and period for which it has been issued.

  • If your timesheets and relating invoices are weekly, or if the invoicing is monthly, but based on weekly activity details, you will receive a weekly timesheet. It will be sent to you at the end of the previous week or the beginning of the current week.
  • If your contract requests monthly invoicing, with only monthly totals on the invoice, then you will receive a monthly timesheet before the deadline specified by your agency or end client.

If a timesheet has been sent for a specific week or month, please do not re-use it for other periods as the data you send will be entered for the original period or ignored if this other period has been invoiced. Do not change the dates for the timesheet as this will be ignored

  • Fill the number of hours / days and expenses (if you are entitled to them) . If you enter hours and mention parts of an hour (ex: 30 minutes) enter the corresponding portion in decimals not in minutes (example 15 minutes = 0.25 Hour , 30 minutes = 0.5 hour, 45 minutes = 0.75 hour)
  • If your rates are wrong or missing, please send us an e-mail and we will re-generate a new timesheet after entering the changes in our system. Any change related to rates or entry of additional lines in the timesheet will be ignored by our system

Your agency or end client will have given you specific deadlines to ensure prompt payment. If you are unsure about the deadlines, please refer to your contact at the agency or end client, or ask your Customer Service Manager.

Normally, if you have sent us your timesheet by 14:00 GMT, the invoice will be generated and validated the same day. Once validated, you will receive a copy of the invoice for you to check. This is our confirmation of receipt of timesheet. If the invoice is not correct or you have any query, please contact your Customer Service Manager immediately so we can make corrections.

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