Advice for launching a fintech startup in London

If you’re looking to expand your international fintech business or start up a new venture in the London area, you are probably already aware that London is known as the world’s fintech capital. It is an attractive startup location for foreign businesses wanting to expand internationally, and the most popular destination for Asian and American companies expanding into Europe.

Goodwille specialises in assisting international businesses set up companies in the UK. Check out our advice for setting up a fintech company in the UK:

UK business climate

Despite Brexit, the UK startup scene is thriving and many businesses still look to London to launch European operations. The UK government offers comprehensive guidance for overseas businesses thinking about launching in the UK.

Setting up a UK company

Setting up a UK company is a pretty straight-forward and quick process. Company incorporation is done via Companies House, UK’s registrar of companies, which is responsible for holding information about all companies in the UK. Albeit the incorporation process in itself is simple, we recommend you seek specialist advice to make sure your company is set up with Articles of Association, minutes and other legal essentials. Goodwille’s Corporate Legal department can help with setting up a UK entity and help with ongoing compliance for your UK company.

Payroll issues

If you plan to employ workers in your company, you will also need to be registered for UK PAYE. PAYE, pay-as-you-earn, is the system used for the deduction of income tax and National Insurance contributions. The UK is in the process of making tax digital, so it is important to opt for a payroll provider that can meet all required obligations, now and in the future. Statutory pension contributions may also need to be deducted from employee salaries and your business is likely to be required to contribute towards employee pensions, too. Goodwille specialise in payroll and pension and can answer any questions about payroll or pension requirements in the UK.

Potential grants or funding

The UK offers access to a mature and streamlined business grants and funding sector. London fintech providers could well qualify for R&D tax credits or other funding awarded by Innovate UK.

Goodwille can help you launch your London fintech business. We offer legal, finance, HR, payroll and insurance advice to ensure your new company meets all UK requirements. Get in touch with us today to find out more.

3 main factors to consider when recruiting UK employees

For many UK-based businesses, taking on a new staff member can be a daunting and intricate process. With no reachable source of guidance, it will definitely feel burdensome.

Whether you are planning to launch a startup or expand your international business, employees are critical to the process. Get started on the right foot by attracting the best job seekers and avoid legal consequences due to improper recruitment practices.

Here are 3 key factors to consider when recruiting UK employees:

Know the law

UK employment laws protect both employees and employers, so it’s vital that your HR department knows and understands these laws. By keeping up to date with the legal obligations in the UK, you can easily make sure your recruitment procedure complies with the regulations. Such laws include: anti-discrimination policies, immigration laws, pre-employment checks and many more. It is also vital to know and understand the various post-employment regulations in the UK. If you don’t know the law or fail to comply, it can be detrimental and costly for your business.

Determine your employees’ pay

Always pay the correct rates. From their first day of employment, all employees have the right to be paid at least National Minimum Wage. However, their total pay will likely exceed the national wage to include pensions, travel expenses, loans and meal subsidies.

Also, paying the National Living Wage to your potential workers can help them afford a better standard of living. This is something you need to consider as it motivates employees to perform better.

How you will reach out to quality candidates

Just as vital as it is for HR to understand how job seekers are searching for roles, they must also consider the type of information they seek.

A survey conducted by Glassdoor in May 2018 revealed that online job sites are the leading job source platforms. Therefore, using top job sites facilitates the hiring process as experienced and talented candidates will be able to find and access relevant information about your company.

The study by Glassdoor also highlighted the critical pieces of information UK job seekers are looking for on a job description. These include the salary, the location of the job, and any work-life benefits.

When opening a UK office, quality should also be your top priority. To attract quality candidates, you must be able to tailor your adverts in a manner that entices job seekers and portrays your company in a positive light.

Goodwille is here to support your business with everything related to HR and employment. Check out our HR services and get in touch with us today if you need help with your UK employees!

Right to Work Checks

If you are looking to set up a company in the UK, Right to Work Checks are an essential part of taking on employees and casual workers. This post gives a brief overview of some of the main questions those entering the UK market might have about Right to Work Checks.

What is a “right to work check”?

Employers must check and ensure that any employees or workers they take on are legally allowed to work in the United Kingdom before they employ them. This is a legal requirement, and it is illegal to hire anyone, formally or informally, who is aged 16 or over and is not able to work in the UK.

What happens if an employer does not carry out Right to Work Checks?

Employers in the United Kingdom have a legal obligation to prevent people from working illegally. If it is discovered that an employer has hired an illegal worker, and there is no evidence of a Right to Work Check having been carried out, the employer may receive a civil fine of up to £20,000 for each illegal worker discovered.

Who needs a Right to Work Check?

Right to Work Checks should be carried out on all employees before they begin work. Carrying out Right to Work Checks on only certain groups of people may be in breach of discrimination laws. Employers should not make assumptions about a person’s right to work in the UK based on colour, nationality, ethnicity, accent or the amount of time they have been a legal resident in the UK.

If I know the candidate personally, do I still need to carry out a Right to Work Check?

Yes, regardless of whether you know the job candidate personally, you must still carry out a Right to Work Check before they commence work with you.

How do I carry out a Right to Work Check?

Carrying out a Right to Work Check is a three step process. Firstly, you must see the applicant’s original documents that prove they have a right to work in the UK. You must then check that these documents are in fact valid, and you must check the validity of the documents whilst the applicant is present. Finally, you must take clear copies of the documents, in a way which means they cannot be altered, to record the date the check was carried out.

If you’re looking to enter the UK market, contact the team at Goodwille today for more advice and tips.

The importance of HR Services in the UK

Your employees are your most important assets! Motivated employees that enjoy what they do and are happy at work will help move your business forward. Human Resources and People Management aims to make your employees stay motivated and happy at work, and also to deal with situations when employees are feeling the opposite. If you take your business seriously, you should also take HR seriously to make sure your employees are motivated and passionate about taking your business further.

To dig deeper into why companies should make HR their biggest priority, we have interviewed our HR Manager Jacqui Brown. In this interview she reveals what companies risk if they don’t care about HR, about the newest HR services we are adding to Goodwille’s People Management offering to support our clients’ growing work forces, and how UK HR practise differs from Nordic and the impact this might have on Nordic companies establishing in the UK.

Hi Jacqui! Tell us about your history at Goodwille and your responsibilities as HR Manager?

I’ve been working with Goodwille now for coming up to 3 years. I already had an existing history pre-Goodwille of working internationally within the HR field, however Goodwille was my first introduction to the Scandinavian working culture (which is the origin of the bulk of our clients, although we are not Nordic exclusive!) and that has been great. I run a growing team within HR at Goodwille and also interact very closely with our other departments where we are engaged in offering more than HR services to a client.

My responsibilities involve steering my team so that HR administration tasks are handled concisely within areas such as creating essential HR documentation (employment contracts, staff policies, reference checking), absence tracking etc. I will be on hand to give advice and/or handle our clients employee relations needs (including disciplinary, performance or grievance matters), terminations (including redundancies). In terms of organisational design, I can help clients map where their employee needs lie and assist with secondments to the UK if necessary. The list really is endless!

Why should companies care about HR?

HR exists to help Companies achieve their end goals.

Most people think of HR as a department who exist to ‘police’ the company and to take a regimented approach. This is not the truth of the matter. HR are there to help bring employee’s on-board initially, to incentivise new and existing employees to perform better by way of performance and reward, but also by helping the Company implement appropriate measures and tools to assist the employee in performing well. Of course, HR are also there to ensure that whatever actions that are taken are legal and safe when it comes to employee relation matters.

What can happen if companies don’t care about HR?

If your employees don’t feel incentivised (i.e. they don’t feel they are developing or they are not rewarded appropriately for their work) or they don’t feel supported, they will leave. This is costly for the business to make replacements especially if you are paying agency fees each time.

If you don’t care about HR in the sense that you might not care to get something wrong when terminating an employee or disciplining them, this could result in finding yourself facing a tribunal (or paying out for a settlement agreement to avoid one). In either case, it is costly and at tribunal this is also costly in terms of time. Be aware, since tribunal fees were scrapped for claimants, the % in claims has increased by up to 90%!

Goodwille’s HR Offering

What HR services can Goodwille assist with?

Our most popular existing services are consultation on new UK employment contracts, staff handbook and associated policies, employee benefits, holiday and sickness tracking and then the more generalist HR support which can encompass general advice to clients when they have an employee performance or conduct issue or perhaps an employee has raised a grievance against the company (or an employee within the company), disciplinary (including dismissal), redundancies, performance management etc.

We also deal with secondments (when an employee works in the UK on a temporary basis and retains their continuity of employment in the ‘home country’) and sponsorships (where we are company secretary for a client, we can help apply for the sponsorship licence and certificate of sponsorship) when needed by our clients. In both cases, we enlist the help of tax and immigration specialists to ensure we are carrying out work correctly and also allowing those qualified to give advice when it is legally required.

We have added three new services to our HR offering in 2018. Which are these services and why are we adding them to our offering now?

The new services we are adding to our HR offering are:

Performance and Reward where we consult with Companies to roll out a structured appraisal process where annual reviews and rewards given can be justified and fair

Harassment training which is essentially raising awareness with employees of what constitutes harassment

Disciplinary and Grievance handling training to help our clients be better equipped to handle these situations

These services cover support and training on issues and processes that we always have been able to offer, but perhaps our clients were not aware. However many of our clients have matured further in the UK and are now at a stage where they can think about implementing these new services to benefit their growing workforces. Regarding the harassment training, globally we feel that this is an important topic especially post the #metoo movement.

HR Services in the UK

How is UK HR practise different from Nordic HR practise?

Unless you look at certain industries (e.g. transport, construction, teaching etc.) the UK is mainly not a unionised environment. It is within reason easier to terminate employment in the UK in certain circumstances than in the Nordics. Employee benefits (statutory) in the UK tend to be more lean than in the Nordics, which always comes as a bit of a shock when we look at family policies and sickness.

What are the most common misunderstandings and underestimations when it comes to HR in the UK?

That when it comes to an employee having 2 years of service, you should already have started proceedings before you terminate an employee. This is probably one of the most common problems I face, clients approach me to tell me they have had ongoing performance or conduct issues (which have never been spoken about to the employee or addressed) and then are surprised when they need to start a process (or pay a sum of money). Also holiday accruals, that always needs to be explained a few times.

What competitive edge does it give Goodwille to offer HR services?

Goodwille have 21 years of experience of working with Nordic companies, but also we have a wealth of experience of working with Austrian, German and American clients too. We understand the culture and the commonly faced issues when it comes to legal challenges. We also offer other back office services within Goodwille, therefore if you are using our Payroll, Pension, Finance and Corporate Legal services, then it easy for us to ensure that we can serve you as an extension to your company and to give you as pain free an experience as possible.

Do you want to know more about how Jacqui and the rest of our People Management team can help you with everything relating to your UK employees? Check out our People Management offering and get in touch with Jacqui on jacqui.brown@goodwille.com if you have any questions. 

Changes to Childcare Vouchers

There will be changes to childcare vouchers from 4 October this year. The government’s decision to close the childcare voucher scheme was announced in March 2018, and following a 6-month extension of the scheme, as of now the Childcare Voucher scheme is due to close to new entrants on 4 October. This means you need to make sure to join a childcare voucher scheme on or before this date to offer your employees childcare vouchers as an attractive employee benefit.

Childcare vouchers

Childcare vouchers are an employee benefit offered by employers to help with approved childcare costs, for example a staff nursery. Employees can take up to £55 a week of their wages as childcare vouchers, which they don’t pay tax or National Insurance on. Per year, this adds up to around £1,000 that each parent can save on childcare costs. For businesses – offering childcare vouchers instead of offering to cover childcare costs for your employees can save the company up to £402 per year per parent.

Changes to childcare vouchers

On 4 October 2018, childcare voucher schemes will close to new applicants. This means that employers who want to offer their employees childcare vouchers as an employee benefit must join a childcare voucher scheme and have the relevant salary sacrifice arrangements in place before the first payday before this date. For employers paying their employees by the end of each month, it means that you have to join a scheme and make arrangement with your employees before you run your September payroll.

The changes only apply to new applicants, and will not have an effect on companies and employees already registered on a scheme. Employees of companies who join the childcare voucher scheme before 4 October can keep getting vouchers as long as they stay with the same employer and the employer continues to run the scheme, and they don’t take an unpaid career break of longer than a year.

Offering benefit schemes such as childcare vouchers is a way to attract employees, as it can cover living costs without incurring any tax for the employee. It can also save your business money, so it’s worth having a look at joining a childcare voucher scheme now before it is too late!

Goodwille can guide you through the changes to childcare vouchers and the effects this might have on you, your employees and your business. We can also help you with joining a childcare voucher scheme, and other employee benefit schemes, as well as give instructions on what YOU can do to put pressure on the government to keep the childcare voucher scheme.
Get in touch with us today if you want to know more.

How to find the best employees

If you’re planning to set up a UK company, then hiring the right employees will be an essential part of your role. However, this can be a tricky process if you’re not experienced in doing it. Here’s our guide to some of the steps you can take to find ideal employees every single time.

Make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for

Almost every company will have hard skills in their head when they want to hire someone new. They’ll know which language they want their developers experienced in, or what sort of clients they’d like their account managers to be confident handling.

This is great, but it’s worth bearing in mind what ‘extra’ skills you’d like your ideal employee to have. Do you want your copywriters to be comfortable presenting to clients? Do you want your developers to be alright handling troubleshooting phone calls? What about travelling between offices?

It’s all very well getting the hard skills in place, but the soft skills can make more of a difference than you think, so know what you want from them, too.

Don’t be afraid to build relationships with candidates

Let’s say that you’ve hired one person over another, but in an ideal world you’d have liked both of them on your team. Well, make the effort to keep in touch with the candidates you’d like to hire in future. Even if it’s just having them on your LinkedIn, it makes a difference to keep your company in their minds.

If you do this, you’ll then be able to get hold of them easily and ask them to apply for a suitable role when one comes up. Don’t let the best candidates slip through your fingers.

Focus on what people have done, not what they say

Some candidates interview well but are mostly talk rather than performance. Always ask them to demonstrate specific situations where they’ve used the skills you’re looking for.

So, if they’ve claimed to be a problem solver, ask them to talk about problems they’ve solved. If they’ve said they’re pro-active, ask them to specifically demonstrate what they’ve done off their own back to improve themselves. The more specific the examples they can give, the better. If a candidate isn’t able to give specific examples, the chances are they’re less qualified than they say.

If you’re about to open a UK office and are looking to recruit people, contact us at Goodwille for HR advice and help. We help companies with everything related to employing people in the UK – from employment contracts, to pensions, employee benefits and questions and issues regarding employment law, and we can also assist in your recruitment process. Read more about the HR services we provide on our People Management service page.

Managing HR in the UK market

HR is an important concern for new start-up businesses and existing companies. How you manage your staff will have a significant impact on the success of your business, so it’s vital you get it right.

Although English employment law offers protection to both employers and employees, it can be complicated. Due to the complexity of the law, it’s always advisable to seek expert help when you’re hiring and managing staff.

Launching in the UK

With many companies eager to open a United Kingdom office, there is high demand for professional services. If you want to set up a UK company, there are lots to consider. While you may be operating successfully in an overseas territory, your existing framework may not be completely compatible with English employment law.

In addition to this, there are cultural and practical issues which may affect the way you do business. When transporting your company to the UK, it’s vital to recognise how these differences will affect your day-to-day operations.

By working with a network of international advisers, you can ensure that your business operations flourish across multiple jurisdictions. As well as helping you to meet your legal obligations under English law, people management specialists can assist you in a variety of other areas.

Outsourcing your HR

Depending on your company’s existing structure, you may require support from a full-scale HR department. Rather than attempting to hire numerous staff, why not outsource your needs to existing HR specialists?

As well as having an in-depth knowledge of English employment law, Goodwille HR specialists have a wealth of experience when it comes to moving business operations from one country to another. In addition to providing on-going HR support, you can gain access to independent advice regarding employee benefits.

If you’re expanding your business from overseas, you may be keen to offer secondments to existing staff once your UK office is up and running. If so, our people management advisers can ensure that the appropriate contracts are in place and that your employees are fully supported during their move.

Whether you need full HR support or people management advice, we can help. Read more about Goodwille’s HR and People Management, or contact us today to find out more about starting up in the UK.

Expanding into the UK – all you need to know when starting a business in the UK

The UK is ranked one of the best locations for businesses looking to expand internationally. Starting a business in the UK can be challenging, but with the right set of tools and knowledge it’s a great place for business opportunities. The global environment, ease of doing business and strong market potential are of particular interest for overseas companies starting up in the UK.

When setting up a company in the UK, there are a number of registration requirements, regulations and obligations that need to be taken into account. This article highlights the most important things to consider when expanding your business into the UK.

Legal structures for market entry

When setting up in the UK, there are several legal structures to choose from. The company structure most suitable to you will depend on your type of business, where you are based and whether you have employees on board or not. Below are some of the most common legal structures in the UK;

  • Limited company
  • Branch office
  • Limited liability partnership (LLP)
  • Sole trader
  • Partnership

Limited company (LTD) is the most common form of business entity in the UK. A LTD company is a separate legal entity, owned by shareholders and managed by directors. The profits of a limited company are liable for UK corporation tax. Setting up an LTD company in the UK is a well-recognised structure that is quick and cost-effective to complete. With share capital starting at just £1, and with the risk contained within the subsidiary company, this is often the preferred route for international businesses expanding into Great Britain.

An international company may consider registering a branch office in the UK, rather than a LTD company. A branch office is not a separate legal entity from the head office company and full responsibility for the operations, debts and liabilities of the UK branch lie on the overseas parent company.

To find out more about the best option for you when expanding to the UK, please don’t hesitate to  get in touch with Goodwille’s Legal Department. 

Set-up and registration

A company can typically be registered with Companies House in 48 hours once all documents are completed. A UK company must register for corporation tax with HMRC, within three months of starting to trade. The paperwork for registration is not too extensive, however, certain statutory documents will be required.

Bank account

In order to make any transactions, you’ll need to open a UK bank account for your business. Opening a bank account is a time-consuming process as you will need to go through a money laundering process to ensure your company is credible for a corporate bank account. Therefore, prepare to have time and patience for this stage, it can easily take up to six months or more to complete.

Check if your bank in the company’s home country has any operations in the UK. In some cases, this might speed up the process, as it may prove some creditworthiness for the business.

Regulations

The regulatory system in the UK is open and transparent, making it easy to do business. In general, the UK aims to minimise bureaucracy and deregulate marketplaces in order to allow companies to develop and expand. However, there are strict regulations e.g. with regards to employment, industrial emissions, pollution monitoring and control, and waste disposal. Make sure you are aware of the regulations that directly or indirectly affect your business!

All businesses operating in the UK are subject to UK law, and every company registered in the UK must have a registered address in the UK. By law, all UK companies must file their annual accounts with Companies House within nine months of the end of an accounting period. Additionally, a confirmation statement must be filed with Companies House every 12 months (within 28 days of the anniversary of incorporation).

To get all the details in order and prepare for the regulatory areas, you should look for specialist advice. Contact Goodwille’s Corporate Legal Department today if you have any questions regarding regulations or your business’ obligations in the UK.

Tax

Foreign businesses looking at overseas business opportunities in the UK will find a competitive and business-friendly tax regime. Companies need to consider their exposure to UK taxation, including corporate income tax, value-added tax (VAT) and employment taxes.

Companies may become subject to UK taxation in a number of ways, such as

  • Establishing a formal taxable presence in the UK, such as a branch or Ltd company, and making a profit.
  • Registering a company for VAT in the UK. Companies must be registered for VAT if their taxable turnover for any 12 months period is £85,000 or over. The current standard VAT rate in the UK is 20%.

It’s important to remember that an international business operating in the UK do not necessarily create a taxable presence in the UK. In order to be subject to the UK corporation income taxation, an overseas business needs to be trading in the UK through a permanent establishment. To find out more information about when you may need to register an entity in the UK, please contact us.

Employment

When employing people in the UK, you need to be aware of several regulations within UK employment law. To start with, make sure your employees have the right to work in the UK (that they hold a valid UK/EU passport or work permit/visa) and a NIN (National Insurance Number) for the deduction of taxes. Also, remember to follow the guidelines for UK employment contracts and provide these within 8 weeks of starting the employment.

In addition, you need to register you employees into a PAYE scheme (Pay-As-You-Earn: social costs of employment including income tax and National Insurance) and organise relevant company insurances. Every employer in the UK must also enrol their employees into the workplace’s pension scheme within three months after the start of the employment.

In terms of the remuneration, you must ensure the employees are paid at least the National Minimum Wage in the UK. As the recruitment market in the UK is highly competitive, also make sure your remuneration package is attractive enough and fits into the scope of the role.

If you are recruiting in the UK, you may want to turn to specialists who can help you with all the employer regulations and responsibilities you need to consider in the UK. Goodwille’s Human Resource Department deals with these issues daily and are happy to help if you have any questions regarding UK employment.

To conclude

The UK market provides great opportunities for expanding your business, however starting up a business in the UK is a challenging process full of regulations. In order to get the set-up processes and ongoing compliance right, it’s good to turn to professionals who are able to provide you with advice and all the necessary help you need to get your business operations up and running correctly from the start.

If you are a foreign-owned business looking to expand into the UK, either through setting up a UK subsidiary or employing staff in the UK, Goodwille can help you to get the inside track. We have helped businesses expand into the UK for 20 years, and are experienced in Corporate Legal, Finance, HR and Payroll services in the UK. With a track record of supporting almost 2,000 businesses, we have extensive experience to help you grow your business. Get in touch with us today, if you are planning to expand to the UK or have any questions regarding the UK market.


Useful contacts for your business

When expanding your business to the UK, there are many organisations you may find useful.

Networking-wise, it’s good to get know your local chamber of commerce and see if their network is worth accessing. For example, Finnish-British Chamber of Commerce and Swedish Chamber of Commerce provide good opportunities for professional networking.

Also, when developing your strategy for the new market, Department of International Trade (DIT) provides free advisory and supports companies with their UK strategy and planning.

LAUNCH IN LONDON | Speaker introduction: Alexander Goodwille – Goodwille

London is a great place to be for tech businesses – it has access to great pool of talent, capital and investors, it boosts a large tech community and it’s perfectly located in the middle of time zones. With all these possibilities available – how can businesses and entrepreneurs utilise these to the best extent possible, and what else is needed to succeed?

On 14 June, Goodwille are hosting the event Launch in London as part of London Tech Week. The event targets startups, tech businesses and entrepreneurs with aspirations to launch in London, and will provide insights and expert advice on everything you need to succeed with your tech business in London.

One of the speakers at the event is our very own CEO Alexander Goodwille. If you read our blog on a regular basis, you might already be familiar with Alexander and what we do at Goodwille, but reading the introduction below we’re sure you’ll learn something new about Alexander, the Goodwille family business and why we are hosting Launch in London during London Tech Week!

During Launch in London, Alexander will speak about:

With over twenty years (twenty one to be exact!) experience helping companies expand in the UK, Goodwille have seen many businesses succeed, and also some businesses struggle with their UK operations. Alexander will share his best tips, and the pitfalls to avoid when starting up your business in London. He will provide common mistakes that he has seen over the years and give examples of unpleasant situations you might end up in if you haven’t done your homework!

About Goodwille and why we host Launch in London during London Tech Week 2018

Goodwille help businesses succeed with their UK operation. Founded by Swedish business woman Annika Åman-Goodwille, Goodwille take care of the administration and practical issues associated with running a business in the UK, so businesses can focus on clients and growing their business! Covering five integrated department, including Corporate Legal and Compliance, Finance, People Management and HR, Payroll, and Virtual Office and Meeting Rooms, we provide a solid foundation for you to grow your business.

At Goodwille, we think that startups and entrepreneurs should focus their efforts on value creation instead of admin and trying to learn the systems and requirements to run a UK business, and Tech is one of the most represented industries in our client-base. We want to provide startups, entrepreneurs and tech businesses with not only the administrative support they need to succeed in the UK, but also to give them valuable advice on how to interact with British clients and colleagues, how to make a name of yourself on London’s big tech scene, and also where and how to look for help to maximise your potential. We hope that Launch in London will provide just this to growing businesses, British or foreign, that wish to conquer London in 2018.

About Alexander

Alexander is the Computer Engineer that after 10 years in Investment Banking in March 2017 stepped up as CEO for the family business that his mother had founded 20 years earlier. He has a deep passion for all things tech and entrepreneurial, and he loves seeing people grow and succeed. Growing up in the UK with a Swedish mother and Scottish father and having seen the Goodwille business grow from the first client to nearly 2,000 companies helped to date, he has seen and experienced several culture clashes between cultures that are seemingly similar, but maybe more importantly – he has seen many foreign companies succeed in the UK.

LAUNCH IN LONDON – EVENTS DETAILS

Date: Thursday 14 June 2018
Time: 10am-1pm
Location: Level39, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5AB
Tickets: This event is fully booked, email hello@goodwille.com to be put on the waiting list

4 important steps for setting up a business in the UK

The UK is an exciting location for foreign businesses looking to expand internationally, as it is full of opportunities and business potential. It is however important to be aware of the many rules, obligations and regulations that come with setting up a business in a new marketplace. This article will provide you with an overview of four things to consider when setting up a new business in the UK.

Step 1 – Type of trading entity

One of the first things you must decide when starting a business in the UK is which legal business structure to choose. Below are the main routes into the UK market, and depending on the type of business and your intentions for UK market, different setups will be suitable. In finding the best route to market for your business, it is a good idea to look at the legal differences between the structures as well as any tax or other implications. You may wish to seek specialist advice on the differences between these types of entities, the up and down sides of them, and which entity that suits your business and you intentions of the UK market.

  • Limited company (private or public)
  • Branch office
  • Partnership
  • Sole trader
  • Distributor or agent

You can register your company online, but it is important to make sure you get all the bits and pieces right, and that you are aware of any reporting and filing requirements for the business. If you are unfamiliar with UK business, Companies House and statutory filings, we strongly recommend you seek professional advice and help. Goodwille’s Corporate Legal Department deal with these issues daily, and can advice and support you when setting up the business.

Step 2 – Bank account

In order to make any transactions, you will need to open a UK bank account for your business. Opening a bank account is a lengthy process as banks are required to go through long money laundering requirements to open a corporate bank account, so ensure that you allow time and patience for this. If you have a bank account for your business in your home country, check with your bank to see if they have operations in the UK which in some cases can speed up the process, as it proves some degree of creditworthiness for the business.

If the bank account opening process proves to be longer than anticipated and you need to urgently make transactions, Goodwille can provide a client account that you can temporarily use for transactions while you wait for your account to be opened. Get in touch with our Finance Department for more information.

Step 3 – VAT or not

You may also look to register your company for value-added tax, VAT in the UK. Companies must be registered for VAT if their taxable turnover for any 12 months period is £85,000 or over. The £85,000 threshold has been agreed to remain for at least two years from 1 April 2018.

The current standard VAT rate in the UK is 20%, which is the rate most businesses will charge. Some goods and services are reduced to a 5% rate and some are exempt from VAT so make sure you know which rates that applies to your business!

Step 4 – Employment

Now that the company, bank account and VAT is sorted, you need to employ people to get the money rolling and the business moving forward. When employing people in the UK for the first time, there are several things you need to bear in mind – whether you are bringing employees from your foreign company or employing in the UK.

  • One basic thing that people may take for granted but that shouldn’t be neglected is that you need to make sure that people you employ are eligible to work in the UK. Make sure they have a UK or EU passport, or that they have a work permit/visa!
  • All workers are covered by the law of the jurisdiction in which they work, meaning that your UK employees will be subject to UK employment law. This means it’s important to make sure that your employment contracts are based on and compliant with UK employment law. The contracts should cover and set out the employee’s duties, responsibilities, rights and employment conditions.
  • You need to register your employees for PAYE (Pay-As-You-Earn, social costs of employment including income tax and National Insurance that you as an employer needs to pay to HMRC) and organise with necessary company insurances.
  • Make sure you offer your employees a pay that is at least National Minimum Wage, and that you offer sufficient benefits to their responsibilities and scope of work. There are benchmarks for salary levels and benefits depending on industry, experience etc. that can be good to use as guidelines to make sure your remuneration package is attractive and reasonable and that you don’t offer “too much” or “too little”.
  • There is a requirement to enrol your employees on a workplace pension scheme. This is called auto-enrolment and as an employer, you must automatically enrol all your employees on a pension scheme three (3) months after the start of their employment. Employees must actively opt-out of the pension scheme if they don’t wish to receive a workplace pension.

We offer HR and People Management support, and can help you sort everything employee-related – from employment contracts to benefits, pension and payroll. Get in touch with our People Management Department if you have any questions.

In summary

All these things might seem straight forward when outlined here, but the truth is – it’s not always as easy as it seems. There are rules, laws and regulations you need to be aware of and make sure you follow to avoid a hefty fine, or even worse – being taken to court.

Goodwille have 20 years of experience helping foreign businesses in the UK, and can support you with everything you need to get your business started. With a track record of helping nearly 2,000 businesses in the UK, we have all the experience and resources you need to succeed with your expansion.

Get in touch with us today if you have any questions about doing business in the UK or if you want more information on the support we can provide to your business.