A tale of three cities: setting up outside London

London is the UK’s natural magnet for new business, attracting more than 800 foreign direct investment projects every year – more than 3 times any other region. But with sky-high rents and inflated wages threatening to diminish the capital’s appeal as a destination, we look at three alternative options that deliver more bang per buck.

Bristol

Located on England’s south-west coast, Bristol had long been Britain’s second wealthiest city as one of England’s largest trading ports. In recent decades, the 8th largest city in the UK has swapped tea for terrabytes, being recognised as the UK’s most advanced ‘smart city’, a leader in providing 5G connectivity and utilising big data to improve public services . It is now a powerhouse in the creative industries and also boasts a large aerospace sector. The city was named the Sunday Times best in which to live in both 2014 and 2017, and it was named winner of the Green Capital Award by the EU in 2015.

Cambridge

Home of the world famous University, Cambridge has a bookish reputation and old-world charm, but behind the academic image is a serious business hotspot to rival technology hubs in the US. ‘Silicon Fen’, as the area has become known, is home to some of Europe’s most exciting technology startups and established companies like ARM Holdings and Dante – turning over more than £35bn between them all. Fuelled by some of the world’s top graduates, excellent links to London, and collaboration between businesses and the University, companies in Fen have seen an annual growth regularly top 7.5%.

Edinburgh

Scotland’s capital is world famous as a cultural hub, home to some of the most famous comedy, music and drama festivals, but since the 1980s it has also developed a strong tech sector. As one point of the Scottish ‘tech triangle’ along with Dundee and Glasgow, the city is home to a number of high-tech companies in sectors from semi-conductors to video games. As an added bonus, Edinburgh has the cheapest office space of any major UK city, an eighth the price of London – clocking in at just £66.1 per square foot .


If you need any help with your expansion plans in the UK, or you want to open a UK office, talk to Goodwille today.

Does discrimination employment law apply to recruitment in the UK?

If you are considering setting up a UK company, you might have some questions about UK law and recruitment. Whilst you might have some grasp of your legal obligations after you have taken on employees, it can be difficult to navigate what is required before the employment relationship is established. This post looks at some things recruiters should consider when setting up a UK company.

What is considered discrimination in recruitment? 

If you set up a company in the UK, your business has a responsibility to make sure that no unlawful discrimination takes place during the recruitment process. Unlawful discrimination means negative treatment of a candidate on the grounds of disability, age, gender reassignment, maternity and/or pregnancy, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief and sex or sexual orientation.

Can I refuse to give an interview on the grounds of a protected characteristic? 

No. Although the candidate may have simply given a CV or contacted you about the job, it is unlawful not to consider them for the job simply on the grounds of one of the protected characteristics listed above. You may, of course, refuse candidates with a protected characteristics if they are not suitable for the job, for example, if they do not have the qualifications or skills required.

Can I ask questions about a protected characteristic in an interview? 

Generally, you may not ask about protected characteristics in an interview. For example, you may not ask whether a candidate is married, has children or whether they plan to have children. You may, however, ask about a health condition or disability where there are job requirements that cannot be met by the candidate unless you make reasonable adjustment to the workplace or working practices, you are taking positive steps to recruit someone with a disability, or where you need to find out if the candidate needs assistance to attend another stage of the selection process.

What can I do if I am unsure? 

Goodwille has assisted hundreds of companies all over the world in understanding the law and recruitment practices of the countries we operate in. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

Tel Aviv’s startup scene is booming

If you were to ask pretty much any entrepreneur for a list of the best startup cities in the world, you can be pretty confident that list will not only feature Silicon Valley, Stockholm and London, but also Tel Aviv. So why is it that the Israeli city has become a viable destination for companies looking to join the startup revolution?

The best aspects of operating in Tel Aviv

With its growing tech scene and reputation, Tel Aviv has become a bit of a success story. That’s partly down to the fact it has a strong startup ecosystem. Companies and individuals can benefit from easy access to plenty of angel investors as well as capital firms and mentors, and there’s no shortage of talent. In particular, the tech scene has benefited from the large number of highly skilled tech-based individuals within Tel Aviv. Employees tend to know what to do, and don’t require micro-management, which is key for allowing business leaders to focus on growing their company.

The business culture

The business culture in Tel Aviv is one that has become known for its focused and high energy approach, but that doesn’t mean the city fails to embrace fun. In Tel Aviv, the tech scene is looked upon with respect and young people in particular look up to the leaders within it. An important aspect of the business culture in Tel Aviv is that most people are interlinked, meaning it feels that everyone is almost a second-degree friend, or perhaps a colleague of someone you know. Due to the fact Israel is a small country, and most people serve in the army before going to university, the social and professional networks are very much interwoven.

For those looking at Tel Aviv as a possible destination for their own technology startup or expansion, you should be aware that there isn’t really much of a focus on politeness. Instead, people work to overcome a challenge and get tasks done quickly and professionally. Whilst some people find this off-putting, after a while of working within Tel Aviv, many people start to realise the benefits of doing business the Israeli way.

If you need any help with your company expansion plans, whether you want to open a UK office or look somewhere further afield, our extensive support services can help. Talk to Goodwille today about your business plans to get that expansion started.

Your tax obligations when hiring UK employees

The UK tax system works very differently from some other countries. Most UK workers have very little direct interaction with the tax system, instead their employer deducts their taxes from their wages before they even arrive in their bank account. This shifts a great amount of responsibility onto the employer and if you’re not familiar with the regulations it can be easy to slip up. Here are a few of the major things that you should keep in mind when you’re hiring UK employees on pay as you earn (PAYE) tax arrangements.

Income tax and National Insurance

Despite the different names, National Insurance broadly functions as a second form of income tax. It is deducted from all employees who earn over £113 a week (known as the lower earnings limit). These limits are generally raised slightly every year to keep up with growing wages.

Income tax works in a similar way, although there are multiple bands of tax. Very high earners will end up paying 45% tax on all of their income over £150,000. They will also lose the personal allowance that reduces the amount of tax paid by low and medium earners. The system is generally complex and it’s important to get advice from a qualified professional before you start up. HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) is not known for being forgiving in situations where people have made mistakes.

Other deductions

The other main deduction that you will have to take into account is student loans. If your employees have taken on student finance, then you’re obliged to pay 9% of their salary over a certain threshold to the Student Loans Company. Again, this is a legal obligation and a mistake could cause serious problems for you and your employee.

You’re also required to pay a certain amount of your employee’s wages into a pension scheme and also make your own employer’s contribution. The amount that both you and your employee have to contribute is scheduled to go up over the coming years.

It’s well worth making sure that you’re across your obligations before starting up in the UK. A little time taken can save enormous problems at a later date. Goodwille are experts on the legal and financial obligations when setting up in the UK, and we are here to help your through the maze. Contact one of our team members for advice.

Britain Will Always Be Open For Business

On the 23 June 2016 over thirty million people turned out to have their say on whether the UK’s future remained in the European Union.

When 51.9% voted to leave the EU it caused the pound to crash globally and left half a nation enraged with talks of betrayal – 18 months on, we are still waiting for a change. We met up with Goodwille, a patron of the Swedish Chamber of Commerce, who have been helping businesses from Sweden expand their operations to the UK for the past 20 years to find out exactly how Brexit has impacted their business and Swedish businesses decision to enter the UK since the referendum.

Have you seen a slow down in Swedish businesses entering the UK?

Brexit seems to be raising a lot of questions, but not influencing company’s decision to enter the UK market. The Swede’s are naturally risk averse, so at some point during client meetings we usually have to say, “Don’t mention the B word”, but they are usually just looking for reassurance. It seems to have become a conversation starter rather than a major factor in deciding whether they enter the UK. Despite all the uncertainty caused by Brexit to date it has had little impact on us here at Goodwille. Britain remains one of Europe’s most attractive markets for foreign investment and 2016 was our strongest financial year to date.

In my opinion most businesses who are serious about the UK realise the opportunity outweighs the current risk and the high-profile retail chains, along with the smaller start-ups we helped enter the UK from Northern Europe last year reconfirms this. Let’s not forget, the UK is still one of the fastest growing economies in Europe.

How would a hard Brexit impact Goodwille & businesses in the UK?

In 2016 the EU countries accounted for 48% of good exports and 53% of imports to the UK. With this in mind it is going to be in everyone’s best interest to keep the strong European trade links, so I just can’t see a hard Brexit happening by any stretch of the imagination. The UK has been a stepping stone in to North America for countless European businesses. The UK has a population three times that of Scandinavia, a pool of talent and is the tech capital of Europe.

Britain has always had big global trading ambitions. Brexit should see the best of this, making the UK a very enticing place to grow your business.

What would you say to those working in the UK from the EU?

There are over 2 million Europeans working in the UK at present and over a million British expats living across Europe. Brexit is a political issue, and there is surely no wish to eject such a large number of hardworking Europeans. Keep an eye on the embassy website for the official information and do not believe everything you read in the press.

What advice would you give to any Swedish business looking to the UK?

The UK is still a great market to do business in. Yes the rules may change over the next few years with Brexit, but Goodwille is a business with over 450 companies, many of which are facing the same problem. As such Goodwille is uniquely positioned to solve problems related to any changes that might occur and help our clients swiftly and efficiently. Ensuring the client can minimise the effects of any downside.

Goodwille have been helping foreign owned businesses enter the UK market for the past 20 years. To find out more about how Goodwille can help you in the UK, contact me on alexander.goodwille@goodwille.com

We’re recruiting – HR Advisor

Goodwille is a forward-thinking, ambitious company dedicated to providing foreign businesses with the kind of professional services required to establish themselves and flourish in the UK. These include Corporate Legal, Finance, People Management, Payroll & Virtual Offices.

We are looking for a HR Advisor to provide our extensive international client base with a full spectrum of high quality and compliant UK employment law. Within your role you will be responsible for:

  • Delivering HR advice to clients directly and through colleagues
  • Acting as the HR advisor to some of Europe’s most exciting start-ups
  • Drafting & reviewing HR documentation and agreements
  • Covering HR issues including employee relations, organisation design, policies, procedures, implementation of contracts, benefits, benchmarking, recruitment & training solutions.
  • Ensuring quality standards & SLA’s are met
  • Supporting departments with adhoc requests

The applicant should be experienced working as part of a HR department, either as part of an inhouse team or outsourced advisor. This is an exciting opportunity to be part of, and involved in developing and expanding the offering of Goodwilles newest department.

Reporting to the HR Manager you will be expected to confidently provide HR advice independently, whilst covering for the HR Manager as required. Although an international language is not mandatory, being able to speak a Nordic language would be beneficial. In joining us, you will become part of a close-knit and growing HR team, and part of a modern, forward-thinking and inclusive organisation, capable of offering a stimulating environment for you to work in.

This is your chance to join #teamgoodwille – check us out on Instagram. When you join Goodwille you get access to a whole range of employee benefits, all designed to ensure an enjoyable work/life balance. Some benefits for all employees include:

  • Office fruit every week
  • Employee perks, rewards & benefits including discounts on supermarkets (Sainsburys, Tesco etc) high street stores (Topshop, John Lewis etc) & gyms.
  • Complimentary phone insurance, as we know how important it is to stay connected
  • Access to the well-being & lifestyle platform, including eating advice, exercise routines and yoga videos
  • Generous social budget, for team lunches, parties or for you to hang out with colleagues.
  • Yoga (London only by colleague

Job type: Permanent, full time
Location: Kensington, West London
Salary: Depending on experience/skill set

If you like the sound of this vacancy and all the features and benefits you get by being part of a team like Goodwille, then please contact jacqui.brown@goodwille.com
www.goodwille.com

Things to to consider when recruiting UK employees

Things to to consider when recruiting UK employees

The UK labour market has an international reputation for being flexible and employer-friendly, particularly in comparison with its European peers. However, there are a number of laws, customs and idiosyncrasies that it’s important to be aware of if you’re setting up in the country for the very first time. In this guide, we’ve outlined a few things that you should be aware of when you’re recruiting in the UK.

Meeting tax obligations for your employees

Unlike some other countries, most UK employees don’t have much responsibility for their own tax affairs. Instead, their employer deducts tax and some other items from their salary before it is paid for them. This will require you as their employer to work with HMRC to ensure that the correct amounts are paid and that you remit these sums to them on a regular basis. You’ll then have to give your employees a P60 form, which is an annual summary of the amount of tax that you have paid on their behalf.

Tax can be a complex business in the UK. VAT obligations vary significantly depending on your sector and the particular arrangement you have with HMRC. If you aren’t confident, it’s well worth getting an expert to look at your setup to make sure that you don’t get caught out.

Minimum wage legislation

The UK minimum wage is split into a number of bands depending on whether an employee is an apprentice and how old they are. That means that the wage ranges from £3.50 an hour for an apprentice to £7.50 an hour for an employee aged 25 or over (known as the National Living Wage). The government has begun naming and shaming companies who do not comply with minimum wage legislation, so it’s vital that you get this right. Make sure you’re aware of what counts towards hours worked. You may be required to pay employees when they’re travelling between assignments for instance.

As with any country, the UK has a number of rules and customs that make it different from other markets. Trying to apply a model that’s worked elsewhere to your UK operations could easily get you into trouble. Before you recruit your first UK employee, please ensure that you’re up to speed with your obligations, and get in touch with Goodwille today for further guidance.

Do you need insurance for your UK office opening social event?

Do you need insurance for your UK office opening social event?

Many small UK businesses host informal parties for their staff and clients during the festive season and to celebrate special promotions and events during the year. However, did you know that your new business premises in the United Kingdom may not be covered for such events under your existing business insurance?

Your liability if you serve alcohol to your visitors or employees

If you decide to serve alcohol in your office, you could be held liable for any booze-related incidents. In fact, in the UK you could find yourself on the wrong end of a law suit if any of the following incidents are deemed to have occurred because those involved had consumed alcohol at your party:

• damage to property
• bodily harm
• sexual assault or harassment
• underage alcohol consumption
• drink-driving related accidents

How can alcohol liability insurance protect your business?

Even if the extent of your alcohol serving merely entails a bottle of mulled wine and a few beers in the office after work on Christmas Eve, you must have a Liquor Liability Insurance policy in place.

Your policy will cover any claims made by guests who were injured or who had items of property damaged by other attendees who were intoxicated. This cover also includes legal fees and covers any damages that may be sought and awarded. Although your standard business insurance policy won’t cover alcohol-related incidents, you can generally have it updated to include Liquor Liability Insurance as an additional endorsement.

Another method of getting Liquor Liability cover is to take out a stand-alone special event insurance policy. This may work out slightly more expensive than an endorsement to your existing UK business insurance policy, so have a chat with a good financial adviser to explore both options so that you secure the best deal for your circumstances.

It’s worth noting that, even if you only serve someone one drink at your office bash, you could still be liable for incidents that occur if they go on to paint the town red subsequently. Liquor Liability Insurance will cover you for such eventualities.

In conclusion

If you’re planning on serving your staff or clients with alcohol at an informal social event on your new UK business premises, you must consider taking out Liquor Liability Insurance cover. The extra premium will be a small price to pay for your peace of mind.

For more advice on local law when setting up a UK office, contact the team at Goodwille.

4 top tips for international expansion

Taking your business to international markets is a natural and ambitious growth goal. When done correctly it can increase your reach, expand your brand and boost your revenues dramatically. When done incorrectly, it can cause huge setbacks and costs.

Here are four questions to ask yourself to make sure your expansion is a success:

1. Is there a market?

It seems like an obvious question, but be sure you’re basing the answer on evidence, not assumptions. In the 1970s, United Kingdom-based tile manufacturer Redland tried to expand their concrete tile business to international markets. Unfortunately for them, concrete tiles were not very popular in the US and Japan, so their attempts there failed. Do your homework carefully, and ensure there is a market for your product.

2. Do you have the right people?

Make sure you have a management team with the skills and experience to manage business in the target company, and, crucially, to integrate operations between your two branches. You don’t need to set up an office abroad with full-time staff straight away. Some physical presence will be required, certainly, but you can use remote working and outsource to contractors until you get off the ground.

3. Is the required infrastructure present?

Even behemoths like Netflix can slip up when going international. Stock prices of the streaming giant fell when they went global in 2016, and one major problem was infrastructure. The payment processing and broadband technology wasn’t as developed or as well rolled out in some countries, and it cost them. What infrastructure do you need? Is it present? This is key, especially if you’re a technology start up.

4. Do you have the local knowledge?

When US delivery services DHL and Airborne moved to Germany, their American entrepreneurial spirit clashed with the previously state-owned Deutsche Post. You need people that know not only the country, but your specific market within in. By expanding into a new country you’re also entering a lesser-known legal jungle. It would be unwise to do so without a guide. So, get a good lawyer on your legal team who knows the country and the market.

Goodwille helps businesses with their international expansion every day, and we have a diverse client range in countries worldwide, which gives us a vast amount of experience and knowledge that we can bring to the table when helping you. Talk to us before you start your international expansion get the inside track and avoid the pitfalls.

We’re recruiting – Office Assistant

Goodwille is a forward-thinking, ambitious company dedicated to providing foreign businesses with the kind of professional services required to establish themselves and flourish in the UK. These include Corporate Legal, Finance, People Management, Payroll & Virtual Offices.

We are looking for an Office Assistant who thrives on providing great customer service to join our Front of House team. Within your role you will be responsible for:

  • Meeting & Greeting visitors
  • Post handling & telephone answering
  • Meeting room bookings
  • Supporting a busy reception area
  • Support clients with administrative tasks
  • Working with onboarding new clients
  • Liaising with suppliers
  • Order Handling & Sales Processing
  • Supporting departments with adhoc requests

The applicant should be computer literate, have an strong understanding of the Microsoft Office suite (Outlook, Word & Excel) and experience working within an administration/reception role. You should be passionate about providing great customer service and be able to confidently work independently to ensure the smooth running of the reception area. In joining us, you will become part of a modern, forward-thinking and inclusive organisation, capable of offering a stimulating environment for you to work in.

This is your chance to join #teamgoodwille – check us out on Instagram. When you join Goodwille you get access to a whole range of employee benefits, all designed to ensure an enjoyable work/life balance. Some benefits for all employees include:

• Office fruit every week
• Employee perks, rewards & benefits including discounts on supermarkets (Sainsburys, Tesco etc) high street stores (Topshop, John Lewis etc) & gyms.
• Complimentary phone insurance, as we know how important it is to stay connected
• Access to the well-being & lifestyle platform, including eating advice, exercise routines and yoga videos
• Generous social budget, for team lunches, parties or for you to hang out with colleagues.
• Yoga (London only by colleague)

Job type: Permanent, full time
Location: Warwick
Salary: Depending on experience/skill set

If you like the sound of this vacancy and all the features and benefits you get by being part of a team like Goodwille, then please contact edith.ewald@goodwille.com
www.goodwille.com