Ex IT Contractor celebrates 10 years of his astonishingly successful Umbrella Company



Just over 10 years ago Rob Crossland was an IT Contractor like any of the rest of us.

He was discussing the new IR35 with other contractors on a wet Wednesday afternoon at ICL.

They were all moaning about it and wondered what to do.

One guy said that he was with an Umbrella Company.

‘What‘s that?’ asked Rob.

Ten Years After

Ten years later, the company he set up, Parasol, up has looked after nearly 37,000 contractors and more than 173,000 contracts since it was set up.

It has ensured the payment to contractors of over £2bn in wages over the last decade.

It has processed 1.2m timesheets and completed 860,000 payrolls for contractors.

They are very proud of the fact that 98% of the money that they have taken in has gone back out to contractors on the very same day.

The motto since the beginning has been ‘get them paid with as little hassle as possible’.


The Parasol family now also includes ClearSky Accounting, acquired in December 2008 in order to provide specialist, ‘˜no-nonsense‘ accountancy services for contractors and freelance professionals wanting to operate their own limited company.

Commenting on the anniversary, Rob Crossland, founder and chief executive of Parasol, said: ‘As a former IT contractor myself, I felt we had a good understanding of the industry‘s needs when we launched the business and the success of Parasol during the last ten years backs this up.

Big Changes

‘The industry itself has seen some highly significant and far-reaching changes during the last decade, including the introduction of IR35 and the changes to MSC legislation, and we have worked hard to help contractors navigate through them. However, our aim has remained constant, to offer the highest levels of service and compliance.

‘The next decade will be just as challenging as the Agency Workers Directive comes into effect, the impact of which remains largely to be seen. We also have a potential change of government, which could also impact on the professional contractor sector.

‘We believe that the flexible workforce in the UK makes an invaluable contribution to the UK economy and needs to be recognised accordingly. We are now looking forward to the next ten years, working with contractors in a wide range of industries and helping them to operate in a compliant, tax efficient way, giving them the peace of mind to focus on their latest contract and doing what they do best.’


The Parasol team is extremely proud of the large number of business awards and accolades it has achieved in recent years including the APSCo Staffing and Service Provider of the Year Award in 2005 and 2007 as well as regularly featuring in the Sunday Times Top Track 250, Sunday Times Fast Track 100 and the Sunday Times Best Companies Award.

Rob concluded: ‘The acquisition of ClearSky Accounting demonstrates our commitment to the UK contracting industry and we will continue to look for more opportunities to extend the Parasol family.

‘The purchase was the first of several planned strategic acquisitions and part of Parasol‘s ambition to become one of the biggest and best contractor service providers in Europe.

‘We want to be seen as the ‘˜one stop shop‘ where all a contractor‘s career requirements will be met from first job to retirement.’

ITContractor Comment

Any time we put up articles on about companies that are also advertisers (and even if they aren‘t) we always get the comment ‘this is an ad masquerading as an article’.

We do publish articles from advertisers but we try to get them to be genuine articles with information of interest to contractors.

With this one we are happy to let it through pretty much as is.

IT Contractor

It‘s always great to see a fellow IT Contractor do well.

Also, it has been a pleasure doing business with Rob and Parasol over the past 7 years that they have been advertising with us.

It‘s nice to see the good guys do well.


I went to see them at the back end of last year in Warrington and was shown around the building and met the people that worked there and they seemed a happy and contented bunch.

There was a nice relaxed atmosphere.

There‘s even a tray of fruit put out on each floor each day and they get free membership to the gym.

As Quality Guru Tom Peters once said ‘I never saw a company who treated their staff badly whose staff treated their customers well and the opposite is also true’.

So, congratulations to Rob Crossland and to Parasol.