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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 it.
 
Grants
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.
 
Accounting Standards Changes
Due to the introduction of new accounting standards, commonly referred to as 'New UK GAAP', the form and content of company accounts are changing.
 
 This document is locked, you will need to be registered and logon to view it(Locked) Register of People with Significant Control
From 6 April 2016 all 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.
 
 This document is locked, you will need to be registered and logon to view it(Locked) Small Company Accounting
The required format of statutory accounts for small companies has changed. This factsheet considers the reporting requirements and their impact.
 
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.
 
Incorporation
The issue of whether to run your business as a company or a sole trade or partnership is an important decision. In this factsheet, we summarise the relevant tax changes and show the potential tax savings currently available from operating as a company.
 
Franchising
Franchising is becoming increasingly popular in Britain with an annual turnover of around £15.1 billion. The business community now takes franchising very seriously and it is accepted across a range of 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
 
VAT
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 two 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 and 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)
 
 This document is locked, you will need to be registered and logon to view it(Locked) Employee Expenses
This factsheet considers the operation and reporting of expenses and benefits. A new exemption regime for such expenses replaces the need to report these items on P11Ds as long as the necessary conditions are met.
 
Employment and Related Matters
 
National Minimum Wage
The National Minimum Wage (NMW) was introduced on 1 April 1999 and is reviewed each year by the Low Pay Commission. From April 2016 the National Living Wage (NLW) has been introduced for workers aged 25 and over.
 
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.
 
Health and Safety
It is very likely that owners and managers of many smaller businesses are not aware of just how demanding health and safety regulations can be.
 
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. Any employer who does not comply with the law may be facing a fine of up to £10,000 per offence. Further, if employers knowingly use illegal migrant labour it could carry a maximum 2 year prison sentence and/or unlimited fine.
 
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. Workers in Ireland are entitled to 29 days; the highest minimum entitlement is in Austria at 38 days.
 
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 by 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.
 
 This document is locked, you will need to be registered and logon to view it(Locked) Dividends and Interest
New dividend and savings allowances are introduced together with revised rates of taxation on dividends. We consider these changes and the opportunities and pitfalls in the new regime.
 
Capital Taxes
 
Trusts
Trusts are a long established mechanism which allows individuals to benefit from the assets without assuming the legal ownership of those assets so that others (the trustees) have 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. This factsheet sets out some of the basic things you need to know about the tax.
 
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.
 
 This document is locked, you will need to be registered and logon to view it(Locked) Land and Buildings Transaction Tax
Land and Buildings Transaction Tax is payable by the purchaser in a land transaction which occurs in Scotland.
 
Pensions
 
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.
 
ICT
 
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.
 
Accounting Package Selection
Selecting the right accounting package can be difficult, particularly as there are so many options on the market. Price and functionality vary so widely as to make objective comparisons very difficult without spending a number of days on the selection process.
 
e-commerce - a Guide to Trading Online
According to the latest UK statistics, total weekly UK online retail sales currently exceed £7bn.
 
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 (the 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.
 
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 Regulations 2007 (the Regulations), apply to a number of different businesses, which include the regulated sector. These regulations contain the detailed procedural requirements for these regulated sectors. The regulated sector includes (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
Since April 2002, many local amateur sports clubs have been able to register with the Revenue 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.
 
 This document is locked, you will need to be registered and logon to view it(Locked) Charities in Scotland: Trustees’ Responsibilities
We consider the various responsibilities of being a Scottish Charity Trustee with particular emphasis on accounting and audit requirements.