What Does A Good Umbrella Company Really Look Like?

What Does A Good Umbrella Company Really Look Like?

Jan 04, 2021

There are two important considerations when considering which umbrella company best fits you in these tough times of Covid 19 and lockdowns.

  • How financially strong and stable is the umbrella company employer?
  • What else should you look for from your umbrella company employer?

Financial strength and stability of your umbrella company employer

In these difficult times of Brexit and repeated Covid19 lockdowns, there are greater financial risks in the contracting chain than ever before, with many businesses with reduced sales but still needing to repay loans taken out during 2020.

It is therefore vital that you choose to work with businesses up and down the contracting chain that do not bring additional financial risks to you, especially in these difficult times for everyone.

Your risks could be increased where an umbrella company has:

  • not been trading for more than three years,
  • filed micro company accounts,
  • filed unaudited accounts,
  • a balance sheet which does not have net assets of at least more than £100,000,
  • a balance sheet where goodwill or intangible assets exceed the balance sheet total,
  • not joined a membership trade body such as FCSA where their processes are regularly reviewed.

Crest Plus is very financially strong in its own right but is additionally also part of the second largest group in the UK within our sector.

In these risky times, you must start by minimising your own financial risks by working with financially strong partners who will not be at greater risk of failing during the difficult times ahead.

It’s easy to check the latest accounts of your umbrella company by typing in the name of the umbrella company followed by the word beta into google and this will bring up access to their accounts at Companies House.

We recommend you always seek independent evidence of financial strength rather than just taking the word of your suppliers and customers. As we have been trading profitably for over 20 years and have a strong balance sheet, your payments are safe with us as your employer.


Finding the best fit umbrella employer for you – other considerations

Where deciding on the best fit umbrella employment and your contracting options the following factors are often the ones being considered by freelancers and contractors:

  1. Can the umbrella company support me with all the contracting options suitable for me? For example within the construction sector, genuine expertise is vital if you wish to consider working under a CIS option. Workers have often lost monies due to umbrella companies “playing” in this sector without the required expertise.
  2. Can your umbrella company support you with IR35 determination assessments advice from genuine experts within their business?
  3. Can your umbrella company evidence independently audited compliance e.g. FCSA membership? Many hirers and recruiters now insist on FCSA membership from their umbrella company Preferred Supplier List partners because poor compliance within your umbrella company can, now more than ever, cost you in unexpected tax assessments and penalties.
  4. How many contractors does your umbrella company pay? A good sales pitch and slick website may gloss over inexperience and lack of people in the back office. One of our clients recently commented that they “would not rely on small businesses to pay our workers during a pandemic as unfortunately there is inadequate back up if staff are not in work”. This can seriously impact on you getting your money accurately and on time.
  5. Does the umbrella employ genuine experts full time within the business e.g. Chartered Accountants? Many umbrella companies sell their own expertise but they don’t genuinely have it. This can lead to incorrect advice and trouble at some point in the future.
  6. What additional benefits do they provide for you as their employee? Do they provide free personal accident and commute insurance covers, do they provide free retail shopping, travel and restaurant discounts and give free mental health, fitness and lifestyle support for you? Such additional benefits can represent big savings and excellent lifestyle support for you and mustn’t be overlooked.
  7. Can the umbrella company handle processing my Personal Pension Plan or SIPPs payments? Some may not be able to accommodate this due to their software not being able to handle these payments.
  8. Look for evidence of professionalism and training – do they have Investors in People or ISO Awards? Lack of training of umbrella back-office staff can cause you to be paid incorrectly and/or late.
  9. Does the umbrella company’s own culture evidence a genuine caring approach and a “going the extra mile” culture? Look for evidence of them supporting charities, and seek references from others.


Crest Plus have worked hard over many years to position ourselves to uniquely tick all the above boxes.

Contact us now if you want to join the many workers joining Crest Plus Umbrella to take advantage of all the many benefits above and help you safely navigate all the impending issues arising from IR35 reform, Brexit, and Covid19.


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