Setting up a limited company can be confusing — there’s a whole wealth of information out there, so where do you begin? You may have decided that a limited company formation is best for your business, but are not sure what should come next and how the process works.
The actual process of setting up a limited company should be fuss free, but it can be hard to know exactly how a limited company is formed and where to go to get the support you need.
In order to register a limited company you will need to first decide who will be the Director (at least one person), Shareholder and PSC (Person of Significant Control), but the lengthy forms and business jargon can be daunting.
Filling in forms through Companies House (the UK’s official registrar of companies) is the most direct route to setting up a limited company, but there are company formation agencies who often make the whole process easier, using an online webfiling system to send through the application.
If the thought of completing long, and often more-complicated-than-needed forms, fills you with dread, then perhaps a limited formation company may be of service! As well as a more streamlined experience, they often offer dedicated customer service teams to talk through any queries you may have so you can easily get the vital support that may be needed, with Companies House filing fees included.
All you need to do is complete the details of the simplified versions of the information needed (for Directors, Shareholders, PSC’s, etc). Once an application has been submitted, you can expect to have a limited company set up in anything from 3 to 24 hours — the time this takes depends on Companies House’s workload. You will receive a registration number at the time the limited company has been officially incorporated, which you will need if you decide to open a business bank account or register for VAT.
It’s good to be aware that even if you decide not to trade straight away, there are annual filing obligations due after your company’s first year — those to be filed with Companies House are the Confirmation Statement (an update of your company’s general information) and the Annual Financial Accounts ( financial information, but not a tax return).
Some businesses may decide to hire an accountant, but often this can prove costly. Therefore some limited company formation agencies are now providing assistance with these obligatory filings, and much more, at a fraction of the cost. Less cost means more peace of mind!
It may also be worth considering that you will need a UK address to be listed as the company’s Registered Office Address (a physical address where the company will be based in the UK). Some new startups decide to use their own address, though many don’t want their address listed online for the company and Directors, and often opt to find a Registered Office Address service. This is also a service a lot of limited company formation agencies now provide — to enable you to keep your addresses private, but still have your official and government sent to your residential address.
Of course, this is just a general overview of the steps that can be taken when first thinking of incorporating a company and there will be more to learn along the way. Business advice is always recommended if unsure, but often more information on how easy the process of setting up a limited company can be sought from places such as limited company formation agencies.