What it means to lead Easypay and Workr Solutions

As Workr Group continues to grow, we thought it was high time that we got to know the Managing Director of Easypay and Workr Solutions, Yves Bizimana, a little better. 

Already an expert in recruitment financing, Yves is at home when offering both funding and back-office support. Naturally, that makes him a perfect fit as Managing Director of both these businesses.

We took a moment to speak to Yves about his role and how his time is spent.

Identifying business challenges

Workr Solutions helps recruitment agencies, big and small, with inefficiencies in their back office. They may be looking to outsource or improve the operation. As MD, it’s my role to ensure we understand what these inefficiencies are, suggest ways to improve the status quo, and ultimately help keep costs down whilst delivering a better service.

These inefficiencies can be anything from processes and people to technology and team dynamics. Usually with big businesses it’s a case of legacy systems and processes hindering efficiency. That often means working with the agency to integrate systems so that the business is working on one platform.

With smaller agencies, we tend to help more with funding through our Easypay business. This means focusing on how we improve the agency’s cash availability through better credit risk management, as well as support them in navigating areas where they lack in-house expertise – such as IR35 compliance and business contracts. 

Whatever the requirement, my job is to ensure we have a team that can deliver on those client needs.

Managing partner relationships

In my role, one of the key responsibilities is ensuring that the relationships we have with suppliers and partners stays strong. That means referring business, cross-selling products, and helping each other – as well as our clients – grow.

Most of these providers are recruitment market specialists, offering customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, back-office platforms and business improvement training. By cultivating healthy partnerships with these suppliers, we’re able to secure competitive rates and have better access to support for our agency clients. From a service perspective, our clients are more likely to maximise their investment into these technologies by using our experience.

Additionally, once this technology is installed within an organisation, we make sure that every stakeholder understands what it’s for. If all parties aren’t engaged, chances are they’ll underuse the software – better user engagement prevents that from happening.

Ensuring operational excellence

With teams across the UK and India, it’s essential we constantly communicate and harmonise our service. This extends across the Workr and JSA Group, as it means customers receive a consistent service that we can steadily enhance. My role is to equip senior management across the two businesses with the skills to synchronise the teams and services across the entire group.

I also help them to ensure systems function as they should and that all employees are learning to maximise our connected excellence. This ties in with our wellbeing initiatives, which help to keep employees motivated and invested in Workr’s overall journey. The better engaged our teams are, the easier it is to engage clients with the solutions we provide.

What’s more, when clients adopt the right technology and remove the need for spreadsheets, Google Docs and other administrative tools, we’re able to help them scale up their operation and generate a higher conversion of gross margin to operating profit.

How Workr can help you

Like the sound of our approach? Get in touch today! Both Easypay and Workr Solutions can simplify the way you work and help you overcome the challenges you face in your back office. By reaching out, you’re taking the first steps to levelling up your agency’s back office operational efficiency!


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Introducing our new Director of Operations at Workr Solutions and Easypay

Workr is growing. So much so, in fact, that we’ve recently hired for some key roles to strengthen our infrastructure and help deliver a real impact to our industry.

One of these hires is Charlotte Allen, our new Director of Operations at Workr Solutions and Easypay, and the individual who will help streamline our processes and improve our service delivery through technology.

But don’t just take our word for it. We asked Charlotte to describe her experience and how it will help the Workr network… 

How did you get into recruitment?

My journey into recruitment started at nGAGE in 2013. Initially I was a junior credit controller, getting to terms with the finance side of recruitment. I worked my way into management and became more involved in billing cycles until eventually I was overseeing the entire credit control team.

As the business grew, I was promoted to Director of Operations. Naturally this meant I played a larger role in terms of managing credit risk and improving service delivery to both agencies and clients.

This experience was essential as it meant I interacted more with the internal sales side and started implementing the new systems that would be crucial to our development. Of course, having spent the better half of my recruitment career at nGAGE, I wanted to take these insights and apply them at another organisation.

When did Workr come in?

I had previously worked with Yves Bizimana, the Managing Director of Easypay and Workr Solutions, so I reached out to him while I was reviewing my options. As luck would have it, Yves was in the market looking for a Director of Operations as both businesses were expanding.

As soon as he described the role, I knew it was for me. Having now met the team and introduced myself to a number of clients, I’ve started implementing methods picked up from my previous roles, and I look forward to seeing the difference they make.

While the title remains the same, the scale of the work is much bigger. Up until this point, Workr and Easypay have been siloed, working independently of each other when they could be doing so much more together. My goal is to unify these arms of the Workr Group and address any pain points within the customer journey.

To provide an excellent service and implement the latest technology, you need to be the very best. That’s why it gives me great pleasure to add Charlotte to our group. I’ve seen first-hand the difference she makes to service delivery and team productivity. Our clients benefit greatly from this hire, and I have no doubt she’ll fit in seamlessly with our teams in the UK and India.

Yves Bizimana, Managing Director of Easypay and Workr Solutions

How will your expertise help Workr make a difference?

Leveraging my knowledge of outsourcing, service delivery and automation software, I intend to alleviate administrative burdens from Workr stakeholders and lead on project management.

Acting as an additional level of support, I want to improve efficiency so that we’re able to better allocate resources as an organisation and improve client satisfaction. Specifically, this means getting all members of the team singing from the same hymn sheet and minimising duplication.

As Easypay merges into Workr, I intend to better synchronise their individual services and further boost performance for both teams. What’s more, I look forward to how this integration will benefit the customers and agencies we work with.

How Workr can help you

If you’d be interested in how either Workr or Easypay could simplify the way you work, get in touch today. We’re always open to talk about recruitment solutions, and with our latest hire, we’re even more prepared to tailor our services towards your needs.


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IR35 reforms – Warnings becoming a reality

We’re almost three months in since the IR35 private sector reforms came into effect, and we’ve kept a close eye on what has happened in the marketplace.

As per one of our previous articles about HMRC’s “light touch” introduction, there has been little legislative or financial impact so far. We have yet to see or hear about how HMRC are policing the legislation post-reform.  

We will, no doubt, hear more on these issues over the coming months, and Workr Group will keep you fully updated as we hear more.

However, we are already seeing some impact from the introduction of the changes. Businesses that prepared a well-conducted, structured status determination process and followed reasonable care recommendations appear to have achieved business as usual without any major hold-ups.

For those that didn’t prepare (and in some cases, still haven’t) or made blanket or policy statement changes, the impact has been almost immediate.

IR35 – Predictions and warnings?

While most of the initial talk around the impact of the IR35 reforms was focused on the financial impact of making an incorrect determination, there were other predictions and warnings about the potential impact.

Administrative bottlenecks
The IR35 reforms stated that the engager needed to make a status determination for each contractor and take reasonable care in doing so. This change in responsibility created additional administration for the engager due to the initial assessment and the potential for challenges, and the added associated burden.

Due diligence
With the anticipated shift of volumes of contractors to umbrella solutions, warnings were made to engagers about ensuring that their supply chains were compliant and operating in line with UK tax and employment law.

Talent wars 
Probably the most significant risk of all to engagers was the loss of specialised and high-calibre talent due to “inside IR35” determinations. There were repeated warnings made about contractors migrating to companies offering “outside IR35” assignments and leaving gaping skills gaps behind them.

Three months in, and what are we seeing?

In the short time since the introduction of the reforms, we have already seen and heard of several cases where engagers that took a blanket statement approach and are now bogged down with a flood of challenges from contractors.

Failure to consider or respond to an SDS challenge will likely be regarded as a lack of reasonable care by HMRC and will significantly increase the risk of liability should HMRC find an assessment to be incorrect.

As anticipated, many contractors who received ‘inside IR35’ determinations have moved onto engagers payrolls as employees or transferred to umbrella company payroll models. This may seem a good solution for both engager and HMRC, however, market undertones suggest that there are still many illegal umbrella schemes around that could leave contractors, agencies and engagers in serious trouble if found to be complicit.

A lack of due diligence on the supply chain is highly likely to be frowned upon by HMRC, and once the reforms have bedded down, we suspect that the umbrella sector will come under renewed scrutiny from HMRC.

Most prominently, we have seen an immediate response in the migration of contractors.

For example, in the rail infrastructure sector, we have seen a large number of specialist contractors migrate from an engager that determined them to be inside IR35 directly to a competitor offering outside IR35 assignments.

The original engager took a blanket approach and ruled all of their PSC contractors inside IR35 and suffered an almost instant loss of a significant and skilled section of their workforce. They are now struggling to find the talent and expertise needed to replace those PSCs that moved on. This is having a significant impact on its ability to complete the work and projects on time and to standard.

We have also seen many examples of contractors who were given little choice but to transfer to employment contracts directly with engagers and are now resigning and moving to more lucrative permanent roles with competitors or alternatives.

In summary

Nobody wants to hear the phrase “I told you so”; however, there were plenty of warnings made before the IR35 reforms regarding the potential impact for engagers who chose to ignore the reforms or make blanket decisions.

The consequences of these actions are already being felt and are only likely to get worse as more contractors migrate to engagers offering a credible determination process and outside IR35 assignments.

Additionally, risks also remain for those engagers who chose to take a blanket approach. HMRC will undoubtedly conduct investigations into those sectors or businesses that promoted a shift to umbrella models.

It’s not too late to implement or change your process regarding IR35, and we encourage anyone responsible for IR35 compliance to ensure that your determination process is fit for purpose and meets HMRC’s reasonable care requirements.

To help you retain a competitive advantage and meet your reasonable care responsibilities concerning IR35 compliance, Workr Groups’ specialist team can provide impartial advice and support.

For a free, no-obligation audit and assessment of your IR35 compliance process, you can speak directly with Andy Webster, Founder and Director, Workr Compliance, on 07827 810851 or at aw@workrgroup.com.


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Navigating Payroll & Funding Solutions for Your Recruitment Business

Alex Niarchos, Investment Director at Recruitment Entrepreneur, has invited Yves Bizimana, Managing Director of Workr Solutions and Easypay, to join Recruitment Entrepreneur’s latest webinar to discuss payroll and funding solutions for recruitment business. 

The webinar is free to attend and will take place on Wednesday June 16, 2021 at 3pm UK time. 

Host Alex Niarchos has worked in recruitment for over 10 years and now supports recruitment business founders to set up on their own. 

Yves Bizimana also has a wealth of recruitment experience prior to heading up Workr Solutions, a market-leading back office outsourcing service who also provide specialist funding for recruitment businesses through sister company EasyPay. 

If you run your own recruitment business or are thinking about setting one up it is the ideal webinar for you to learn more about the different payroll and funding providers in the market and how to choose the right one for your needs.

Alex and Yves will provide their experience-led advice and best-in-class guidance as they explore key considerations to help you make the right choices to help fuel your growth.

The duo will end the session with a Q&A as an opportunity to have any burning questions you may have answered. 

Follow us for updates on LinkedIn at:

Workr Group on LinkedIn
Workr Solutions on LinkedIn
Easypay on LinkedIn

Sign up for the free webinar on LinkedIn

If you would like to attend sign up via Recruitment Entrepreneur’s LinkedIn event page. 

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A Guide to Statements of Works

Following the introduction of the IR35 reforms to the private sector in April 2021 private sector businesses (engagers) that utilise personal service company (PSC) contractors have been presented with some complex challenges.

The changes in responsibilities brought about by the reforms have increased financial risk, added administrative burden, and reduced available and flexible skills and expertise hindering their ability to provide services or complete projects efficiently and profitably.

In response, many agencies and engagers have looked at alternative methods of engagement that would help retain access to a flexible and skilled resource whilst complying with or circum-navigating the IR35 legislation. One such common idea has been the Statement of Works or SoW.

Touted by some as the answer and a guaranteed solution to IR35, the Statement of Works presents an alternative solution to providing services but must not be mistaken for an IR35 get-out.

Workr Compliance has compiled a useful guide to Statement of Works that explains everything you need to know:

  • What exactly is is a Statement of Works and who uses them?
  • What details should be included in a Statement of Works and how do you manage them?
  • How can a Statement of Works impact IR35 and does it offer a realistic solution?

To get the answers and determine if a Statement of Works approach could benefit your business download the guide or contact us for a free no obligation discussion.

Email Andrew Webster, Founder and Director Workr Compliance at aw@workrgroup.com

Complete the Form to Receive our Statements of Works Guide

You will receive your download email from Workr Compliance. Easypay and Workr Compliance are part of the Workr Group.

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Rising above the competition

Having a service-led business heavily dependent on ‘no win no fee’ isn’t a place most businesses want to operate in or should have to.

Workr Group has partnered with Milestones Business Performance Consultancy and funded the development of an exclusive interactive webinar. This is provided FREE for Easypay clients and focuses on moving your proposition away from contingent and to contracted revenue through retained sales, project-managed campaigns, and mini-RPO in permanent and non-permanent recruitment environments. 

Staffing and recruitment specialist and transformation change expert Miles Lloyd will provide insights, hints, tips, and real-life case studies of agencies winning game-changing contracted business: 

  • How and where to add value, and why
  • How to increase fees in more than one way
  • How to clearly identify client pain points
  • Understanding the customer and giving them what they want
  • What to do to gain real client commitment
  • How to consistently win retained projects

Every Easypay client who registers and attends the session will be invited to complete a Game Changer Index profile and benefit from a 1:1 feedback session with Miles, an accredited GCologist, and receive a personalised 26-page report for FREE. 

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Workr Group joins JSA Group

JSA Group, provider of accountancy, payment and support services to the UK’s growing flexible workforce has acquired The Workr Group

The acquisition of The Workr Group strengthens JSA’s offering by enabling the provision of new technology, funding and consultancy services to the contingent workforce supply chain community, including back-office management solutions for recruitment agency partners. 

In addition, JSA will now be able to provide comprehensive compliance and payment solutions to international workers following Workr Group’s success in this arena, today managing over £100m of pay across 85 countries.

John Hoskin, CEO of JSA Group, said: “We were attracted to Workr primarily by the sheer quality of its people and breadth of services. It adds not only meaningful scale in our core outsourced employment, payment and accounting services but also significantly to the capabilities we can offer our customers and to the contingent workforce supply chain community,  from international payment solutions in a substantial range of territories to recruitment back-office outsourcing, compliance, funding, and technology.”

Matt Tyson, Managing Director of The Workr Group, said: “Over the last seven years, Workr has become synonymous with great customer service and innovation in the solutions we offer recruitment agents and the flexible workforce. Having spent a considerable amount of time speaking with JSA about their approach and the way they work, we are confident we have very strongly aligned values and that this transaction will be positive for our staff, clients, and contractors. The Board, all of whom are staying with the business, and the team at Workr, are tremendously excited about the prospect and potential of a collective offering with JSA.”

JSA, who have a 30-year track record, now support more than 1,000 recruitment businesses and 25,000+ freelancers and contractors. The transaction marks JSA’s eleventh acquisition since 2013 and its sixth since 2018 when the company was backed by Universal Partners. They are headquartered in Watford, UK, now with offices in London, Manchester, Leeds, Chester and Edinburgh as well as regional offices in the USA, UAE and India following the acquisition of The Workr Group.


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The fallout from the IR35 roll-out so far

The fallout from the IR35 roll-out so far.

After much conjecture and a twelve-month deferral, the IR35 Off-Payroll Reforms have finally been introduced into the private sector.

For those businesses that utilise personal service company (PSC) contractors, the responsibility for assessing whether contractors’ assignments fall inside or outside of the IR35 legislation now falls on them.

Not only is this a change in responsibility for businesses that engage PSCs, but it also comes with an increased possibility of financial liability, should they get it wrong.

So what are the initial reactions following the implementation of the IR35 Reforms?

IR35 – Prepared and ready?

The IR35 Reforms have been much publicised following their introduction to the public sector in 2017. Add in the COVID induced deferral, and businesses have had plenty of time to assess and prepare for the private sector reforms.

However, despite months of advice and guidance from hundreds of sources and angles, predictions and warnings have transpired, and we have seen both engagers and fee payers ill-prepared for the changes.

So far, we have witnessed and heard of cases where engagers of tens, hundreds, and even thousands of contractors have done nothing to prepare for the introduction of the IR35 reforms and not even issued a status determination statement (SDS). 

Alternatively, we have observed many engagers take a broad-brush approach and introduce “no PSC” policies or, more worryingly, make blanket “inside IR35” assessments.

In other cases, we have observed engagers taking the minimal actions possible to assess the contractors. Notably, we have heard of some engagers advising their contractors to conduct their own self-assessment by completing the HMRC’s Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) test and feeding back results to obtain a status determination.

Whilst we have also witnessed some excellent IR35 work and preparation with some engagers, the volume of stories we have heard or witnessed regarding a lack of preparation is hugely concerning.

What are the implications of poor preparation and bad practice?

Reassuringly, before the implementation of the IR35 Reforms, HMRC announced that the reforms would get a “light touch” introduction, advising that genuine mistakes will go unpunished for the first 12 months following the introduction.

However, engagers should not interpret this approach as an excuse not to take action.

HMRC have issued regular updates over the last two years outlining their expectations of engagers following the reforms, and a lack of preparation is unlikely to be considered sympathetically.

So what are the possible consequences of poor preparation or a lack of action?

Consequences

Valid Status Determination Statements

The IR35 changes state that the engager must make a valid status determination and take reasonable care in doing so. The status determination is required to ensure that the correct taxes and deductions can be calculated and made per the legislation.

If the client fails to issue an SDS or take reasonable care, the responsibility for the deduction of tax and NICs, and the payment of the apprenticeship levy and paying these to HMRC will rest with it. That liability will always remain with the client unless it takes reasonable care in reaching its conclusion set out in the SDS.

Failure to take reasonable care is unlikely to be deemed a genuine error by HMRC and will therefore induce fines and penalties from day one.

Blanket Statements

Making blanket statements is also classified by HMRC as not taking reasonable care, meaning that this approach would also render the engager liable for deductions and penalties where errors occur.

The blanket statement approach is also likely to make the engager less attractive to those contractors seeking assignments outside of IR35, reducing their chances of attracting top talent, meeting work schedules or achieving project milestones.

The potential for reputational damage to the engager as a supplier or employer of choice is significant.

Determination test tools

HMRC released its Check Employment Status for Tax (CEST) tool some time ago, but this has proved inconclusive for many assessments, even in some of HMRC’s own test cases.

Simply directing contractors to conduct their own assessments using the CEST tool is unlikely to meet reasonable care requirements and offers no guarantee against incorrect assessments. 

Again, the responsibilities and liabilities for engagers taking this approach could be severe.

IR35 – avoid the risks

Engagers should not underestimate the benefits of having a defined, robust and compliant process for IR35 assessment.

Those prepared to invest in some simple processes and procedures can quickly and easily mitigate the risks posed by the new legislation.

If you’re looking for help to develop a compliant process or simply keen to maintain best-practice and BAU moving forward – we have plenty more observations to share from the past few weeks.

To learn more about the good, the bad, and the ugly, as well as advice on what Engagers and Recruitment Agencies can do pretty quickly to attract and retain talent whilst adhering to the legislation. You can access a recording of our most recent webinar here – Expectation vs Reality: The Fallout Of The IR35 Roll-Out So Far

Alternatively, for a free, no-obligation audit and assessment of your IR35 compliance process, you can speak directly with Andy Webster, Founder and Director, Workr Compliance, on 07827 810851 or at aw@workrgroup.com.




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