View All Topics
Starting Up In Business
Starting Up in Business
It is the ambition of many people to run their own business. Some may have been made redundant and find themselves with free time and financial resources. Others make the decision to start up in business to be more independent and obtain the full financial reward for their efforts. Whatever the reason, a number of dangers exist. Probably the greatest concern is the possibility of business failure. Read on for guidance on some of the factors which need to be ...
Could I Really Make a Go of it?
Many people wonder deep down if they could really make a go of running their own business. It is not for everyone but the following is a list of attributes that successful business owners have. You do not need all of these characteristics but 'go-getters' have the majority of the qualities.
Business Structures - Which Should I Use?
Having made the decision to be your own boss, it is important to decide the best legal and taxation structure for your enterprise. The most suitable structure for you will depend on your personal situation and your future plans. The decision you make will have repercussions on the way you are taxed, your exposure to creditors and other matters.
Business Plans
Every new business should have a business plan. It is the key to success. If you need finance, no bank manager will lend money without a considered plan.
Raising Finance
Every business needs finance - whether it is just starting up or looking to develop and grow. But what type of finance is best suited to the development of your business, and who should you approach for funding? We provide guidance below on types of finance available and outline the planning required before approaching any lending institution.
Sources of Finance
The financing of your business is the most fundamental aspect of its management. Get the financing right and you will have a healthy business, positive cash flows and ultimately a profitable enterprise.
Insuring Your Business
When starting a new business, you will no doubt recognise the need for insurance. It can provide compensation and peace of mind should things go wrong but can also represent a significant cost.
Credit Control
Obtaining new customers is great for business, unless they fail to pay you. If you fail to check that the customer can support the amount of credit you are granting, then commencing legal action when they do not pay can be a long, drawn out and potentially costly process.
General Business
Directors' Responsibilities
The position of director brings both rewards and responsibilities upon an individual. Whether you are appointed to the Board of the company you work for or you are involved in establishing a new business and take on the role of director you will feel a sense of achievement.
Preparing for your Accountant
Whether we are producing your accounts or carrying out your annual audit, being prepared for us will ensure our work is carried out smoothly and efficiently and with the minimum disruption to yourselves.
Company Secretarial Duties
Company legislation provides an opportunity for a business organisation to benefit from the protection of limited liability, separating the legal persona of the organisation from the individuals who own and run it.
Obtaining finance is not always easy especially if yours is a small business and particularly if it is a recent start-up. Borrowing may be difficult due to lack of security. A grant may be the answer.
Valuing Your Business
There are many reasons why you may need to calculate the value of your business. Here we consider the range of methods available as well as some of the factors to consider during the process.
Fraud and How to Spot It - Ten Step Guide
Major corporate frauds and collapses hit the headlines from time to time and many of these were high profile and the amounts involved quite spectacular.
Bribery Act 2010
The Bribery Act 2010 (the Act) applies across the UK and all businesses need to be aware of its requirements which came into effect on 1 July 2011.
Securing Business Success
As many as half of all businesses fail in their first three years of trading. A contributor to ensuring business success and avoiding failure is to know your enemies.
Register of People with Significant Control
From 6 April 2016 broadly all companies (except certain listed companies) are required to keep a register of people with significant control (PSC register) and, from 30 June 2016, file relevant information at Companies House.
Small Company Accounting
The required format of statutory accounts for small companies has changed. This factsheet considers the reporting requirements and their impact.
Micro Entity Accounting
In recent years many companies have been preparing and filing 'small company accounts' under a Financial Reporting Standard for Small Entities (FRSSE). However, for financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2016, FRSSE has been withdrawn and small companies, which qualify as 'micro-entities', have a new choice.
Criminal Finances Act 2017
The Criminal Finances Act 2017 makes companies and partnerships criminally liable for failing to prevent their employees from criminally facilitating tax evasion.
Corporate and Business Tax
IR35 Personal Service Companies
The ‘IR35’ rules are designed to prevent the avoidance of tax and national insurance contributions (NICs) through the use of personal service companies and partnerships.
Corporation Tax Self Assessment
Corporation Tax Self Assessment (CTSA) was introduced in 1999. It completed the self assessment reforms introduced for individuals some years earlier by extending the principles of self assessment to company tax returns.
Corporation Tax - Quarterly Instalment Payments
Under corporation tax self assessment large companies are required to pay their corporation tax in four quarterly instalment payments. These payments are based on the company’s estimate of its current year tax liability.
Companies - Tax Saving Opportunities
Due to the ever changing tax legislation and commercial factors affecting your company, it is advisable to carry out an annual review of your company's tax position.
The issue of whether to run your business as a company or a sole trade or partnership is an important one. In this factsheet, we summarise the potential tax savings available from operating as a company.
Franchising is a flourishing industry boasting nearly 1,000 brands in a multitude of different sectors.
The Construction Industry Scheme
The Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) sets out special rules for tax and national insurance (NI) for those working in the construction industry.
Capital Allowances
The cost of purchasing capital equipment in a business is not a tax deductible expense. However tax relief is available on certain capital expenditure in the form of capital allowances.
Business Motoring - Tax Aspects
This factsheet focuses on the current tax position of business motoring, a core consideration of many businesses. The aim is to provide a clear explanation of the tax deductions available on different types of vehicle expenditure in a variety of business scenarios.
Homeworking Costs for the Self-Employed
Whilst technology has moved on, travelling has become more and more difficult. Homeworking has become the answer for many but how have the tax rules kept up with these changes?
Research and Development
Research and development (R&D) by UK companies is being actively encouraged by Government through a range of tax incentives.
Fixed Rate Expenses
An optional system of fixed rate expenses has been introduced for some businesses. We consider the rules which take effect for 2013/14 onwards.
Cash Basis for the Self-Employed
We consider the optional rules which have been introduced for 2013/14 onwards and which allow small unincorporated businesses to calculate their profits for tax purposes on a cash basis rather than the normal accruals basis.
VAT registered businesses act as unpaid tax collectors and are required to account both promptly and accurately for all the tax revenue collected by them.
VAT Annual Accounting Scheme
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) have introduced a number of VAT schemes over the years designed to reduce the administrative burden on small businesses. One such scheme is the annual accounting scheme.
VAT - Cash Accounting
Cash accounting enables a business to account for and pay VAT on the basis of cash received and paid rather than on the basis of invoices issued and received.
VAT - Flat Rate Scheme
The flat rate scheme for small businesses was introduced to reduce the administrative burden imposed when operating VAT.
VAT - Bad Debt Relief
It is quite possible within the VAT system for a business to be in the position of having to pay over VAT to HM Revenue & Customs while not having received payment from their customer.
VAT - Seven Key Points for the Smaller Business
This factsheet focuses on VAT matters of relevance to the smaller business. A primary aim is to highlight common risk areas as a better understanding can contribute to a reduction of errors and help to minimise penalties.
Employment Issues (Tax)
Travel and Subsistence for Directors and Employees
Travelling and subsistence expenditure incurred by or on behalf of employees gives rise to many problems.
Employment Benefits
Today the remuneration of many directors and employees comprises a package of salary and benefits.
Cars for Employees
The current regime for taxing employer provided cars (commonly referred to as company cars) is intended to encourage manufacturers to produce cars which are more environmentally friendly and to give employee drivers and their employers a tax incentive to choose more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly vehicles.
National Insurance
National insurance contributions (NIC) are essentially a tax on earned income. The NIC regime divides income into different classes: Class 1 contributions are payable on earnings from employment, while the profits of the self-employed are liable to Class 2 and 4 contributions.
Share Ownership for Employees - EMI
Retaining and motivating staff are key issues for many employers. Research in the UK and USA has shown a clear link between employee share ownership and increases in productivity. The government has therefore introduced a variety of ways in which an employer can provide mechanisms for employees to obtain shares in the employer company without necessarily suffering a large tax bill.
Payroll - Basic Procedures
The basic procedures to help you set-up and run your payroll.
Employer Supported Childcare
Employer supported childcare, commonly by way of childcare voucher, is for many employers and employees a tax and national insurance efficient perk. We consider the implications of this type of benefit on the employer and employee.
Homeworking and Tax Relief for Employees
Over the last ten years technology has advanced massively. Homeworking has become the answer for many but how have the tax rules kept up with these changes?
Payroll Real Time Information
We set out significant changes to the way payroll information will need to be submitted to HMRC under Real Time Information (RTI)
Employee Expenses
This factsheet considers the operation and reporting of expenses and benefits. An exemption that may apply to the reporting of employee expenses on forms P11D as long as the necessary conditions are met.
Employment and Related Matters
National Minimum Wage
The National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) are the legal minimum wage rates that must be paid to employees.
Statutory Sick, Statutory Maternity and Statutory Paternity Pay
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) and Shared Parental Pay (ShPP) are important regulations to understand as they enforce minimum legal requirements on employers. Each operates in a different way. This factsheet sets out the main principles of the regulations and what an employer needs to consider.
Dismissal Procedures
There have been many changes to employment law and regulations in the last few years. A key area is the freedom or lack of freedom to dismiss an employee.
Recruitment Procedures - Employment Law
Most claims for discrimination in recruitment have no maximum limit. Can your business afford compensation of perhaps £20,000 because you made a simple mistake?
Recruitment Procedures - Seven Steps for Good Procedures
In order to avoid the danger of discriminating in some way, particularly unconsciously, employers must take care to develop and use recruitment procedures which will avoid the risk.
Redundancy Procedures
There have been many changes to employment law and regulations in the last few years. A key area is the freedom or lack of freedom to make an individual redundant.
Managing Absence
Recent surveys indicate that the adverse impact of absence on business profitability today is significant, with thousands of man hours lost every day. We consider the main principles of effective absence management.
Legal Working in the UK
In line with the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, it is a criminal offence to employ anyone who does not have an entitlement to work in the UK, or undertake the type of work you are offering.
Age Discrimination
The Equality Act 2010 replaces all previous equality legislation, including the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. The Equality Act covers age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity. These are now called 'protected characteristics'.
Annual Leave
Under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (as amended), workers are entitled to paid statutory annual leave of 5.6 weeks (28 days if the employee works five days a week). This basic entitlement is inclusive of bank holidays. This annual leave entitlement is now closer to that of workers in other European countries, where holiday allowance is typically more generous.
Agency Workers Regulations
Regulations which took effect from 1 October 2011 mean that workers supplied to a company, or to any other entity, by an agency will become entitled to receive pay and basic working conditions equivalent to any directly employed employees after a 12 week qualifying period.
Personal Tax
Taxation of the Family
Individuals are subject to a system of independent taxation so husbands and wives are taxed separately. This can give rise to valuable tax planning opportunities. Furthermore, the tax position of any children is important.
Charitable Giving
If you are thinking of making a gift to charity, this factsheet summarises how to make tax-effective gifts.
Child Benefit Charge
The High Income Child Benefit charge applies to a taxpayer who has income over £50,000 in a tax year where either they or their partner, if they have one, are in receipt of Child Benefit for the year.
Enterprise Investment Scheme
The purpose of the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) is to help certain types of small higher-risk unquoted trading companies to raise capital. It does so by providing income tax and CGT reliefs for investors in qualifying shares in these companies.
Venture Capital Trusts
Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) are complementary to the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), in that both are designed to encourage private individuals to invest in smaller high-risk unquoted trading companies affected by the equity gap.
Property Investment - Tax Aspects
Investment in property has been and continues to be a popular form of investment for many people. This factsheet summarises the main tax issues.
Individual Savings Accounts
Successive governments, concerned at the relatively low level of savings in the UK economy have over the years introduced various means by which individuals can save through a tax-free environment.
Property Investment - Buy to Let
In recent years, the stock market has had its ups and downs. Add to this the serious loss of public confidence in pension funds as a means of saving for the future and it is not surprising that investors have looked elsewhere.
Personal Tax - Self Assessment
Under the self assessment regime an individual is responsible for ensuring that their tax liability is calculated and any tax owing is paid on time.
Personal Tax - When is Income Tax and Capital Gains Tax Payable?
The UK income tax system requires the payer of key sources of income to deduct tax at source which removes the need for many tax payers to submit a tax return or make additional payments.
Non-Domiciled Individuals
This factsheet sets out the rules which deal with the taxation in the UK of income arising outside the UK, for non UK domiciled individuals.
Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme
A junior version of EIS known as Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) has been introduced from 6 April 2012 and is expected to be available for five years.
Statutory Residence Test
The concept of residence in the United Kingdom is fundamental to the determination of UK tax liability for any individual.
Dividends and Interest
Dividend and savings allowances are available. We consider the opportunities and pitfalls.
Tax-Free Childcare
The government has introduced a tax incentive for childcare Tax-Free Childcare.
Capital Taxes
Trusts are a long established mechanism which allow individuals to benefit from the assets whilst others (the trustees) have the legal ownership and day to day control over the assets. A trust can be extremely flexible and have an existence totally independent of the person who established it and those who benefit from it.
Capital Gains Tax
A capital gain arises when certain capital (or 'chargeable') assets are sold at a profit. The gain is the sale proceeds (net of selling costs) less the purchase price (including acquisition costs).
Inheritance Tax - A Summary
Inheritance tax (IHT) is levied on a person’s estate when they die, and certain gifts made during an individual's lifetime. We give guidance on some of the main opportunities for minimising the impact of the tax.
Stamp Duty Land Tax
Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) was introduced on 1 December 2003 and replaced Stamp Duty in respect of land transactions.
Capital Gains Tax and the Family Home
The capital gains tax (CGT) exemption for gains made on the sale of your home is one of the most valuable reliefs from which many people benefit during their lifetime.
Inheritance Tax Avoidance - Pre-Owned Assets
Inheritance tax (IHT) was introduced approximately 30 years ago and broadly charges to tax certain lifetime gifts of capital and estates on death.
Land and Buildings Transaction Tax
Land and Buildings Transaction Tax is payable by the purchaser in a land transaction which occurs in Scotland.
Land Transaction Tax
Reviewing the Land Transaction Tax applicable to land transactions occurring in Wales.
Occupational Pension Schemes: Trustees' Responsibilities
Many employers offer their staff an opportunity to save for their retirement through an occupational (or company) pension scheme. We outline in this factsheet the main responsibilities of occupational pension scheme trustees.
Pensions - Automatic Enrolment
To encourage more people to save in pension schemes, the government has placed greater responsibility on employers to provide access to pension provision.
Pensions - Tax Reliefs
We set out the tax reliefs available to members of a Personal Pension scheme.
Pensions - Tax Treatment on Death
Details of how pension funds are treated for tax on death.
Internet and Email Access Policy
In order to protect the firm, its employees, and customers and suppliers, all members of staff should be given a copy of the firms policy regarding acceptable use of IT resources - particularly internet and e-mail access. This will form part of the contract of employment - to the extent that any breaches of the policy could result in disciplinary action, and in some cases dismissal.
Data Security - Access
Many businesses are now completely reliant on the data stored on their Network Servers, PCs, laptops, and mobile devices. Here we look at some of the issues to consider when reviewing the security of your computer systems with respect to access controls, and to ensure compliance with Principle 7 of the Data Protection Act.
Data Security - Backup
Many companies are now completely reliant on the data stored on their network servers, PCs, laptops, mobile devices and in the cloud. Some of this data is likely to contain either personal information and/or confidential company information. Here we look at some of the issues to consider when reviewing the security of your computer systems and data.
Data Security - Data Loss Risk Reduction
Many companies are now completely reliant on the data stored on their network servers, PCs, laptops, and mobile devices. Some of this data is likely to contain either personal information and/or confidential company information. Here we look at some of the issues to consider when reviewing the security of your computer systems, and how to minimise the risks of data loss.
Data Security - Data Protection Act
Many businesses are totally reliant on the data stored on their PCs, laptops, networks and mobile devices. Some of this data is likely to contain either personal information and/or confidential company information. Here we look at some of the key compliance issues surrounding data protection and the Data Protection Act.
Bring your own device (BYOD)
BYOD refers to the policy by which employees can use their own personal mobile devices (such as phones, tablets, laptops) to access company networks/systems. We consider guidelines on creating a policy.
Data Security - Cloud and Outsourcing
Many companies are now completely reliant on the data stored on their network servers, PCs, laptops, mobile devices or in the cloud. Some of this data is likely to contain either personal information and/or confidential company information.
Data Security - General Data Protection Regulation
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaced the Data Protection Act and applies from 25 May 2018.
Data Security - General Data Protection Regulation - Ensuring Compliance
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) replaced the existing Data Protection Act and applies from 25 May 2018.
Making Tax Digital for Individuals
Over the coming years, the government will phase in its landmark Making Tax Digital (MTD) initiative, which will see taxpayers move to a fully digital tax system.
Making Tax Digital for VAT
This factsheet outlines some of the key issues for businesses.
Specialist Areas
Charities: Trustees' Responsibilities
It is often considered an honour to act as a trustee for a charity and an opportunity to give something back to the community. However, becoming a trustee involves a certain commitment and level of responsibility which should not be underestimated.
Money Laundering and the Proceeds of Crime
There are tough rules to crack down on money laundering and the proceeds of crime. These rules affect a wide range of people and in this factsheet we consider how your organisation may be affected.
Money Laundering - High Value Dealers
The Money Laundering Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (the Regulations) apply to a number of different businesses which include (amongst others) accountants and auditors, tax advisers and dealers in high value goods.
Limited Liability Partnerships
From 6 April 2001, there is a business vehicle in addition to companies, traditional partnerships and sole traders. It is now possible to run your business using what is known as a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP).
Community Amateur Sports Clubs
Local amateur sports clubs may wish to register with HMRC as Community Amateur Sports Clubs (CASCs) and benefit from a range of tax reliefs including Gift Aid.
Social Enterprise Entity Structures
A social enterprise entity is a business with primarily social objectives. Any surpluses made are reinvested into the main principle of that entity (or into the community) rather than maximising profit for shareholders.
Charities in Scotland: Trustees' Responsibilities
We consider the various responsibilities of being a Scottish Charity Trustee with particular emphasis on accounting and audit requirements.
Business Development
Accounts Made Easy
Information is the key to understanding the successes and failures of your business and the key to making appropriate business decisions to avoid future failures and capitalise on successes.
Getting Paid
When you keep your side of the bargain with a customer, it is only fair that they should keep theirs by paying you... and paying you on time. Sadly, as everyone in business knows, this doesn’t always happen.
How to Double the Effectiveness of Your Advertising
This message was written by the one of the UK's leading marketing Gurus, Drayton Bird. In it Drayton gives 24 ideas to double the power of your advertising. And it is a subject that he is uniquely qualified to talk about since his business, The Drayton Bird Partnership, handles direct mail and other marketing activities for clients that include Mercedes Benz, Gallaher Tobacco, Sodastream, Barclays Finance, and American Express. He is the author of "Commonsense Direct Marketing" - which is ...
Your 24 Hour Action Plan for Getting Where you Want to go
This guide sets out exactly what you need to do to start getting where you want to go in business and in life.
How to Add Value to Your Service
Becoming better value ie increasing value by cutting prices - or, more accurately, by reducing your perceived prices by more than you reduce your perceived benefits.
Winning Price Wars
When competitors cut their prices the temptation is, of course, to cut yours too. But that sort of behaviour can quickly turn into a price war. And while that might be good news for customers in the short run, unless you actually want to throw away your profits, it certainly won't be good news for you.
How to Make Yours the Most Profitable Business Card in Town
For years and years highly paid business gurus have been coming over from the USA telling us that our single most important marketing tools - our business cards - are, to put it politely, rubbish. You've probably been at one of their seminars when they ask everyone to hold up a business card… and then proceed to tell you why they are all pathetic.

And, even more annoyingly, they were probably right!
The Value of a Business & the Difference Systems can Make
Just follow the instructions to realise the true value of systems.
How to Write an Elevator Speech
Follow the key points to write a great elevator speech.
Headline Generator
How to write great headlines for your press releases and marketing material.
How to Cut Your Costs
Almost every business goes through the annual ritual of budgeting for, or forecasting, its sales and expenses over the next year. Unfortunately this ritual often misses a golden opportunity. Used properly, budgets are not only useful for monitoring performance, they can actually help to reduce costs.
How to Explode With Growth
Every business is made up of a series of processes that converts inputs into outputs. One of the keys to making your business more successful is to identify your most important processes, and then do everything you can to improve the conversion rate so that you get more output from every input. It's as simple, and as difficult, as that!
How to decide which non-core activities to outsource
Find out how to decide which core activities you should outsource
How to Get Your Bank to Say Yes!
Practical advice to help you get the money you need to run your business
How to Use Business Awards to Supercharge Your Profits
This report contains 22 tips for improving your chances of winning business awards and giving your business a powerful competitive edge.
Planning to Step Down From Your Business
Experience shows that the sooner you start planning for the day you are eventually going to step down from your business, the easier and more rewarding your departure will be. Through our work with hundreds of successful businesses we have discovered that answering these seven questions is an excellent way to kick-start the process of planning for a smooth and profitable exit.
How to Handle & Overcome Price Objections
The right ways to deal with price queries.
How to Promote Your Business for Pennies
There are many clever technical definitions of PR - but in essence it is the art of publicising your business at little or no financial cost. How? By harnessing the fact that newspapers and magazines need to fill their column inches with news as well as advertising.
Risk Assessment Calculator
How to evaluate risk in your business.
How to improve your success potential with the OWN matrix
Want to improve your success potential? Then download this document now.
How to Carry Out a SWOT Analysis
How to ask the right questions in your SWOT analysis.
The Secrets of Pricing for Profit
Economists claim that prices are set by markets. But they are wrong.

Prices are set by people running businesses. People like you. And they are among the most important decisions you will ever make. Get them right and you could be on the road to fame and fortune. But get them wrong and your business will be doomed to failure.
Unique Selling Proposition Generator
To be truly successful a business needs at least one Unique Selling Propositions ("USP"). It also needs to do everything possible to make sure that its USPs are recognised and understood by its customers.
Windows of Opportunity
Find ot what your windows of opportunity are
Compare your business against the DTI's "Winning" report
The DTI's classic study Winning found that the best UK companies share five common characteristics. Use this checklist to discover what those key success factors are, how your business compares with them and what you can do about it.
Small Business Success
The Top 10 Reasons Why Small Businesses Fail (according to Michael Gerber)