Ok, that’s the first and last time I’ll use that pun! I had to get it in at least once.
Starting a new business is hard work. I should know- I’ve done it and the business is growing, so each day brings new challenges.
There are so many things you have to consider when starting out. A name, branding, insurance, target markets, products, advertising, just to name a few. It’s overwhelming and it’s a little bit scary.
One thing I can’t stress enough to anyone breaking out into self employment is to get an accountant in place as early in the process as possible, especially if this is something that’s new to you. A helping hand along the way can make all the difference to your success.
Obviously we can’t build your business for you. The ideas are yours and it’s your adventure, but we can help you to succeed.
It’s easier to get the structure right from the outset. You may have your own idea of how big you want to grow and how much income you’re hoping to earn. You might not be sure, so we can guide you on this and talk you through the various options for setting up. Sometimes a sole trade arrangement or unincorporated partnership is all you need, but other times a limited company would be more appropriate.
A limited company is effectively a separate person. The company can own assets in its own right and enter contracts in its own name. The company pays its own tax, which is corporation tax. This comes with tax planning opportunities as unlike if you operate as a sole trader, you would only pay personal tax on drawings from the business, not your entire profit.
Another advantage to a limited company is limited liability. The company is separate from your personal affairs and is liable for debts only up to the initial money you’ve put into it. This can be reassuring to know if you have assets outside of the company that you want to protect.
Registering your business
Once we’ve agreed a structure, there’s a bit of admin to either incorporate a company or register you with HMRC as a sole trader or a partnership. We’ll take care of all of this for you, so that’s one thing off your list.
We’ll also talk you through the pros and cons of registering for VAT. If you’re under the VAT threshold sometimes it’s very worthwhile to register voluntarily, but other times it might just be more hassle than benefit.
It’s much, much easier to get on top of bookkeeping from the very start. When you’re first starting up a business it’s common that you will pay for things yourself because the business hasn’t got any income as yet. Getting to your first year end and then trying to remember everything you bought a year ago is almost impossible. There will be at least one or two things you miss and if you’re not claiming every legitimate expense then you’ll pay more tax than you need to. Keeping receipts is very important and you don’t want to be hunting for these a year later.
There are a number of solutions for bookkeeping and some will suit you better than others. We are partners with Xero and Freeagent and we work with a number of other software providers such as Sage and Quickbooks. We have in depth experience of their software so we can advise you on what would be the best fit for you. We’re also open to working with any software you choose if your business requires something more specialist.
Sometimes just a spreadsheet is all you need and we can provide you with templates to make sure that you’re recording everything you need to, right from the start.
Of course, if you’d rather just get us to take care of the bookkeeping for you we can provide you with a quote.
As well as keeping records from the start, it helps if you know what expenses you can claim so you can make sure you’re maximising your tax efficiency from the outset. This will be different for everyone and depend entirely on your business, so we’ll talk you through what would be relevant for you and point out things you may not have considered, for example costs you can claim if you work from home or subsistence expenses if you’re out and about for the day.
Our fees are quoted on an individual basis but we guarantee they are fixed for your first accounting year. This way you can pay a monthly fee knowing that your accounts and tax affairs are fully covered and you have the support you need for the year ahead. If anything changes after the first year, for example your business has doubled in size over the year and there’s a lot more work for us to do, we’ll send you a new no-obligation quote for the year after.
Our fixed fees include unlimited advice for the year ahead so you can give us a call every time you come across something in the normal course of your business that you’re unsure of. If you need any advice outside of this arrangement we’ll always let you know beforehand and send you a quote for the additional work. We want our fees to be as transparent as possible.
Having a plan in place from the outset as to how you will pay yourself from the business and how much you need to set aside to cover corporation tax or personal tax and VAT is invaluable. When you’re first starting out the last thing you need is surprise tax bills that you haven’t got the cash to pay. Once you’re set up we’ll always have an initial meeting with you to run through the most tax efficient ways to draw money from the business and explain to you the different taxes that you’ll need to plan for. Ideally this will be a face to face meeting, but if you’re further afield we’ll book in a call.
We want you to succeed
One of the things I enjoy most about my job is building relationships with clients and watching their businesses grow from a light bulb idea to a success. This is where the core values of Marble Accounting arose – supportive, pro-active accounting at a fair and transparent price. We care about you and we want you to succeed.
Call us today to see how we can help with your new adventure!
Written by Sarah