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Starting a Business?

Starting a Business

Starting up your own business is a big decision to make – it carries many benefits but also an equal number of risks. However with careful planning many of the risks can be minimised.

Most people start a business because they have a good business proposition, and the enterprise and commitment to see it through, not because they are experts in the legal and financial aspects of running a business.

In fact, these matters can often seem daunting, and even off-putting, to the budding entrepreneur. The good news is that you do not need to be an expert in these fields to succeed in business. All you need is the support of a team of trained experts. That’s where we fit in. Bring us your business ideas and we’ll help you to evaluate them and put them into practise in a constructive and realistic manner

Company Formation

Before actively forming your company on your behalf, The Stevens Partnership will discuss which business structure would be most suitable for you. Having managed hundreds of companys’ formations, The Stevens Partnership is widely experienced in advising which business structure would best match your requirements:Sole trader

This is the simplest form of business since it can be established without legal formality. However, a sole trader will be held personally liable for any debts that the business incurs.


A partnership is similar in nature to a sole trader but because more people are involved it is advisable to draw up a written agreement and for all partners to be aware of the terms of the partnership. Again the business and personal affairs of the partners are not legally separate. A further possibility is to use what is known as a Limited Liability Partnership (LLP).


The business affairs are separate from the personal affairs of the owners, but there are legal regulations to comply with.

The appropriate structure will depend on a number of factors, including consideration of taxation implications, the legal entity, ownership and liability.

Once you have decided which business structure is the most appropriate, The Stevens Partnership can also help to save you time by managing your company’s formation:

  • New company – formed same day, at a competitive price
  • Limited Liability Partnerships
  • Company limited by guarantee Residents Management company

Business Planning

Business planning is essential if you are to maximise the profit potential of your business. The Stevens Partnership Chartered Accountants offers a business planning service to help identify appropriate targets and set key measures for your company’s performance and profitability.

Experience shows us that good business planning and measuring key performance indicators are the common factors linking many successful and profitable businesses. After all, whatever you can measure, you can improve upon. Therefore, as part of our business planning service, The Stevens Partnership’s team can help to:

  • Assess your company’s systems and processes
  • Prepare a credible business plan
  • Highlight key performance indicators
  • Set achievable financial and operational goals
  • Implement reporting systems
  • Continually assess and advise how to improve upon your company’s performance

Whether you are establishing a new company or developing an existing one, it is vital to build continually on the strengths of your business whilst minimising the risks of its weaknesses.

VAT Registration

Should you be VAT registered? Until your business reaches the compulsory VAT registration threshold, you will have the choice to become voluntarily VAT registered. Whereas businesses reaching the compulsory threshold must make an application to become VAT registered with HMRC and subsequently file VAT returns.

As a business, there are certain advantages and disadvantages you may wish to consider when deciding whether or when to become VAT registered. The majority of businesses use the default accruals based scheme to calculate the amount of VAT they owe each quarter. However, there are various VAT schemes available (some help reduce the amount of VAT payable) and The Stevens Partnership can assist you in selecting the one that is most appropriate for your business and complete your online application for you:

Annual Accounting Scheme

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Based on the VAT that your company paid the previous year, under the Annual Accounting Scheme you pay VAT on account in nine monthly or three quarterly instalments. Only one VAT Return is required to be completed at the end of the year, giving you a reduction in administration. However it does not remove the requirement to keep all required VAT records and accounts nor is this scheme suitable for businesses that regularly reclaim VAT.

Cash Accounting Scheme

For businesses with a turnover of less than the scheme limit the Cash Accounting Scheme entitles you to pay VAT once your customer has paid you. However, you cannot reclaim VAT on your purchases until you have paid for them. Beneficial for businesses with customers who are slow to pay or are prone to non payment, the Cash Accounting Scheme may not be viable if you regularly reclaim more VAT than you pay.

Flat Rate Scheme

Only available for businesses with a turnover of less than the scheme limit, the Flat Rate Scheme offers a range of flat rates depending on your trade sector. Although you cannot reclaim VAT on your purchases (with some exceptions) under the Flat Rate Scheme, smaller businesses may benefit from reduced accounting time by just paying a flat rate on their turnover and may pay less VAT overall.

PAYE Schemes

As a new employer, you will need to set up a Pay As You Earn (PAYE) scheme with HMRC in order to submit Income Tax and National Insurance payments for your employees. Our guide, Payroll – Basic Procedures, gives a basic overview of what you need to operate PAYE, including which forms you’ll need and key dates. The Stevens Partnership can assist you with this process if you wish to manage your company’s payroll in-house.

However, the operation of PAYE, and keeping up to date with the legislation associated with PAYE, can be a difficult and time-consuming procedure for those in business so The Stevens Partnership offers a cost-effective payroll service that manages as much or as little as you wish. Our specialist payroll team, The Stevens Partnership Paysolve, provides:

  • Reduced overheads as there is no in-house requirement for specialist staff or costly software
  • Tailored services to meet your payroll requirements for weekly, four weekly or monthly pay, and caters for overtime payments and holiday pay
  • Complete confidentiality in handling all employees’ pay, including directors’ payments
  • Access to a professional payroll team to respond to your queries
  • Easy to read, tailored reports to meet statutory and regulatory requirements.

Our flexible approach provides a tailored service that provides a totally outsourced payroll solution through to advice on managing your own payroll. Please contact The Stevens Partnership to determine which level of service best suits you.


Getting the structure of your business right can have a tremendous effect on the amount of tax that you will pay over its lifetime, and when you sell or pass it on.

It is therefore crucial that this is discussed and planned for properly at the commencement.

Get in touch with us to find out the options and which is right for you.

If you are already in business, talk to us as business structures can be changed to provide significant tax savings going forward.

Company Secretarial

Every new and established limited company has to comply with the statutory requirements of company returns. Our team specialises in all levels of Company Secretarial services which means your business can be assured of statutory compliance at all times.

We don’t believe that you should have to source expertise and information from different company service providers which is why we have developed a complete range of solutions – whatever your needs may be.

Company Secretarial Services

  • Registered Office service
  • Company secretary service – we can be your company secretary
  • Maintenance of statutory records
  • Completion of registers
  • Online filing of annual return
  • Automatic company monitoring and anti-hijacking service – protecting your company from identity theft

Company Searches

  • Full searches
  • Accounts
  • Mortgage Register
  • Conveyancing Search
  • Registered Office Search
  • Certified copies of certificates
  • Automatic monitoring of your competitors’ records at Companies House

Technical Services

  • Change of company name
  • Change of share capital
  • Special share classes
  • Adoption of new articles
  • Memorandum and articles of association
  • Restoration of companies