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Key considerations when starting a new business

Business start-ups are on the rise. According to the national enterprise campaign, StartUp Britain, an unprecedented number of new businesses were launched last year, at a record pace of 80 an hour.

Figures published by StartUp Britain revealed 342,927 new businesses registered with Companies House between January and June, compared with 608,110 for the whole of 2015.

Interestingly, Bromsgrove was responsible for the majority of start-ups outside of London, where 29 people for every 1,000 residents branched out on their own between January and June.

Whether you’re starting a new business because you’ve been made redundant or the idea of being your own boss has always appealed to you, it’s important you don’t rush into anything. Make sure you do your research and take the time to consider key factors, such as these:

1. Business structure

Yes, it’s an obvious starting point, but it’s a really crucial starting point that will determine the type of business you run. Generally speaking, there are three common types of business structures:

  • Sole trader – sole traders are the sole owner of their business. They’re entitled to keep all profits after tax has been paid, but are liable for all losses.
  • Partnership – partnerships are similar in nature to sole traders, but because they involve more than just one person, it’s advisable for written agreements to be put in place and for all partners to be made fully aware of the terms of the partnership.
  • Partnerships can also exist as Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP) in which some or all partners have limited liabilities. For instance, one partner is not responsible for another partner’s misconduct or negligence.
  • Company – the owner(s) have limited liability. They keep their business affairs totally separate from their personal affairs and have to comply with legal regulations.

2. Business plan

Business plans vary from organisation-to-organisation. Ideally, they should thoroughly describe your business and cover key areas, such as your objectives, strategies, sales, marketing and financial forecasts.

The most effective plans help business owners to not just clarify their business idea and spot potential problems on the horizon but help them understand and plan precisely how they intend to generate money and make their business sustainable.

You can speak to us for help and advice on putting a business plan together.

3. Record-keeping

Regardless of whether you’re a sole trader, partnership or company, it’s essential that you keep an up-to-date record of your business activity.

It’s entirely up to you how you choose to keep your records. You may decide to keep hard copies of all of your business affairs or you may prefer to do everything electronically, including logging your expenses. The main thing is, that come year-end, you have a clear audit trail of all of your business activities for the previous 12 months.

If your records are organised and kept all up-to-date, then it will be much easier to put your year-end accounts together for HMRC. In addition to compiling their books, companies and LLPs need to make their accounts publicly available on Companies House within certain time frames. They may also be audited by HMRC at any time too.

4. Taxation

Another key area that needs to be considered when starting a new business, is taxation, which can be broken down into the following three elements:

Tax on profits

The type of tax that’s applied and the amount that’s taxed will be dictated by the type of business being operated. Taxable profits are usually based on the profits shown in your business accounts after they’ve been adjusted to comply with the tax rules.

National Insurance (NI)

Contributions can be paid at different rates for sole traders and partnerships compared to company directors on a salary. The entitlements can also differ. For instance, within a company, it may be possible to avoid NI by paying dividends rather than salary. Your accountant will be able to advise you on the options to take, based on your company set-up.

Value Added Tax (VAT)

Not all businesses are VAT registered. In fact, knowing whether or not to register for VAT is a question that’s often posed by many business owners, particularly when they’re first starting out.

If your turnover (total sales) in the previous 12 months exceeds the compulsory registration threshold (currently £85,000), then yes – you must register. Failure to do so can result in you being fined by HMRC.

If you haven’t exceeded the threshold for compulsory registration, you can still register voluntarily if it makes sense for you to do so. Again, your accountant should be able to advise you on the best course of action based upon your individual circumstances.

Starting a new business is undoubtedly an exciting venture. However, it is important that business owners’ visions don’t get clouded by excitement and that they do focus on factors, such as those listed above, that will help ensure they have the right foundations in place.

Are you planning to start a new business and feel you could benefit from some expert guidance and advice? Contact our team of specialists on 01905 777600 or hello@ormerodrutter.co.uk.

Spring Budget 2017: how will the announcements affect you?

Following the UK’s historic vote to leave the EU, and with Prime Minister Theresa May poised to trigger Article 50, Chancellor Philip Hammond presented the Spring Budget against a backdrop of economic uncertainty. Figures from the Office for Budget Responsibility revealed that UK economic growth is now expected to reach 2% this year, before falling to 1.6% in 2018.

The Chancellor announced a range of significant measures for businesses and individuals, including a support package for firms in England affected by the business rates revaluation and the announcement that unincorporated businesses and landlords with turnover below the VAT registration threshold will have until 2019 to prepare for quarterly reporting.

Also unveiled in the 2017 Spring Budget was an increase in the main rate of Class 4 national insurance contributions (NICs) to 10% in April 2018 and a reduction in the tax-free dividend allowance, which will fall from £5,000 to £2,000 in April 2018.

Our Budget Report provides an overview of the key announcements arising from the Chancellor’s speech. However, it also looks beyond the more sensational measures and offers detail on the less-publicised changes that are most likely to have an impact upon your business and your personal finances.

Additionally, throughout the Report you will find handy tips and ideas for practical tax and financial planning, as well as an informative 2017/18 Tax Calendar.

Don’t forget, we can help to ensure that your accounts are accurate and fully compliant, as well as suggest strategies to minimise your tax liability and maximise your profitability.

Click the link to download the Spring Budget 2017 Summary.

Have a question on the Spring Budget 2017? Leave a question or comment below and we can offer you expert advice.

At Ormerod Rutter we understand that finances and tax can sometimes be confusing. We have 15 expert partners to hand that can offer expert advice on all financial matters, no matter how big or small. We pride ourselves on having big firm capabilities and family firm personality. Have a question or want to discuss your personal or business finances? Give us a call on 01905 777600.

* Please note that all information contained in this article is for informative purposes only and that we cannot be responsible for any errors or omissions.*

*Since the Budget the government has now made a U-turn and will not be increasing the National Insurance Contributions from the self-employed. This was overturned as it went against one of the main Conservative manifestoes promises of not raising taxes. 

VAT: Flat Rate Scheme Changes

HMRC has announced that, as from the 1 April 2017, all businesses using the Flat Rate Scheme or intending to use the Scheme will have to consider (in addition to the existing conditions) whether or not their VAT inclusive expenditure on goods is either:

  • less than 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover in a prescribed accounting period; or
  • greater than 2% of their VAT inclusive turnover but less than £1000 per annum, or proportion thereof (ie, £250.00 per quarter or (£83.33 per month).

If this criteria is met then the business will be regarded as a “limited cost trader” and MUST apply a fixed Flat Rate percentage of 16.5% to its’ VAT inclusive turnover.

All businesses using or considering using the Flat Rate Scheme should now review their status.

If you would like to discuss anything in this article please contact either David Pegg or Leanne Macgregor on 01905 777600

Record number of apprentices join Ormerod Rutter

We have taken on our biggest cohort of apprentices this autumn, welcoming 15 accountancy and IT apprentices aged between 16 and 20 to our offices in Droitwich Spa and Bromsgrove.

The successful apprenticeship programme was launched in 2012 in response to a skills shortage across the sector.

Accounts manager Doug Marshall, who devised the scheme, said: “I created the programme with the intention of recruiting young, ambitious individuals who would become the future of our company. In the first year, we recruited five school leavers and the number of apprentices taken on has risen year on year.

“We believe the scheme gives talented youngsters the opportunity to fulfil their potential by offering full study support, mentoring on site and a vibrant working environment.”

We were named medium apprenticeship employer of the year at the 2015 Worcestershire Apprenticeship Awards and sponsored the advanced level apprentice of the year category at this year’s event, which was won by Pippa Dressler-Pearson.

For more information about the apprenticeship scheme and to apply for a place in 2017, email hr@ormerodrutter.co.uk

The Making Tax Digital consultation has ended…

On 7 November 2016 the Making Tax Digital (MTD) consultations came to an end. First outlined in the 2015 Budget, it is a move to transform the tax system to make it the ‘most digitally-advanced tax administrations in the world by 2020.’

The controversial plan is set to raise £1bn in additional tax revenue but there is criticism about the potential costs and administrative burden for businesses and individuals.

The six consultations that have taken place are:

  1. Bringing business tax into the digital age
  2. Simplifying tax for unincorporated businesses
  3. Simplified cash basis for unincorporated property businesses
  4. Voluntary pay as you go (PAYG)
  5. The tax administration consultation
  6. Transforming the tax system through the better use of information

There is also a separate overview for small businesses, self-employed and smaller landlords.

The consultation was initially planned to begin in April 2016, but was delayed until later in the year. With the reforms set to be introduced in 2018 businesses and individuals want to know how this will affect them going forward.

What we do know is that all unincorporated businesses and landlords with a turnover of less than £10,000 a year will be exempt.

Additionally, HMRC has said that it will delay the start of MTD for ‘some other small businesses’ to give them enough time to get used to the digital record keeping and submitting of quarterly updates. HMRC then goes on to say that they expect all tax returns to be done digitally by 2020.

With feedback from the consultation due before the end of January 2017, we are actively looking at any changes that may be implemented; and are here to help you during this transition.

If you have any questions or concerns about MTD please feel free to contact us at mail@ormerodrutter.co.uk or calling the office on 01905 777600.

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