They're one of the UK's top 50 accountancy firms, with nine offices and 300 people.
But Larking Gowen are about more than just numbers. They're also switched-on business advisers and jolly decent people to boot.
Katie Shufflebottom is one of their senior accountants, and these are her money-can't-buy tips for going it alone:
- You are an entrepreneur! The first thing to remember above all else is that you are an entrepreneur, and it’s important to consider yourself as exactly that! Don’t play down what you have achieved by taking the bold step to start your own business.
- Build a team of advisers It’s important to have a reliable team of advisers around you, who can work together to provide a comprehensive support network. From accountants, to bank contacts, insurance brokers and solicitors- the earlier you get the team on board the better, to save you time and money in the long run, ensuring your business gets off to the best start.
- Write a business plan Write a business plan with the help of your accountant/ bank contact to ensure your business is focused from day one. Once the business plan is written initially, often people will just file it away in a folder somewhere, and leave it to gather dust. This is not the idea of a business plan – after all, it is of very little use sat on the shelf! The business plan should be a working document that you update and make use of on a regular basis.
- Decide on your business structure When getting your new business off the ground, it’s important to consider the best structure to trade as, whether it be a sole trader, partnership or limited company. Your accountant will be best suited to discuss which business structure you should be trading as. There are quite distinct differences between each, from the extent to which you would be personally liable should things go wrong, and the reporting involved, to the way in which profits of the business and monies drawn are taxed. There are other important considerations to make early on in the start-up process, from considering VAT and notifying HMRC that you have started trading, to setting up your method of bookkeeping and understanding what expenses you can and can’t claim as part of your business venture. We offer a free initial consultation meeting to discuss all the above, so you can start trading in the most efficient and beneficial way.
- Record and measure Yes it is important to measure the financial aspect of your business and keep an eye on profits. To assist with this, there are a range of accountancy packages available to you, such as Quickbooks online, which makes the day to day record keeping hassle free. But it’s not just the financial side of things that should be kept on top of as a priority. You should ensure to keep records of sales leads, and contacts you meet by way of measuring your marketing strategy to see what is working, and where efforts are best concentrated.
For more info on what to consider when starting your own business, have a look at the Larking Gowen blog.accountantsguest posts and interviewsmarketing and advertisingnext generation of freelancersrunning a businesstax