Find an expert
I am a firm believer of using experts. Stick to what you know, which is exactly what your business will be doing. Try to outsource certain aspects to experts. I would advise using an accountant (myself maybe?) to register every aspect of your business. Find a branding/marketing company to brand your company and get you online. Also depending on your business I would recommend finding an IT expert. Keeping your information secure and accessible is very important in the modern age.
The Legal stuff
Okay, there is a fair bit you need to register here. First, you need to have a think if you would like to be a company or a sole trader. If you’re reading my blog I would assume you would like to register a company. The advantages o f doing so would be the company being liable for all obligations, and also you look more reputable when trading as a company. The main negative would be the cost/admin to file company accounts annually plus the filing of company taxes and personal taxes. As a self employed you would just need to do personal taxes.
Registering your company can be done on https://www.gov.uk/limited-company-formation/register-your-company by following a step by step guide. Bare in mind it may not be the easiest form if you’ve never done this before.
Once registered you will receive a letter and an email after a few days confirming. You will also be emailed your certificate and each director will also be sent a letter. An important piece of advice, do not throw any letters away, one of these (or one of the future ones) could be very important and difficult to get resent. Your accountant will ask you for the letter that has your Authentication Code on, so make sure you keep a note of this.
The next question you should be asking is if you should register for VAT. The general rule is you should register if the taxable turnover for a 12 month period is £85,000. If you expect that you will do this quickly then I would recommend registering from day one and charging VAT on your sales. You could also consider registering under a fixed rate VAT scheme as it could save you some money. If you would like more information then please contact me.
Registering for Corporation Tax would be done online using the HMRC Online Government Gateway. Again quite self-explanatory to do this once your company has been created. You should then receive an activation code through the post which you’ll need to input to activate the Corporation Tax part of the account.
You can use this HMRC Online Government Gateway to register for all other taxes, so this may include VAT and PAYE too. If you do plan to employ staff you will need to make sure you register for PAYE.
Managing your finances
The first thing you should do is find a bank. Have a think why you are picking a bank. Is it for just holding your money and the ease of keeping track of transactions (perhaps using a mobile app?)? Or a good overdraft/ loan facility. Another thing you should consider is the accounting platform you are using and if the bank will work with the accounting platform.
There may be another reason you choose your banking partner, and that is quickness of setting up. There is a new fintech company on the market that brags it can create your app based business bank account in 5 minutes. Tide is a state of the art mobile app that is streets ahead of most banks and it is compatible with Xero. I would definitely recommend taking a look: https://www.tide.co/. Tide however does have limitations so please review this to make sure they are a good fit for your business.
Xero is the accounting platform I would recommend to manage your finances. I don’t want to spend too much time on this blog talking about it, but I would recommend having a look: https://www.xero.com/uk/
If you’re accounting savvy, or have an in house bookkeeper then Xero is a great app to run your finances. It is really user friendly. But like I said above, I strongly recommend hiring an expert to run this part of the business for you.
The other parts of your business you should be thinking about is how you will receive payments, and if you’re in retail/hospitality perhaps an EPOS system. There are several payment services you could use. The common payment services are PayPal and Stripe, I would recommend you do your research or get some advice about this.