What is a virtual office?

A virtual office provides all the benefits of having a physical space without the need to actually purchase one. It allows you and your employees to work remotely while accessing certain business functions on the web or through a virtual office service. It also enables you to build a presence in any location in which you desire to do business, so it’s a great option when you are just starting up in a new market and don’t want to make too much investment before you know if you will be successful in that market or not.

But virtual offices are not only good for business just starting up in new markets. There are many great services to take advantage of when you open a virtual office regardless of the type and size of your business. Here are a few examples:

A postal address

You might be working remotely or outside of the location that you’re providing services to, but you can still have a registered business address for that location. This is highly beneficial as it enables clients and potential clients to put more trust in your business.

Telephone answering

You can have a kind of virtual assistant or receptionist to answer incoming calls to your business, before forwarding them to you. Not only does this make your business seem more professional, it also provides you with a helping hand. The person answering your calls can take messages and help you stay organised in the same way a real-life receptionist would. This also means that instead of having all business calls going to your mobile or personal dial, you have a gate-keeper sorting out sales calls so you only need to take the important and relevant phone calls. You are also left without the distraction of always having to watch your phone to not miss any calls for the business.

Meeting rooms & hot-desking

You may not be ready to make the commitment of having a full-time office space. Nevertheless, you will probably need a physical space from time to time if you’re running a business. Remote colleagues may need to meet and collaborate or you may need to hold meetings with clients. Virtual office services can provide you with such a space as and when necessary. In places like London, rents can be high even for the smallest office space and contracts are often signed for a longer period of time, why a virtual office is often a good solution when you want to test out a new market or if you’re not yet ready to make the commitment and investment.

What kind of businesses use a virtual office?

Both small and large businesses can benefit from a virtual office. Small to medium-sized businesses may be eager to expand within their own country or internationally but may not have the capital to do so. That’s when a virtual office becomes an affordable solution.

Larger businesses may wish to use a virtual office for a different reason. A virtual office allows a large business to test out a location before making a commitment or investing. They may even wish to test two or more locations simultaneously using virtual offices to see which is most successful.

For expert guidance on virtual offices and how to get started in the UK using Goodwille’s Virtual Office services, check out our Virtual Office page or get in touch with us today.

How a telephone answering service could benefit your business this summer

In order for a new small business in the United Kingdom to remain profitable, it’s important that customers receive good service all year round, including during the school summer holiday period. Sometimes, co-ordinating your own summer break with that of your employees and maintaining good customer service at the same time can be challenging.

However, a good telephone answering service could be the answer to your dilemma. Here are a few of the benefits of a telephone answering service that your business could enjoy this summer.

Lower overheads

Although big corporations may have the luxury of in-house customer service staff to pick up the slack when it comes to holiday cover, smaller companies often rely on paying their employees overtime or employing temps in order to cover staff shortages.

However, a competitively priced live answering service could help you to cut the cost of paying for temps or forking out on overtime.

Customer satisfaction

One of the main complaints of customers is unanswered phone calls. Unanswered phone calls lead to frustration, client dissatisfaction and negative feedback or reviews that can quickly ruin your company’s reputation.

A good telephone answering service will be able to respond to customer enquiries 24/7, giving you peace of mind whilst you enjoy your summer break.

Company image

A telephone answering service will provide a tailored response based on your own scripts. Callers, therefore, receive the impression that their calls are being handled by an in-house employee, making your business appear larger and thus boosting your business’ credibility.

Happy holidays

Managing a small business is often stressful, and it’s important that you take time out to enjoy some downtime with your family during the summer school break. A telephone answering service means that you won’t have your break constantly interrupted by your company mobile phone.

You can keep your company growing, ensure your customers’ satisfaction and give your staff the relaxing summer break they deserve by hiring telephone answering service. To find out more about how a live telephone answering service could benefit your business this summer, contact us at Goodwille today.

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.

3 essential business elements you should consider outsourcing

When you’re running your own business the learning curve is astonishingly steep, the outlays immense, and your To-Do list endless. It can be overwhelming, intimidating, and incredibly stressful. It can also be extremely rewarding, fulfilling, and lucrative. The trick to getting it right is knowing how best to spend your time and resources. You must balance the requirements of your budget against the practical and logistical needs of your business. It’s tough making those calls, and a rookie mistake that almost all business owners make is believing they can save money by doing as much as possible themselves.

The reality, however, is that there is a finite amount of time you can spend working. Even if you work every waking hour of the day, you will hit a point where you just can’t do any more. Outsourcing is the solution to this, but it’s often a tough bullet to bite.

Many entrepreneurs cringe at the idea of paying someone to do things they could do themselves, but here’s the truth: a professional can do it far better than you can, in far less time, and the amount you will pay them to do a brilliant job is less than the amount you will earn by dedicating that time to what you really do best.

Here are three essential business elements that you should consider outsourcing.

#1 Bookkeeping

Getting your accounts and bookkeeping right is absolutely vital. It’s also very tricky, time-consuming, and stressful. Why not hand it all over to an expert who will ensure your books are in perfect order, and you always know exactly where you stand financially?

#2 Virtual Office

When there are so many things on your To-Do list and you are juggling a multitude of tasks and responsibilities, the telephone can easily become the bane of your existence. It’s constantly ringing, interrupting your train of thought, distracting you from vital tasks, and tying you up in lengthy conversations that you really needed to put off for a few days. You dream of a receptionist, but it’s not in your budget, and you don’t have space for another desk, anyway.

A virtual office is a solution. Not only will all your phone calls be taken care of by a professional, freeing you up to do more important things than answering the phone, but you will be armed with the knowledge of exactly who called, when, and why. This eliminates the possibility of missing phone calls and forgetting to call people back. It also enables you to dodge calls you’re not ready for, and deal with all those conversations in your own time. A virtual office also has the major benefit of providing you with a trading address, which is particularly handy if you work from home and don’t want to give your home address out to everyone and his wife!

#3 Tax Returns

Self-assessment is one of the most stressful elements of running any business. It’s a migraine-inducing nightmare, and if you get it wrong, or don’t get it done on time, it can also be very costly financially. Outsourcing your VAT work guarantees everything is handled in a professional, timely fashion, and there are no expensive mistakes!

If you’re considering outsourcing for your business, contact Goodwille today. We can provide more information about our essential business services and discuss how outsourcing will benefit you directly.

The benefits of using a Virtual Office when doing business in the UK

When you’re doing business in the UK, you may not need the overheads and costs of a bricks and mortar office in London. In fact, using a virtual service to open a UK office makes sense on a number of levels.

Professionalism and courtesy across the language barrier

The advantages of having a professional and courteous telephone answering service in the UK are obvious when you start to do business here. You’ll benefit from virtual employees who understand the business courtesies of a different business culture without having permanent employee overheads.

Professional business premises for good first impressions

If you use Goodwille’s meeting room service you’ll experience all the benefits of fully equipped business premises as part of your virtual office package. Creating a good first impression can be vital when you first start to do business in the UK, and our premises, plus our friendly and professional staff, will help to create that impression for you.

A registered office address

You may of course be considering suitable permanent premises where you can open a UK office, but using a virtual office service in the interim is smart and cost effective. By using our registered office address, your company will be compliant with legal requirements for trading in the UK.

A virtual office is infinitely scalable

Although you may be considering opening a bricks and mortar office in London or elsewhere in the UK, if you’re expecting significant growth then you’ll need to invest in premises that are scalable. Running a virtual office presents you with the option to remain infinitely scalable, without spiralling overheads.

At Goodwille, we’ve already helped over 1,500 companies expand into the UK thanks to the quality of the support we offer. If you’re interested in establishing a UK presence and are interested in virtual office and meeting rooms or our range of business support services, contact us today.

How a virtual office can help you establish your business in the UK

At Goodwille, we understand that you want the transition of setting up your business in the UK to be as smooth as possible. Whether you are moving your entire operation here or just establishing a UK branch or office, you, of course, need to take the time to do things properly. Making use of a virtual office can be a fantastic way to ease through the process. Some people never go back!

Here are some of the top benefits:

Take your time

You don’t want to rush into decisions when it comes to finding the right location and property for your business offices. You don’t want your business to suffer while you’re scoping out the best location for your business, which is where making use of a virtual office can save the day. Your business can have an official (and prestigious) UK address and phone number so you can receive mail and have your calls answered. You can even use centrally located meeting rooms when needed. With these bases covered, it doesn’t matter that the rest of your operations may be taking place at home for the time being. Your business keeps running smoothly while you take the time to find your perfect location.

Keep costs down

Renting or purchasing business properties is highly costly. If your business needs premises, then you don’t want to be forking out on property that’s not right. Or perhaps you’d rather not have those overheads at all, but need a professional base now and then. The costs of paying for a virtual office service is far cheaper than paying a full-time rent.

Present a professional image

It can be a time of intense upheaval when you move your business to a new country. There’s a lot to do and a lot to learn. However, your clients don’t need to know what’s happening behind the scenes. Opting for a virtual office presents your business as the professional operation it is, even if things are slightly chaotic in reality.

Goodwille has fantastic virtual office packages in Warwick and London, get in touch to find out more.

How a virtual office can save you time and money

If you’re a small or medium-sized business, you need to maximise your resources. And the chances are your main resources are time and money! A virtual office can help save you both. Here’s how.

You’ll pay less in rent

We’re sure you already know just how expensive modern office real estate can be. If you operate in a major city like London, it can be a huge drain on your resources. A virtual office in London can allow you to work either without an office at all  or to work from a much smaller space. Either way, you’ll save money. This is even more relevant if you’re an international business. Why pay more for a property you aren’t even going to use?

You’ll pay less in bills

Any and all office spaces end up costing more than just the rent. If you rent a permanent office, you’ll also have to pay for electricity, internet, cleaning, business tax and so on. A virtual office will allow you to bypass all of these costs, while still maintaining a presence in whichever area of the country you choose.

No maintenance required

It’ll also save you any form of general maintenance, which can be a real burden if you’re overseas. Leasing a physical office means you’ll have a duty – as part of the lease – to keep it in great condition. This won’t be easy if you’re routinely away from the office itself! You’ll have to deal with the hassle of hiring a property manager, and then managing them to ensure they’re doing a good job, and so on. A virtual office will save you the bother.

The work-from-home option

In today’s modern, fast-paced world, many businesses have employees that work full-time from their home. This is a flexible option that also means happy employees, so it’s not hard to see what makes it popular (it’ll also save you money on little things like tea and coffee, as well as office equipment). A virtual office will allow you to do this, but will still allow you to have a proper address.

Get in touch

If you’re looking to set up or expand a business in the UK, contact Goodwille today. We’ve helped nearly 2,000 companies thrive and can support you with everything you need to run a UK office.