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What is the FCSA and why do we work so hard to remain a member?

What is the FCSA and why do we work so hard to remain a member?


At The Sterling Group, compliance isn’t just a requirement—it’s a commitment to excellence that defines who we are and what we stand for. We take our adherence to industry standards seriously, which is why we are proud members of the Freelancer & Contractor Services Association (FCSA). 

But what exactly is the FCSA, and why do we go the extra mile to maintain our membership? Let’s delve into the significance of FCSA compliance and why it’s essential for umbrella and CIS companies like ours.

Understanding the FCSA:

The FCSA stands as a beacon of trust and reliability in the ever-evolving landscape of contingent workforce management. As a self-regulatory body, the FCSA sets stringent standards for umbrella companies, contractor accountants, and payroll providers within the UK. Its primary aim? To uphold compliance, ethical conduct, and best practices across the industry.

Why FCSA Membership Matters:

1. Quality Assurance:

Being an FCSA member is akin to holding a seal of quality assurance. It signifies that we adhere to the highest standards of professionalism, ensuring our clients and contractors receive services that meet rigorous benchmarks.

2. Compliance Confidence:

Compliance isn’t just a legal obligation; it’s a cornerstone of trust in our industry. By aligning with FCSA standards, we demonstrate our commitment to compliance with tax, employment, and regulatory requirements, offering peace of mind to all stakeholders.

3. Transparency and Accountability:

Transparency fosters trust. As an FCSA member, we embrace transparency in our operations, providing clear and comprehensive information to our clients and contractors. Moreover, our membership holds us accountable, driving us to maintain the highest ethical standards in all aspects of our business.

4. Access to Expertise:

FCSA membership grants us access to a wealth of industry expertise and resources. From updates on legislative changes to best practice guidance, we stay ahead of the curve, ensuring that our services remain compliant and relevant in an ever-evolving regulatory landscape.

5. Advocacy and Representation:

As part of the FCSA community, we contribute to shaping industry standards and advocating for the interests of contractors, freelancers, and service providers. Through our collective voice, we strive to foster a fair and equitable environment for all stakeholders.

Our Commitment to FCSA Compliance:

At The Sterling Group, FCSA compliance isn’t just a checkbox—it’s a cornerstone of our ethos. We understand the importance of maintaining the highest standards of professionalism, ethics, and compliance in everything we do. From rigorous due diligence in our vetting processes to ongoing training and development for our team, we spare no effort in upholding the principles of the FCSA.


FCSA membership isn’t just a badge we wear—it’s a testament to our unwavering dedication to excellence and integrity. By remaining committed to FCSA compliance, we ensure that our clients and contractors receive the exceptional service they deserve while contributing to the continued advancement of our industry. 

For more information on how The Sterling Group can help you, get in touch with us today.

Customer liaison:
01925 626 200

Contractor joining team:
01925 626 286

Agency account management:
01925 626 285


Maximise Efficiency: Why The Sterling App is a Must for Contractors

In the bustling world of small business and self-employment, every minute and every penny counts. Streamlining your administrative tasks is not just a convenience; it’s a critical strategy for thriving in a competitive market. So, Maximise Efficiency  with The Sterling App. This is where the app stands out as a beacon of efficiency and fiscal prudence for contractors and freelancers. Developed with the user’s ease in mind, The Sterling App offers a repertoire of features designed to unburden the modern contractor, enabling them to focus on what truly matters – their craft and their clientele.

Contractors and small business owners are not merely adopting the app; they are avidly advocating it for its seamless integration into their financial management strategies and unmatched user experience. In this comprehensive exploration, we dissect the deep-seated benefits of The Sterling App, discuss why it outshines its competitors, and offer testimonials to underline its sterling reputation.

The Sterling App: What Sets It Apart

The quintessential question for any potential user is ‘why The Sterling App?’. The answer lies in the app’s intrinsic value, with features like live payment tracking, real-time expense submissions, and a user interface built for anyone, no matter their technological proficiency.

Key Features and Benefits

Imagine having your  payslips and PAYE at the tip of your fingers. The Sterling App ensures finances are within your sight at all times, giving you a proactive grip on your economic navigation. Its intuitive design transcends the limitations usually faced by complex financial software, making budgeting, and planning accessible to all.

User-Friendly Interface and Customisation

In an era of personalised experiences, The Sterling App does not disappoint. Unlike rigid financial tools, it allows users  Cross-device synchronisation to ensure you’re always working with the latest data, whether it’s on your phone or on Sterling’s portal accessed via  your desktop.

Real-Life Use Cases

To add a human touch to the app’s efficiency, consider the triumphs of those who have embraced it. From multi site  construction contractors submitting  expenses to graphic designers streamlining their client invoicing, The Sterling App has catalysed operational makeovers with tangible results.

Success Stories and Testimonials

Behind every successful feature is a satisfied user. Stories of The Sterling App reducing hours spent on financial paperwork or ensuring no expense claim goes unaddressed are not rare. Testimonials echo a unified sentiment of empowerment and liberation from financial worry, enabling users to focus on their professional goals with renewed vigour.

Why The Sterling App Works for Small Business Owners

For small business owners, financial management can be a dual-edged sword, either propelling you forward with foresight or bogging you down with intricate details. The Sterling App is the salve for the latter, offering solutions that are cost-effective and time-saving.

Time-Saving Features

Automation is the buzzword that translates to actionable time savings. The Sterling App’s integrated approach automates mundane tasks, from viewing time sheets and payments to submitting expense claims or holiday pay requests ensuring a contractors  time is reclaimed for more strategic pursuits.

How Freelancers and Self-Employed Contractors Can Benefit

For the legion of freelancers and self-employed professionals, The Sterling App is not just a tool; it’s a companion in their entrepreneurial voyages. The app allows contractors to access their account from any where at any time of the day.

Efficient Financial Management

It presents a centralised platform for financial activities, making invoice generation, payment tracking, and expense management as simple as a few taps on your smart device. The app’s power lies in this simplification, ensuring that even the most disinterested technophobes are invigorated by the ease with which they can manage their financial affairs.

Personalised Services

One size fits none in the domain of freelancing. The Sterling App acknowledges this, providing customisable services tailored to individual needs. Whether you’re a part-time contractor  or a full-fledged consultant, the app adapts to you, not the other way around.

The Impact on Your Business

The final chapter in The Sterling App’s success story is the quantifiable impact it has on businesses. Whether an uptick in invoice turnover, the optimisation of financial workflow, a significant reduction in costs, The Sterling App is a bottom-line booster through and through.

Financial Management Par Excellence

Contractors  utilising The Sterling App are adopting a modern standard in financial management, one that ensures accuracy, timeliness and compliance without fail. The ripple effect through the company’s operational efficiency is palpable, leading to enhanced client relations and a buoyed professional reputation.


The Sterling App is a lighthouse in the sea of financial management tools – a bright beacon guiding contractors and small business owners alike towards operational clarity and financial ease. Freelancers  are discovering , its utility is universal. If you’re ready to experience the liberation that comes with financial efficiency, it’s time to embrace The Sterling App. Try it for yourself; the testimonials you’ve heard only scratch the surface of what The Sterling App can bring to your professional life.

Navigate to the app store of your choice, download the app, and join the myriad of satisfied users who now call The Sterling App their financial ally.

Your contracting career or small business endeavours deserve the competitive edge that The Sterling App provides. It’s not just a recommendation; it’s an essential tool for the progressive professional.

We’re here and ready to help you get started, speak to our team today.

Our friendly staff are on hand to guide you through the registration process, answer any questions you may have and solve any queries.

Call us on 01925 626200

Or email us at:

For more information on the benefits provided in the app visit Circular Benefits

Spring is not just the time for nature to bloom; it’s also when financial landscapes often receive a rejuvenating touch. The Spring Budget 2024 has unveiled key fiscal policy changes that spell both challenge and opportunity for professionals, business owners, and contractors. In this detailed post, we’ll explore how the latest budget is set to reshape tax systems, foster  business growth, and incentivise investment, and what this means for your pocket and future financial strategies.

VAT Registration Increase:

. The VAT registration threshold has been a topic of significant discussion, and the Spring Budget 2024 comes with a tangible change – raising the threshold from £85,000 to £90,000. This seemingly small alteration carries substantial weight, lightening the tax burden for emerging and small enterprises across the United Kingdom. This threshold change is more than just a number shift; it signifies a policy geared towards reducing financial strain and supporting the organic growth of small businesses. The move is expected to encourage more start-ups, and provide breathing space for those looking to expand.

National Insurance Cuts:

For the hardworking citizens of the UK, the Spring Budget 2024 brings a bouquet of tax relief, particularly on National Insurance Contributions (NICs). Employees will witness a cut from 10% to 8% in their NICs. starting April 6, 2024. Self-employed individuals are not left behind, benefiting from a reduction of the main NICs rate from 9% to 6%.. These reductions will reward effort, easing the financial load on the workforce.

Fairness and Efficiency in Tax Systems:

The Spring Budget 2024 is not just about reducing taxes and promoting investments; it is equally focused on tax system reforms that aim to achieve fairness and efficiency.   The further reduction in employees NICS may indicate a step to eliminating this altogether, so there could  just be income tax for individuals, meaning all income will be treated the same.

It is good to see the announcement in paragraph 5.42 of the main budget that the government is set to review the non-compliance in the umbrella market.  Government will provide an update on the recent consultation in this area in the spring and provide new guidelines to workers and clients in the summer.  This will help to ensure a level playing field for the industry.

The Path Ahead:

The Spring Budget 2024 sets the stage for a recalibration of the UK’s financial roadmap. With an emphasis on stimulating  business growth, rewarding work with reduced NICs,  strategic pension fund investments, and improving public services.

 The government is continuing to support motorists and industry by maintaining rates of fuel duty at the current levels for a further 12 months, through extending the temporary 5p fuel duty cut and cancelling the planned inflation-linked increase for 2024-25. This support is being maintained at a time where many other European countries have ended their fuel duty cuts. This will not only help motorists but will assist the government in bringing down inflation. 

The government is making positive steps in spending funds to improve the processes and procedures in many public sector bodies, which is a good move to maximise the benefit of any future investment in this area.  It is vital to improve the efficiency of the public sector by incorporating modern technology as the plan will provide a better service to the whole  country. 

Financial professionals,  business owners, and contractors must adapt to these changes, incorporating them into their financial planning and business strategies. Staying informed and seeking professional advice will be key in navigating the complexities of the latest budget. As the details continue to unfold, being proactive about understanding and utilising the opportunities presented by the Spring Budget 2024 will be crucial in ensuring long-term financial well-being.

If you have questions or need further assistance in understanding the Spring Budget 2024, the Sterling Group is here to help. 

As a contractor, your reputation and livelihood depend on compliance – having all of your paperwork and processes in order so you can focus on the work, without worrying about potential issues. However, staying on top of today’s complex regulatory landscape alone is a daunting task. That’s where The Sterling Group aims to provide support by handling all aspects of your payroll, insurance, compliance and more so you can co concentrate on your role without these headaches. But how can you really know if we actually have all the bases covered? 


Look for insurance and compliance documentation to ensure the correct cover for your role and industry. Our team is always available if you need to confirm any details about our insurance or any other aspect of your contract.  A compliant company will proudly display and make available to you the relevant certificates and policies  They should also make available  any professional accreditations  they have obtained to demonstrate compliance, such as membership of the FCSA, or Professional Passport and any financial accreditations. Lack of documentation could be a red flag.

Reviews and Research:

Another way to confirm compliance is to check reviews and do your research. See what other customers are saying about how the company handles compliance and regulations. You can also search online for any compliance issues or violations the company may have faced. Our TrustPilot review is rated excellent and keeps growing – you can check that out right here:


When working with an umbrella company ensure they are transparent regarding any deductions made from your earnings.   The payslip should clearly state what all the deductions are for.  Sterling issues every contractor with a payslip guide which clearly and transparently shows all deductions made. We are always happy to discuss this at the start of your assignment to ensure you fully understand the process.

Compliance is deeply integrated into our company’s culture. At every level, from our dedicated leaders to our frontline team, we ensure that regulatory knowledge is nurtured and shared. Our committed employees understand that compliance is not just important, but it is our utmost priority. We will always encourage our contractors to review contracts and policies. Do terms clearly  explain relevant compliance obligations? Compliant companies make their standards transparent.  Our team is well versed in making sure you’re fully up to date and are able to understand exactly what you are working with. We encourage you to ask questions! As one of the longest established contractor organisation in the UK  compliance and customer service is at the forefront of everything we do. 

Third-Party Audits

Consider a third-party audit. The gold standard is independent validation of a company’s internal compliance workings. Look for companies that undergo regular third-party audits. We take the time out to review our verification every year to stay consistently compliant. Our 2023 audit is already underway.  HMRC have a guide about working via an umbrella company it may be helpful to check out the link:

Finally, trust your intuition – pursue companies that inspire confidence in their commitment to following both the letter and spirit of regulations. Honesty and transparency are hallmarks of umbrella companies that prioritise compliance.

If you have any questions about the compliance of The Sterling Group, or need to chat about any of our services you can get in touch with us by emailing or call 01925 626 200