With the figures for self-employment increasing year on year and cautious optimism returning to some parts of the market it is perhaps no wonder that so many new clients have walked through our doors recently wanting advice on setting up a new business. And those in the hospitality trade appear particularly active with plenty of people seemingly willing to take the plunge with opening a new coffee shop or cafe.

Most of our clients opt for limited company status so that they can separate their business interests from their personal ones and limit liability. So far so good, but how do you actually go about incorporating a company at Companies House? Whether you decide to go it alone, ask Hedges to set up a company for you or purchase and tailor a "shelf-company" you will need to supply the same pieces of information. Here's the checklist we give to our clients:

  1. Company Name: Probably the most important and definitely the most exciting decision you need to make. Bear in mind that some names are not permitted if they are sensitive (broadly speaking infer a connection with a government, legal or regional body), offensive or misleading. You’ll also need to check that the name you like isn’t already being used by someone else. Hedges can help with all of this and ensure that you end up with a name which really reflects your new enterprise.
  2. Registered Office: You’ll need a business address for your company. This could be your home address, the address you run your business from or even the address of your accountant or solicitor.
  3. Incorporation Date: when will your company start trading?
  4. Directors: You’ll need at least one director but can appoint as many as you think are necessary. For each director you will need the following information:
    1. Full names
    2. Former names
    3. Date of birth
    4. Nationality
    5. Address
    6. Occupation
  5. Company secretary: You may wish to appoint a company secretary (this role is often performed by an accountant or solicitor) and, if so, will need the same personal details as for your directors.
  6. Share Capital: What will be the initial issued share capital of the company and in what denomination? – for example you might have share capital of £500 divided into 500 shares of £1 each.
  7. Shareholders: You will need to be able to confirm the name and address of every shareholder as well as the number of shares held by each of them.
  8. Accounting considerations: if you are appointing auditors (which may not be necessary for smaller companies) you’ll need their details. Also think about when you would like your accounting year end to be: this could be the end of the calendar year or the tax year or another time which is quieter in your particular trade.

Once you're armed with this information you should have enough to enable to you set up a basic limited company. There are of course more complicated legal structures available and you may wish to spend time refining things from the start to ensure that you take account of estate planning implications and operate tax efficiently. Hedges are always happy to sit down and talk through your options with you and our business services team are more than willing to speak to you initially on a no-obligation basis. You can call us on 01865 594 265.