The best time to talk to an accountant is when you first think about starting or buying your own business. The next best time is now. A little bit of time and money invested in timely advice could save you thousands of pounds and make the difference between success and failure, particularly if start-up funds are limited.
- Company, partnership, sole trader or other, which is best? It’s not all about the tax saved.
- Remuneration strategies, how will you be paid? – get this wrong and it can cost you thousands of pounds every year unnecessarily usually in National Insurance paid needlessly.
- How is the start-up financed? Working capital? It will take more than you think, do you have reserves?
- Will you have outside shareholders? Do you need to adjust your Articles of Association so they cannot sell their shares to your competitor? Do you need incentives to attract outside investors such as the Enterprise Investor Scheme?
- There’s a lot to think about in any start up situation. There may be no one perfect start up strategy but you need to find the one that suits you best. It may not be the best strategy in the long term, so you change it at an appropriate time.
- You have a lot to learn so when reaching for your goals, stand on the shoulders of people who have already done it. Use their experience and don’t repeat the mistakes they made. Talk to other people, everyone will try and help, so just ask what you need to know. You will learn so much in the first few years that when you look back at yourself, just starting out, you will not recognise yourself.
Staring out? Use this as the agenda for your next meeting.
- Evaluate business ideas, profitability, and potential for growth.
- Decide on the most suitable structure for your business – sole trader, partnership, or limited company or other
- Prepare a business plan, cash flow projections, budgets, and trading forecasts
- Assess your finance requirements – advice on the best sources of finance, and draw up the necessary proposals
- Establish good working relationship with a bank, but which one?
- Complete any registration procedures with Companies House, Inland Revenue, or Customs and Excise
- Deal with company secretarial issues
- Remuneration strategies including involvement (and remuneration) of your significant other.
- Set up recording systems for accounting and business management and for complying with statutory requirements
“Starting in business especially for the first time can feel like walking over a cliff in the dark, you don’t know if you will fall 6 inches or 600 feet. We have walked over many cliffs so come with us and let us show you the right path to take.”