The UK saw the fastest growth in self-employment in Western Europe in 2014, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).
The number of self-employed workers rose by 8%, faster than any other Western European economy, and outpaced by only a handful of countries in Southern and Eastern Europe.
The IPPR’s analysis shows that the UK – which had low levels of self-employment for many years – has caught up with the EU average. If this growth continues, it says, the UK will look more like Southern and Eastern European countries which tend to have much larger shares of self-employed workers.
You’re responsible for:
- keeping records of your business’s sales and expenses
- sending a Self Assessment tax return every year
- paying Income Tax on your profits and Class 2 and Class 4 National Insurance – use HMRC’s calculator to help you budget for this
- your business debts
- bills for anything you buy for your business
- registering for VAT if your turnover reaches the VAT threshold
- registering with the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) if you’re a contractor or sub-contractor in the construction industry
Naming your business
You can use your own name or trade under a business name – read the rules for naming your business.
You must include your own name and business name (if you have one) on any official paperwork, like invoices and letters.
When should you get help from an Accountant?
Often business owners wait too long before they realise that they need help from an accountant.
Key reasons are:
– not understanding the difference between a book keeper and an accountant
– thinking that an accountant will just be an extra cost – the reality is that most accountants will save the business many times their cost
– thinking that accountants are just bean counters.
But if you choose a qualified and experienced accountant they can bring huge benefits: management tools to improve profitability, cost controls, tax savings, growth strategies, business planning, business structures and much more. So don’t wait too long – getting an accountant should be a priority for all businesses!
First off – not having a separate bank accounts. Many start ups try mixing business and personal transactions in their personal bank accounts, its a total nightmare, don’t do it, get a business bank account. Mixing things up will almost certainly have tax implications.
Not registering for tax or filing returns is another one. Getting things right at the beginning is extremely important and a CIMA Accountant can make sure that you choose the right business structure and will help you register for VAT, PAYE, CIS and other taxes. Choosing the right VAT scheme will save you tax. Not registering and filing returns will have severe consequences and lead to fines and penalties.
Also – contract mistakes. Ask your Accountant to review your contracts, they will be able to give you lots of useful tips.
Running out of cash: draw up a Budget and Cashflow and forecast how much cash you will need to run the business, looking at your cash cycle and managing it will be vital. If you need funding ask your Accountant for help, they will be able to look at all the options and help you choose the option that’s best for your business.
Accounting – many start ups fail to keep control of their accounting, by working with an accountant and using Debitoor or Sage One you can avoid this problem.