Helping you with starting a business and your first year of trading

Helping you with starting a business and your first year of trading

So, you’re thinking about starting a business or you’re just about to press the button. It’s a big decision and there is a lot to think about. Thankfully we have helped numerous people in your situation and therefore have a wealth of knowledge and experience that we can share with you, guiding you through the planning, set up, incorporation (or not!) and then ongoing.

At Haggards Crowther we believe there are typically 5 steps to the process of starting a business:

1. Planning

It is an exciting time for sure, but there is a lot to think about. Most of the planning required is relatively practical and a bit mundane, but it is extremely important to resolve these matters from the get go, rather than try to deal with them retrospectively or find yourself hamstrung further down the line. 

Key things to consider:

  • Company name – Pick something that is relevant, memorable, available and where necessary has the associated web address available.
  • Trading address – Are you going to work from home, rent dedicated office space, use a virtual office or use ‘touch down’ space within a shared location?
  • Choosing a year end – Think about likely patterns to your business plan, are you going to be busy in the summer and quiet in the winter. Should you pin it to the calendar year or tax year?
  • Choosing a bank – This is a laborious process and will involve lots of paperwork and a visit to a branch. Whether you need to borrow money or not, it will take time for the bank to get you set up. 
  • Choose accounting software and get your IT set up – How are you going to run your business? What IT do you need in place. If you have accounting software, you can raise invoices – its important! 
  • Who’s doing what? – If you’re on your own, do you need support e.g. like a bookkeeper. If you are starting a business with colleagues, assign roles and make sure someone takes the lead.  

2. Tax planning

Did you know that when starting a business, making the decision to set up as a company or a sole trader can impact your future tax bills? Or that there are some fantastic tax reliefs available for new business investors? At Haggards Crowther, we can help you establish the most tax-effective structure for your business as well as advising you on the overall considerations for setting up a business including:

  • Whether you should incorporate or be a sole trader?
  • The solutions available for investors, such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme, and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme.
  • On the most tax efficient structure for you to draw funds from the business.
  • What reliefs are available if it all goes wrong?

3. Formal Business Structure – Limited Co., LLP, Sole Trader

There are various structures for UK businesses, all of which have their upsides and down. It will really come down to who’s involved, investment sources, likely growth rates, liabilities and income streams. 

We can talk you through the structures which are relevant to your circumstances and then provide you with a recommendation as to which to pursue. We can then help you with all the relevant paperwork. If you choose the Limited Co. incorporation route, we can do this for you for a fixed fee. 

4. On-going accounting and business support

Once the business is set up you will need to consider how you will manage your on-going accounting function. From bookkeeping to management information and year end accounts your requirements will depend on transactional volumes and any demands placed on you by investors, other Directors/shareholders and/or any external bodies e.g. FCA regulation. 

We provide a flexible and tailored service to clients, fully understanding that year one can be an expensive time. The options typically focus on key points in time e.g. monthly, quarterly or annual. Subject to your own in-house accounting skills, you may need a higher level of support to start with, gradually reducing as you build your team, or you may want a consistent and reliable team working alongside you to provide honest advice and solid financial control. 

5. Your first-year end

Whether year one generates a profit or a loss, there will be work to do to ensure the minimum amount of tax is paid and that the accounts have been correctly structured for reporting purposes. It may be that your first year is not 12 months long, subject to when you started and when you chose for your year end, and so there may be some additional work to do to pro rate the accounts for internal reporting purposes. 

If we have been working with you throughout your first year, the year end process will be very straight forward as we will have a thorough understanding of your business. If we have been helping with management reporting only or you need us to get involved in your business, purely for the first-year end, then we will need to get to grips with your accounts before looking at drawing the year to a close. In any case, the sooner we are involved after the actual year end date, the better as it leaves plenty of time to work through things and the answers to our questions will be fresh in your mind. 

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