ACCESS FINANCIAL – WHY

In some cases, an agency or a client 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 in a compliant manner.

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 you, the contractor, to work and concentrate on the project.

Access Financial helps contractors by ensuring they legally retain as much of their money as possible, without delays 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 while ensuring that you are fully compliant in the work country. More specifically, we: Ensure compliance by making certain that you fulfill all legal requirements from a tax, immigration and social security.

Handle administration matters. Thus, we pay your tax and social security contributions or ensure that our local accountant assists you in doing them; help you register in the work country and provide you with the necessary tax returns where applicable, 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 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 in specific countries which are listed on our website. In certain cases, we provide sponsorship, while in others we can help by obtaining sponsorship via the partners with whom we work at a local level.

Access Financial operate in the following countries:

    Africa

  • Ghana
  • Kenya
  • Nigeria

    Asia

  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Japan
  • Malaysia
  • Singapore

    Middle East

  • Bahrain
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • UAE

    Middle East

  • Bahrain
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • Qatar
  • UAE

    Europe

  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • UK
  • Purobi Austin
  • Daryl Gould
  • Kevin Austin

If you feel our services did not meet your expectations, 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 contactby email at khuki.austin@accessfinancial.com; she will try to resolve the issue as quickly and efficiently as possible.

BANKING

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

Normally, we share bank charges except when an agency or client has forwarded them on to us. In such cases, we pass these on to you. Sometimes, your own bank will impose a charge on funds received from abroad. We do charge for same day payments.

COMPLIANCE

Compliance is ensuring that you are working legally and meeting your local tax, social security and residence obligations in your work country. 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 is not advisable.

Your agency contract which we sign on your behalf prohibits you from working for the end client or its associates for a period of time during and after the duration of your contract. This is called a non solicitation or restrictions clause. We mirror this term in the contract that you receive from us. You are under the same obligation as we are in respecting the terms once you sign the contract with us.

Moreover, 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.

You can check with the member of the Sales team, your first point of contact in Access financial.

Yes, you will have a contract which will reflect the agency’s or client’s terms, as well as our own.

Provided that there is no conflict of interest, such as working for the same client or their associates, some contractors do occasionally have simultaneous contracts. Please note that the latter cannot breach the terms of the primary contract.

If you are self employed, yes, providing that there is no conflict of interest.

Our contract to you is sent by Docusign. You need to sign and return it to the sender’s email address.

CONFIDENTIALITY

We are bound by the Swiss laws of confidentiality as well as GDPR. Your affairs are confidential and information can and will be disclosed to statutory bodies when requested. If your agency or client requests your personal information, this will only be provided with written permission from you.

Your affairs are reported to the statutory bodies only if we are specifically requested. By law, we have to provide any and all information requested.

All funds held by us on your behalf are ‘client monies’ are put into individual retention accounts if for any reason, they are withheld, and for which you will be advised by your customer services team. Otherwise, we pay on the day that we receive funds provided that it is a business day, i.e. Monday to Friday. Our offices are closed, as are our banks on weekends and public holidays. Payment terms are reflected in your contract

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 authorization for you to take paid employment in a country where you do not hold citizenship.

You cannot use a business visa where the requirement is for a work permit.

For further information please email immigration@accessfinancial.com

Yes you will require a work permit if you are a national of a third country, i.e. not EU or EFTA.

INSURANCE

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

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 introduce you to our brokers who are authorized to advise and sell insurance products.

INVOICING

For such agencies where AF is required to raise an invoice, you need to upload an approved timesheet on our contract portal, Fortuna. Once this reaches us, we will raise an invoice to your agency. You will also receive a copy. If the invoice is not correct or you have any query, please contact your Customer Service Team immediately so we can make corrections.

Please check with your Customer Service Team.

You should claim expenses in the same way as you claim hours or days worked if they are billable. This means where you have negotiated that you can charge certain expenses to your agency. All expenses must be approved by your project manager. Claimable expenses are those which will be on your tax return. Please keep all your receipts to support such claims.

TIMESHEETS

Most agencies expect you to use their timesheets. They will provide you with a copy. You must upload these on Fortuna, once they have been approved and signed by the project manager. We will then raise your invoice and send it to the agency/client.

Some agencies have a contractor portal as do most clients where you are expected to upload your hours (and expenses where applicable).

Some agencies are “self-billing” and for those you need to forward the approved timesheet directly. We do not raise an invoice to these agencies.

Our automated timesheets are available in the contractor portal, Fortuna.

Please note that the automated timesheet works only for the specific date and period for which it has been issued.

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

As soon as you receive approval and a signature from your client, you must upload your timesheet.

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 or ask your Customer Service Team.

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 Team immediately so we can make corrections.

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 Team

No. There is no cancellation charge. However, if you wish to terminate your contract with us, we do expect you to give us due notice under the contract terms.

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.

If the funds are not received by the date stipulated our Credit Control Team will follow up with your agency or client. Some agencies are “self billing”. This means that you must send your approved timesheet directly to your agency who then send us your payment. For such agencies, we cannot follow up on payments.

If you are concerned about this in any way, contact your Customer Service Team.

Once a payment is made to you, you will receive a mini-statement. You are able to see all your payments on our contractor portal, Fortuna. For contractors on an employed solution, you will also see your pay slips there as well.

Contractors can change make such changes in Fortuna.

We send your funds via bank transfer.

If you are employed by one of our companies you receive a monthly pay slip.

If you are self-employed, you will receive a mini-statement.

In all cases, contractors who use Fortuna can see there the status of all payments.

In general, you are paid on the same day that we receive your funds from your agency, if this is during business hours.

This usually depends on when we receive your funds. Sometimes, other factors may be the case, e.g. delays by banks which is outside our control.

In such cases, and where an agency is not “self billing”, we follow up with them and advise you of the reason.

There are several possibilities:

  • The invoice and or timesheet may have been wrong or there may be items in dispute;
  • If you feel that something is not correct ask your Customer Service Team to investigate.

REGISTRATION

Your sales consultant will start the onboarding process on your behalf. Your Customer Service Team will then contact you as well as send you all forms and documents relevant to your contract.

Your Customer Service Team will advise you

You may have to de-register, especially if you are employed. Our local partner accountant will help you to de-register when necessary and your Customer Service will advise you.

SOCIAL SECURITY

These are contributions that you pay into public funds to provide the services such as pensions, unemployment benefits, health services as well as other welfare benefits provided by the State.

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 ‘totalization agreement’) between your home country and where you are working. Your Sales Consultant will advise you.

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 a certificate of coverage. 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 pay social charges in the country where you work, you do not need an A1/E101.

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 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.

Those contractors who say that they have never paid tax may not have heard of the Exchange of Tax Information which is worldwide. 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 known to happen. 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.

The tax authority will make every effort to locate you wherever you go.

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 havens.

No as 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 beginning of your contract.

Yes, this is possible but we do advise you to make sure that your company is correctly registered in the country of work so that you cannot be attacked for tax evasion.

In most countries, recruitment agencies prefer to deal only with registered companies. There are exceptions to this and we advise you to discuss this with your Sales Consultant.

Your agency may still have to invoice a registered company; your agency may still not be able to pay you directly.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, depending upon the duration of the contract

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 time, and returning only for limited numbers of days in any year.

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, although in some countries we do not offer employment. In general, if you are employed you will have to bear the cost of both employee and employer’s social security contributions.

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 requested

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.