Interim Management, Brexit and IR35

Firstly, wishing you a happy Brexit day tomorrow; I’ve actually been invited to two parties to celebrate with one issuing Boris wigs at the door! Being a co-founder of the world’s leading interim management group – with about 20 offices across Europe and (currently) some really healthy trading relationships – I have some serious concerns!

I keep being asked about our Interim Management business and whether we are seeing a “Boris Boost” or not yet in 2020. To be honest I haven’t seen such a strange market for interim management in my 15 + years in the industry.

On the positive side we have never had such a strong and diverse talent pool. For Russam this has grown to over 50,000 highly skilled executives through our global interim executive group –

When I joined the industry interim management was very niche; now there are nearly 5 million people in the UK working on a self-employed basis; over 15% of the working population; and this is set to grow massively along with interim on the more senior end of the spectrum. Organisations need flexible staff for lots of reasons whether to handle special projects, manage change and transformation, cover gaps or provide specialist resource for a particular period of time. Interims and other contractors are essential in business and drive productivity – it is proven. 

So the supply is there and the demand is there; but the market remains sluggish; and we have the uncertainty of IR35 which is creating the strange market.

I started writing this post about a week ago and my mood has certainly become more positive as I put pen to paper again this morning.

We have some interesting new projects including:

  • Established share trading business – interim project manager to lead on a new banking license
  • Major health charity – interim communications director to support a major transformation
  • Infrastructure plc – interim digital leader and strategist
  • Precision engineering company – interim finance director
  • Sporting body – interim digital transformation lead
  • Global retailer – China, USA and Asia – interim agile coaches and programme directors
  • Petrochemical company in Romania – interim turnaround manager

Now, we have been bombarded with questions from our clients and candidates about IR35.

My key message is “don’t panic”.  We have a very useful IR35/Off-Payroll Tax Guide coming out next week. Please email for a copy.

Russam have supported interim workers since we were founded in 1982 and have always ensured a compliant and professional set-up including the tax structures.

Our clients must now take” reasonable care” and have a transparent justification (well documented) for why the role is either inside or outside the legislation; and clear explanation for this determination.

Simply, the process is facilitated by producing a clear role description outlining the main tasks of the interim assignment.

Clients need to consider whether they require an interim manager to undertake:

  1. A pre-existing role as a replacement, for example a statutory c-suite role such as a CEO, CFO or COO, as these are most likely to fall inside the legislation,
  2. or if the talent need is for a project director to work on one specific business development or transformation programme, this would – largely – be determined as outside.

Reflecting on the interim examples I gave above I believe that most fall outside of IR35.

Our IR35 Guide will cover:

  • Assessing IR35 status
  • Tax collection and tax liability
  • Small company exemptions
  • Options that Russam can offer for compliantly structuring the assignment
  • Q & A’s

Your accountant will be your tax expert, but our Guide will cover the essentials.

If you have any questions, get in touch by emailing

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Call us on 07930 356305 or email

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