5 steps you should take after setting up a limited company
You have just set up your limited company and it’s now official. Your new business adventure is on the road and you are now either a business owner, entrepreneur, shareholder or all of the above.
But what now? What else needs to be organised in those first few weeks after company formation. Chances are you are already busy refining your new product or service and getting the word out to potential new customers.
There are additional practical steps though you need to make sure are on your to-do list within the first few weeks of starting a business to ensure your venture if off to a sound start.
So here’s 5 important steps to take in the first few weeks after company formation.
1. Set up a business bank account
After setting up a limited company the ideal way to keep your business finances clearly separated from your personal ones is by opening a business bank account.
Have a search for the best deals for your situation and check what business support is available from the bank. To set up a business bank account you will need to complete an application, and also confirm who you are by providing proof of identification (ID) and address documents. You may also be asked for your company incorporation documents including your certificate of incorporation.
As part of our company formation service, we offer a free bank referral to Metro Bank to our UK resident customers. Our ‘one stop’ company formation and banking process automatically and securely sends your details to Metro enabling your account to be activated quicker with our integrated system.
2. Make sure the taxman knows you are in business
As in your personal life you can’t avoid tax in relation to your new limited company. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) therefore provides a 10 digit Unique Tax Reference (UTR) to every incorporated company.
This number is important as it is needed to file your company tax returns. When you incorporate with Lightwork Business, HMRC will automatically send a letter with your UTR number to your company’s registered office within 3 weeks from your company’s incorporation date.
Or if you have an accountant they will organise this for you.
If you have not received the UTR number after 3 weeks, you should contact HMRC on 0300 200 3310 or +44 161 931 9070 (if calling from outside the UK).
3. Get it in writing
Whatever your business type, the best practice for all things legal is clear and simple - get it writing. When you formed your limited company you will already have started following this important principle by having the ‘internal rulebook for your limited company’ written down and documented in the articles of association.
It is crucial not to stop there though with writing things down. Although the full range of documents required will vary with each business here are a few of the key ones you should look put in place at an early stage.
- Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) - these will protect both your business & the customer.
- Website use policy - helps you comply with e-commerce regulations.
- Shareholders agreement – for companies with multiple shareholders this will make it clear where everyone stands.
4. Tell your customers about practical things too
In the early days of setting up a company there will likely be lots of marketing activities going on getting the word out as far and as wide as possible about your new business. But getting the word out is more than sharing information on your products and services. There are practical things your customers need to know:
- If you are a limited company you must display your company name, number, address, place of registration, and VAT number if you have one, on your website, e-mails, business letters and order forms.
- If you are sending any marketing e-mails or texts you need to give people the option to unsubscribe and identify the sender.
- You must also display the price of what you are selling and a description of the goods. When delivery will take place and the method of payment should be clear. Customers will need confirmation of their order sent to them too.
5. Know your company’s annual requirements
After you have incorporated your limited company you will need to have a clear idea of what documents you are required to send to Companies House, HMRC and other Government bodies every year. Companies House filing requirements for example are compulsory and apply even if the company is dormant.
Failing to submit the required information on time is an offence and if Companies House does not receive the relevant documents the Registrar of Companies can potentially assume the company is no longer in business and remove it from the company register.
The two main ‘compliance’ requirements for UK companies are the confirmation statement and annual accounts. The former is a snapshot of the company info - name, number, address, shareholders etc - and needs to be sent to Companies House once a year. Annual accounts report on performance and activities during the financial year upon trading.
Every limited company must also submit documents to Companies House to change any existing information about the company. If you are VAT registered remember VAT returns need to be sent to HMRC at least every quarter. And if you are employing people you will need to make monthly PAYE and NI contributions.
Please note the information on this website does not constitute legal advice. If in doubt seek professional advice or call the Companies House business support line on 0300 456 3565.
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