Inside the workings of No Worries
No Worries was kicked off in 2003 by two New Zealander’s living and working in London, Greg Hanton and Helen McMurtrie. Their aim was to deliver an outstanding, easily accessible accounting service by removing the suit and tie and utilising all the benefits of the internet. This resulted in them building a service that offers contractors, freelancers and small business solutions that are affordable, accessable and easy to understand. Over 20 years of industry knowledge and programming capabilities allowed them to bring innovation to a sector that has traditionally lagged behind and they continue to do so. This has seen No Worries help over 5,000 clients and the business grow from their flat in Clapham (London) to an enterprise serving thousands of long-standing clients scattered across the world. A growth that occured largely through word of mouth, testament to the service they provide. And this continues to be the driving force of No Worries: a service that constantly has the clients needs in mind in the ever changing economic and technological landscape.
Helen & Greg
After the inital squabbles of who would make the office coffee, these two New Zealanders settled on a good local cafe and got busy with changing the face of contractor accounting in the UK. Its been a way of life for them since 2003. With a combined experience contracting in primary, professional and start-up markets they have added over 20 years of contractor and tax accounting experience, three kids and two dogs to the mix, ensuring life continues at pace.
Candice puts her focus on customer service, staff training, and consistency of delivery to ensure we provide a service that our clients want to tell their friends about. With a background in actuary mathematics, and as a member of FMAAT proves, her 14+ years of advanced expertise in contractor accounting and level of professionalism, keeps the company moving forward.
Where it began
After 2.5yrs contracting in North America, in 2001 the founders of No Worries landed in the UK, opened up the TNT magazine, and found a contractor accounting service to begin their UK contractor journey. The Internet was still fairly new, and Nokia phones were all the rage. But they didn’t like using fax machines, found emailing Excel spreadsheets of their expenses frustrating and couldn’t understand why someone had not developed a system where this could all be done online! So they decided to forgo the Contiki tours and settled down in their small one bedroom flat over the top of Tennessee Fried Chicken in South London and gave it a go themselves.
Testing the waters
We popped a toe in the water and launched a free online company formation product in the UK at a time when formations could only be done by post. We were surprised by the uptake and were encouraged to keep building our online accounting product.
In 2005 our software was ready and No Worries Company Services Ltd (NW) was born. But as we prepared to enter the market we decided to try something different. Where other contractor accounting firms were charging their fees at 5% of the contractors turnover, we brought a radical new idea to the market – charging a flat monthly fee. This significantly undercut our competitors, and they all, eventually (and after much heel dragging), scrambled to follow suit. We also had another secret weapon – online accounting software that we had built and this continues to be a key strength of the NW accounting service. No having to rely on third party accounting software providers and the in-house flexibility of being able to mould our software to the specific needs of our clients. As contractors this makes for a robust software, that has been built by contractor accountants who can program – we know exactly what is needed and exactly how to build it. However, NWs’ main driver has always been providing the best possible service. NW was started as we strongly believed that contractors deserved a service that was easy and accessible, fair and affordable, and did not hide behind complicated jargon. We are on your side! We are part of your team and we are here to help give you more time to live!
Hello Seagrave Road. The business had finally grown up and moved out of our flat into its own space. While we baked in this small ground floor office in the summertime, we couldn’t be happier as we attached our little brass name plate outside the door and welcomed our first two employees. We also partnered with HSBC Bank to simplify the process of setting up a bank account for new contractors to the UK market.
NW’s client numbers climbed rapidly when new MSC legislation is passed that sends a whole lot of new business our way #lucky! This also meant that NW had outgrown Seagrave Road so we moved to new office space at Elysium Gate in Fulham – hello air conditioning! Lots more freelancers in the UK can now email an invoice straight to their recruitment firm using our software.
Time for a new logo! Companies House finally replaces its 20yr old system for company formations with a new online processing system, finally our printer can take a breather! Now we patiently wait for them to look towards online filing of Annual Accounts and VAT returns. In the meantime, we continue to listen to feedback from our clients and streamline our accounting service and software while constantly talking with and encouraging Companies House and HMRC to move more of their reporting requirements and processes online.
PAYE Umbrella Service Arrives
No Worries Red Umbrella service is introduced to the contracting market. After numerous requests and queries from past and present clients, we got busy and released software backed by our own staff to provide an umbrella service for contractors working via an agency who are caught by the IR35 rules.
After 10 years in Fulham we needed more leg room and a change of scenery so decided to move to a larger office. There was talk that the Fulham office tower might be converted to flats, so we made an exit while the going was good. The new office location became 1 Rowan Court, 56 High Street Wimbledon, in Wimbledon Village. We fully refurbish the office and stocked up our nice new large fridge with lots of snacks!
Up until this point the cloud-based accounting software NW had developed was known as “the portal” or “our software” or some other generic name. So we decided to give it a name and released Simplifi to the world. It was rebuilt completely using modern industry standards. It’s actually one giant API with a nice looking UX/UI. All the functionality from the old system is retained, with far greater scope that allowed us to add new features like bank feeds, payroll integrations, receipt scanning, plus much higher security.
We Lead MTD
We all know what happened here! A new player burst on the scene: COVID-19. Our focus moved towards helping our clients and employees navigate some radical life changes. Having a business that from its inception had been built to operate in the cloud did help us a LOT. This meant we were easily able to adapt our business to have our employees all work from home during this time, even if that meant moving countries to be closer to family. This sees us downsize our physical office space as our virtual office grew with employees operating out of Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and the UK. COVID-19 also helped to renew our drive to be here for our clients and offer them the support they need to live their best lives. And truth be told, at this point we are actually excited at the new opportunities the new way of running our business and the changing contractor market offers.
With the introduction of changes to the way IR35 works, lots of limited company contractors are forced to work via a PAYE umbrella. This results in an explosion of new business at No Worries Red Umbrella with large numbers of contractors joining in a short space of time.
We are now all settled into our new working enviornments, and our business systems and processes have been streamlined and modified to better support remote working. We’re also noticing a change in some of our clients where the type of work is more varied and more expenses now being claimed through their business. Clearly lots of people are now adjusting to a new normal of working remotely for some or all of the working week. Our main core business remains unchanged however, and we’re still helping contractors/freelancers and small business owners work and live in the UK in the most tax efficient way. Some clients will now work from an overseas location for several months at a time, and often have questions about inter-country tax arrangements. We have also expanded our UK personal tax return service to non-contractor clients, which finds us completing UK tax returns for people who live all over the world.