Setting up a new business

If you are considering setting up your own business there are several steps you will need to take. Some of the basic things you need to be aware of and which you can use as part of a costing checklist are:

Getting Started:

You can get a considerable amount of free business start up advice from:

This is the service which replaces Business Link. This is a government sponsored body whose prime role is to help new businesses start and stay in business. On this site you can find details about raising finance and doing a business plan. It also has links to a range of local helplines and details of where to find grants or training.

Another helpful site is

Your Business Structure

Should you set up as a Company, Partnership or Trader?
Read more here

Companies House

If you want to trade as a company you will need to register with Companies House. The website tells you all you need to know about setting up a company. It is advisable to get advice from an accountant or lawyer about what type of business structure would suit your business e.g. sole trader, partnership or company. It is often best to register any website name and related email addresses in advance of your registration at Companies House as domain name companies check Companies House daily to register websites, will register it without your permission and will then charge you more money for your domain name

Register with the ICO

You need to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) under the Data Protection Act 1998.

Register here


You will need a commercial bank account. To get one you need to show that you have at the least a basic business plan. All the main high street banks such as Lloyds, TSB, RBS, Santander, The Cooperative Bank, Barclays, Yorkshire bank have business advisors who can talk you through what you need to open an account.


Most businesses need some sort of insurance – whether it be Public Liability Insurance, Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) or Employee Liability Insurance. As an ATT member in practice you will require Professional Indemnity Insurance. Usually the best starting point is a broker.

Link to ATT PII guidance

Anti Money Laundering

The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 create new obligations for tax practitioners. If you are a principal in a firm of auditors, external accountants, insolvency practitioners or tax advisers you will need to ensure you are supervised by a supervisory authority to be monitored for compliance with the money laundering legislation. For further details see:

ATT Anti Money Laundering (AML) advice

Terms & Conditions and Legal Advice

You will need to spend time getting a suite of documents such as a legal policy for your website, Terms & Conditions and Anti Money Laundering documentation for your clients as well as engagement letters. The ATT provide templates for engagement letters here and see also Standards, here.

Once you have tailored your letters and added your branding you may also want to get a lawyer to check over your suite of documents.


All businesses need to be aware of tax that needs to be paid. As an ATT qualified person you are better placed than most people to understand what you need to pay gives you a reminder of payment dates and thresholds of the key taxes e.g. VAT, NIC, PAYE, and Corporate Tax.

Networking and Business Advice

Local Chambers of commerce offer networking events and business advice. Details of your local Chamber of Commerce can be found at

Also look at your local branch of ATT and CIOT by clicking here


When setting up a business you may need a website, business cards, signs, headed paper, compliment slips and a brand for social media etc. Branding and marketing agencies can create this for you. If you want to use the ATT Logo details can be found at

Use of ATT Logo


Most branding agencies won’t print your business cards etc themselves so you may also need to find a commercial printer who can print your compliments slips, headed paper etc.


It is very useful to get a range of initial photos which you can use for social media (Twitter, LinkedIn etc) and to send with press releases. It is worth paying a few hundred pounds for a professional photographer to provide you with a range of images on disc which you can use across your branding.

PR People

You may want to go to a professional PR agency to create a press release and ensure that you get coverage in the press of your new business.

Computers and Printers

One of the scary things about setting up on your own is moving away from an environment where there is an IT manager or team to help you with computer issues. It is a good idea to find local business which can suggest a system of hardware, server etc which would suit your needs and support any tax software and CRM systems that you are using.

Continuing Professional Support (CPD)

You can learn about CPD requirements here.