For over 15 years now, An Accounting Gem has worked with local entrepreneurs taking the first steps of their journey into self-employment and running a company. Opening a business is hard, particularly if you’ve never done it before, and the services we offer to clients are designed to help them transition to their new lives and their new professional responsibilities as quickly and with as little friction as possible.
In this article, we share with you the journey we go through with our clients from when they first approach us with their idea right up until 6 months or more after launch. We cover:
- preparing your business plan
- setting up your company
- finding a bank account and funding if you require it
- starting as you mean to go on – proper recordkeeping post-launch
Preparing a business plan – is your idea viable?
Business plans are long and detailed documents describing every aspect of your business including what you sell, who you intend to sell it to, the competition you face, how you find and convert customers, and more.
A business plan may be as short as 20 pages or as long as 60 pages. When we start working with a client, we have no target length in mind – our only target is that it should be as long and as detailed as it needs to be so that you’re sure of the viability of your business from every angle.
We want you to be as prepared as possible for the journey so that you understand every aspect of what you’re likely to be doing on a daily basis. This is first to find out if you think it’s possible and second is this the type of life you want for a year or two before you can start handing responsibilities to the members of staff you’ll recruit.
Making mistakes in the first year or two of a new company is inevitable but the purpose of your business plan is to try to minimise the number of mistakes and the severity of those mistakes while your company is becoming established.
A business plan is an action plan which not only informs you of your progress on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly level but which also contains a blueprint of how you should approach every aspect of company management and ownership.
Integral to your business plan is a set of financial forecasts. The profit and loss report is the forecast which most new entrepreneurs are interested in but the cash flow forecast is the one you need to pay most attention to in the early days.
How you balance the demands for cash coming out of your business account with the money coming in is a key test of any entrepreneur and your business plan will give you an idea, if you sell B2B on invoice, about the maximum length of time you can give a client to pay before it starts causing you difficulties in meeting your own invoices to others.
When preparing your plan, we’ll also include loan repayments and investor returns once we fully understand how much funding you need if you intend to approach banks, other financial institutions, or investors.
Setting up your company
From your business plan, we’ll be able to advice you on which company structure is more suitable for you – sole trader, partnership, or limited company. Please note that, if you intend to find an investor, they will almost always require that your business be a limited company.
Once you have decided which structure you want, we’ll then notify the relevant authorities on your behalf including HMRC and, if applicable, Companies House. At this point, we would also advice that you authorise An Accounting Gem to be your designated agent with HMRC for both personal and corporate tax affairs.
We can assist you with the type of computing system you want for your company together with the online bookkeeping platform of your choice. We strongly advice all of our clients, especially newer entrepreneurs, to use their online bookkeeping platform every day to issue invoices to clients and to record invoices you’ve received from customers. We’ll explain why later on in this article.
Prior to launch, we’ll help you with establishing a recording system and training you how to use it so that you can comply with all statutory requirements including any insurance policies you need to do business.
Let us take care of all of the fiddly work while you prepare your company for launch.
Finding a bank account and funding if required
We have long-stablished relationships with many local banks and we’ll be pleased to help you set up a bank account for your company.
If, as part of your business plan, you’ve asked us to help raise money for your venture, we’ll be able to prepare the documentation which either a bank or an investor will expect to see so that they have the information they need to back your new company.
Particularly with investors, they may ask for more information prior to making a decision and we can assist you with this. And please believe us that, if an investor is asking questions, that’s normally a good sign.
If an investment looks probable, we can put you in touch with experienced corporate local solicitors to help you and your investor draw up the agreement you need prior to the investor transferring funds and you issuing shares in your company to the investor.
Proper recordkeeping post-launch
When you have launched, An Accounting Gem is there to assist you in all aspects of business compliance and administration.
By updating your online bookkeeping software every day, we’re able to keep up to date with your progress. If we spot an opportunity we think you should take advantage of we’ll let you know. Likewise, if we’re concerned about the amount of headroom you’ll have when making your next VAT payment, we’ll let you know that you need to conserve as much cash as possible or that you need to collect payments from clients faster.
You’ll learn so much in the first six months of running your own business – many things you might never have expected – however you can be assured of our support and availability at all times whenever you need us and whatever you need us for.
From countdown to take-off – start-up services with An Accounting Gem
Your An Accounting Gem partner is here to help you at all stages of the business cycle from start-up to expansion to exit. Get in touch with us on 01473 744 700 or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org