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Option 1 ‘Outside’ IR35: Access the highest possible calibre of SAP professional

By Jonathan Hurren

On 6 April 2021, the responsibility for determining employment status shifted from contractors to private sector clients. 18 months in we’ve found clients who are serious about the success of their S/4HANA enabled Business Transformations to ensure they adopt an Outside IR35 model. Seasoned Technology Leaders understand the huge value of accessing the very best independent SAP experts.

From our experience contractors who will only ever take Outside IR35 roles are the crème de la crème of SAP professionals in the UK market. They are absolute subject matter experts with a vast level of global SAP experience. With this deep subject matter expertise holistically, these experts will start knocking down lots of assumptions put in by SI’s and the business which can be really quite costly. They know how SAP programmes work so can consistently protect SAP customers from 3rd parties & Systems Integrators with very impressive results. Their expertise ensures the right solutions are designed and delivered often saving millions over the lifecycle by stopping programmes slipping, saving massive burn rates along with keeping 3rd parties honest. They can credibly challenge pricing approaches and ensure SI’s actually deliver on their promises.

As the market picks up with demand for S/4HANA, there will be more and more competition for good people. Inside IR35 sites will become a hunting ground to attract people across to new assignments.

Experience has shown that taking a hybrid approach to staffing SAP programmes, often with a ‘hand in glove’ approach using the best Outside IR35 contractors is a highly successful strategy. bluewave make it very easy for our clients to access these high calibre SAP professionals along with taking away the IR35 risk & admin burden.

As the ‘Fee Payer’ bluewaveSELECT have developed a cost-neutral solution to protect our clients as the ‘Engager’. We partner with Tax experts who are considered the leading authority on IR35, specialising in the legislation for the last 20 years. All parties in the supply chain are protected against IR35 investigations providing tax, interest and penalty insurance provided on a ‘per contractor’ basis. The policy covers Bluewave Select Ltd as the policyholder as well as our clients – ‘client names’ are afforded exactly the same protection as bluewaveSELECT and can make a claim on the policy in the same way.

It’s important to note that we can also consult with SAP clients to help develop the right working practices and engagement models to ensure Outside IR35 determinations. Due to the project-driven nature of SAP assignments, the right of substitution stipulated in contracts, key deliverables and day-to-day working practices virtually all SAP assignments are Outside IR35. The aim of IR35 is to understand if the individual contractor is a disguised employee or not, it’s very easy to see that SAP enabled business transformation engagements are time bound based on specific scope and key deliverables.

Breakdown of the process:


  • If required, our 3rd party IR35 Legal Specialist will consult to develop robust Outside IR35 practices. 
  • bluewave has a dedicated portal and will invite all parties to complete the 42-question assessment.
  • Once submitted the IR35 Legal Specialist will expertly review and deem the engagement inside or outside.
  • The client will receive a notification to approve the assessment via the portal.
  • A status determination statement will be issued to all parties in the supply chain.
  • The tax liability insurance goes live for that particular engagement;
    • £100,000 tax liability cover for each and every assessment/engagement.

Due to the nature of work and character of contractor-client agreements, only a fraction of placements will be classified as ‘Inside IR35’. There will be some clients that continue along the blanket PAYE policy change route. The scenarios require a different approach. To address this, we have partnered with leading IR35 experts and developed two alternative solutions.

  • bluewaveSELECT will help to convert to a fully-compliant PAYE model and source SAP professionals who operate Inside IR35. We’ll continue to connect clients and SAP talent in the usual manner through our hidden networks.

Read more about our Inside IR35 PAYE solution here

  • bluewaveCONSULT, our independent SAP consultancy, will provide new placements through formal Statement of Work (SoW) arrangements. Our true IT services model will mitigate the risk of non-compliance and meet all project needs, including sourcing talent and processing necessary documentation.

Read more about our Statement of Work (SoW) solution here

 Are you an SAP professional or company requiring SAP expertise or advice on IR35?

Reach out at or +44 (0) 1423 559 559

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