SJD Accountancy

Contracting at AXA

Looking for your next contracting career? Consider why AXA could be the your next opportunity.

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Contracting at AXA

As one of France’s most successful investment banks, AXA also deals with insurance and retirement plans, asset management and wealth management. Their reputation may be global, but they are based at offices in the 8th arrondissement of Paris and their UK headquarters is in Tunbridge Wells in Kent. The main focus of much of AXA’s work is in insurance, and the business trades in the UK with a range of different divisions including Asset Management, Life and Savings, Property and Casualty and other financial services.

As the largest private sector employer in the area, many of the jobs available with AXA are based in their south-east offices, but because they are a conglomerate of businesses which are run independently, there are branches all over the country.

Because of the broad scope of their business operations, there are roles for a wide range of different disciplines. These include frontline staff in their branches who deal directly with customers, financial experts in everything from risk management to brokers and everything in between. There are also a number of jobs in support from marketing and communications to legal, compliance and operations.

For contractors who want to work for AXA, there is a recruitment site which includes plenty of information about the types of roles available, and you can search by region, discipline and choose which of the various different operating companies you would prefer to target. Whatever your skills or specialist experience, you can filter the positions available.

With over 100,000 employees in Europe, including over 13,000 in the UK, AXA is also known for their willingness to engage contractors on fixed terms contracts onto open-ended contracts, with over 1,000 workers being offered this opportunity every year. Their recruitment site includes details of their ethos and what they are looking for in employees in order to help applicants to meet their criteria.

As a company which prides itself on being a fair and equitable employer, AXA has a reputation for working with NGOs and research agencies in order to improve living conditions for people around the world. They have also been recognised by the European Business Awards as Employer of the Year, as well as having their family-friendly policies acknowledged by a number of European entities.

Contractors looking for roles in financial institutions can go direct, through each individual company’s own website, or use an agent who may have a broader remit when it comes to placing candidates in financial services roles. Whether you are specifically qualified to work in the financial sector or want a non-finance based role such as marketing or IT support, you can choose from a range of employment agencies such as Hays, Reed or specialist firms such as Sanderson Plc and Fins.

Moving from permanent to contracting

If you are currently employed, out of work or looking to supplement an existing career and you’re considering making the move from permanent employment to contracting then you may feel a little overwhelmed by the number of things which need to be considered.

Many people are attracted to contracting for financial reasons, and it is easy to see why. Contractors can often earn twice the amount that a full-time employee would for the same role, but it is important to consider why this is. Often roles are short-term or require you to be flexible about when and where you work, but if you have highly sought-after skills, work in a niche industry or if you’re located in a prime area for any given industry then you may be able to charge even higher rates of pay – you can get a rough idea of the earnings you can expect using our Contractor Calculator.

It is important to remember that you will have extra outgoings as a contractor, although you may be able to claim some expenses against the tax that are “wholly and exclusively for the purpose of your business”. You can find out more about expenses by reading our plain English guide here: Contractors Guide to Expenses.

If the idea of contracting appeals to you because you like the idea of being your own boss, then contracting can be a great way to take back control of your career. You will have clients rather than employers and if you can be in charge of how much holiday you take, how much you will charge and any training you might choose to do.

It is also important to realise that there is additional work that comes along with contracting, including calculating your tax, being responsible for your own National Insurance payments and dealing with all the admin related to your work. You could contract through an umbrella company, but you should first consider the benefits of becoming a limited company over using an umbrella company. The potential savings made by doing a little extra admin usually outweigh any positives to going through an umbrella company.

As a contractor, it is normal to have questions and concerns about managing your finances and ensuring that you are working in the most tax efficient way for your business, a qualified accountant is best placed to offer their expertise.

At SJD we have more qualified staff than any other firm in our market. We provide over 15,000 contractor clients with:

  • Unlimited face to face meetings across the UK – Only SJD offers unlimited face to face meetings – tax is complicated and sometimes only a meeting will do.
  • Access to their own dedicated accountant – No call centres, no outsourcing, no automated call handling. Simply telephone, email or meet your own dedicated accountant*.
  • Our Customer Promise. Respond to any question sent to your accountant or any dedicated department within 24 hours.  If we need more time, we will update you as soon as we can and we promise to keep you informed of the progress we are making in answering your question.
  • Outstanding reputation – We have won more awards for customer service and accountancy excellence than any other firm in our market.

We are a nationwide company, with offices and meeting locations across the UK and ensure that all telephone calls and emails are answered the same day as part of our customer promise, all for a fully inclusive package of £120 + VAT per month.

For all other company guides, visit our Becoming a Contractor – Company Guides page here.

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