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So far stevesampson19 has created 18 blog entries.

Diary of a UK Start Up #18

Some of the books that I have read and recommend are:

Brand You – John Purkiss and David Royston-Lee

Confessions of an Advertising Executive – David Ogilvy

Getting to Yes: Getting Agreement Without Giving In- Roger Fisher & William Ury

Hedgehogging – Barton Biggs

How to Build a Business from your Kitchen Table – Sophie Cornish and Holly Tucker

Rebel Entrepreneur – Jonathan Moules

The Zulu Principle – Jim Slater

Some further guidance on setting up your own business can be found at

By |October 10th, 2013|Business|0 Comments

Diary of a UK Start Up #17

Getting “Investor Ready”
Many companies need to raise external finance in order to fulfil their potential.  Generally for start-up companies this is equity or share capital as there is insufficient back-up to support borrowing from a bank.

Finding investors can be a difficult process.  It is therefore critical that when you get in front of a potential investor you make it count.  Most entrepreneurs want to talk about their business idea, but an investor will, in addition, need to understand the investment proposition, the management team and the market in which the business operates.  Having anticipated the potential questions and incorporated the answers into the pitch will improve your chances of securing the investment.

One of the key documents to get ”investor ready” is the Business plan.  In fact, it should be a key part of your thinking process, not just at the time of setting up the business but moving forwards as well.  Being able to write down how the business will function is very important and will help you to highlight areas that you may have not thought about.  Whole books are available on writing a business plan and I don’t intend to go into the process in this post.  Some entrepreneurs I know have initially resisted this process but have seen great value afterwards from the disciplined thinking that is involved.  The financial projections, especially the cash flow forecasts and sensitivities should improve your understanding of the business model and the key drivers between success and failure.

There are some attractive tax incentives for investors in early stage businesses and structuring your company to qualify can again make the fund raising task easier.

When the business is generating sales, the banks may be willing to lend money […]

By |May 9th, 2013|Business|0 Comments

Diary of a UK Start Up #16

Public Liability Insurance and Professional Indemnity Insurance are the key policies for my business.  You might also need Employer Liability Insurance.  I obtained quotes through my bank and also from a specialist insurance company, Dallas Kirkland.

By |May 2nd, 2013|Business|0 Comments

Diary of a UK Start Up #15

Providers of Accounting Services
I chose to establish my company myself but there are a variety of people who will do this for you.  Competex and the Interim Hub are specialists providing this service to interim professionals.  Many accountants also provide this service on a more general basis.

By |April 30th, 2013|Business|0 Comments

Diary of a UK Start Up #14

P11D & tax year end tasks
The P11D is a form which is used to report the expenses paid to directors and “higher paid” employees (those who earn over £8,500 p.a.) at the end of the tax year to HMRC.

To complete the form requires significant re-analysis of the expenses as the amounts to be included are the VAT inclusive amounts, not the VAT exclusive amounts in the accounting system.  This was time consuming and was the first time I felt the frustration that many express about unnecessary “red tape”.

I first completed the P11D paper form which I have retained for my own personal reference.  Looking through the HMRC web site I saw that there is an online filing option and completed the P11D online, then the P11D(b) which was completed for me.

In addition, I went back into the Basic PAYE Tools programme to complete the P60 Form, printed it off and gave it to myself.

I had already made my year end payroll tax submission and printed the P35 form, so having double checked that all the necessary forms had been completed, I updated the Basic PAYE Tools to the 2013/14 RTI version following the process laid out on the HMRC web site.

I also completed the P11D dispensation application online which hopefully will mean that I can avoid completing the P11D form next year.

By |April 29th, 2013|Business|0 Comments

Diary of a UK Start Up #13

PAYE Year End Submissions
This was all pretty simple.  Having run my payroll for month 12 and checked the data in the system, I selected the year end option on the main menu.  I was presented with a checklist of questions and was able to answer them all positively.

I was then presented with the deductions that I have made in the various pay periods during the year and confirmed them.  I entered the PAYE and NI payments I had paid and scheduled to pay up to and including 22 April.  I declared that I am operating a service company.

Cross checking against the HMRC website as I went, I was able to declare that I was submitting P14s, did not need to submit P38As  and that I would need to complete P11Ds.  These forms obviously mean something to regular payroll practitioners but not to me.

I was informed that the P11D had to be submitted by 6 July which I duly noted.

After a few more confirmation screens, I was asked if I wanted to make a test submission and thought that this would be sensible.  As prompted I entered my online gateway details, made the submission and was relieved to read the message that it had worked.  I then did it for real.  After a couple of attempts the HMRC computer responded and I had submitted.  I noted the confirmation number that was provided.  I tried to print the calculation results which produced an error, but I was not concerned as I already had prints of the payroll and the electronic backups.

By |April 26th, 2013|Business|0 Comments

Diary of a UK Start Up #12

I decided to register for VAT from the outset.  My rationale behind this was that it seemed sensible to get everything set up and running smoothly before I was forced to register having hit the turnover threshold of £77,000.  Being VAT registered can also give a level of credibility to a new business and if customers are also likely to be VAT registered, it will not impose an additional cost on them.

Having done some background reading (the HMRC web site is quite helpful here) and spoken with some contacts, it looked as if I would be best to register and also apply to use the flat rate scheme which makes the administration considerably easier.  I made a note that if my annual turnover is expected to exceed £230,000 in the next 30 days then I will have to stop using the flat rate scheme.

To register for VAT, I was told that you need to have your company bank account details.  Also, it is not possible to register for VAT and the Flat Rate Scheme at the same time on-line, so I sent the following letter:

Wolverhampton Registration UnitHM Revenue & CustomsDeansgate62 – 70 Tettenhall RoadWolverhamptonWV1 4TZDear Sirs

Application for VAT Registration and joining of the Flat Rate Scheme

Please find enclosed, completed forms VAT1 and VAT 600FRS in respect of VAT registration for 19 Corporate Finance Ltd.

We are applying for initial registration, together with joining the Flat Rate Scheme at the same time as we wish to use the Flat Rate Scheme from the start of registration, as advised in section 5.2 of notice 733.

We look forward to receiving confirmation, together with VAT number in due course.


Yours faithfully


The VAT Registration number came through 11 days after posting the […]

By |April 23rd, 2013|Business|0 Comments

Diary of a UK Start Up #11

The first step is to register for the online services.  This is done by creating a Government Gateway account and then registering to handle the relevant taxes online at

I received the employer registration reference 4 days after registering.

HMRC have a free basic payroll program.  This has been amended in April 2013 and the new version, which handles RTI submissions, is available at  The notes below largely relate to the previous version.

I set the company up as the employer and checked the P11D.

You need to have your online PIN before starting the payroll process.  Something that I discovered too late and had to delete my payroll and re-enter the information once the PIN had been received.

In summary, to save you the errors I made.  As soon as you have the employer registration reference you can set up the employer.  You can also check the P45 figures using the P45 Checker in the Calculators.

The PIN came through 9 days after registering. I set myself up as the employee, entered the P45 details and submitted these electronically.  I then entered the pay details in the P11 calculator, separately created a payslip in excel , generated P32 records for each month of the tax year to date (all of which were nil) and made submission.  The accounting entries were recorded in the General Ledger.

The following month, the company paid me again.  This time PAYE income tax was deducted.  It was very unclear whether this had to be reported to HMRC in some way or whether the Basic PAYE Tools program does this automatically.  I later discovered, while reading an article in the FT about “Real Time Information” that currently the payroll information is reported once a year […]

By |April 18th, 2013|Business|0 Comments

Diary of a UK Start Up #10

This has been the main area of expense.

I have bought a Samsung laptop with a core i5 processor, running Windows 8 and MS Office 2010, which is more than adequate for everything I’m using it for.  I’m not sure when I will upgrade to Office 2013.  I’ve been impressed with the new Windows and there are some useful free apps including one for National Rail which provides live arrival and departure information for my local train station.

I bought an iPhone 3GS second hand and will upgrade to the 5S provided that it will transmit on all the UK 4G frequencies (unlike the current model).  There are some great iPhone apps, Evernote is one which is very useful for capturing ideas and ensuring that they are always available both on the iPhone and laptop.

I am a big user of cloud based services – iCloud (calendar and contacts), Gmail and Dropbox. These mean that I can access pretty much all my information whenever I have access to a computer with an internet connection.

I have also just started using Hootsuite to manage my Social Media platforms.

By |April 4th, 2013|Business|0 Comments

Diary of a UK Start Up #9

Letterhead and invoices have some minimum legal requirements. Both should show the registered office address, the registered number and the country where the company is registered.  I have included my VAT registration number on both although it is only required on the invoice. Under the new Companies Act email should have the same basic content as a letter.

My letterhead is saved as a Word template and I use Excel for my invoices using a template I downloaded from Workpond (  So far my invoices have been sent out as PDF email attachments.

I designed my own logo using a combination of PowerPoint and Windows Paint.

I had my business cards printed at using a template that I created in PowerPoint.  I had some difficulty getting the font sizes exactly as I wanted them and probably should have paid the small amount extra to receive a printed proof.  It would seem a simple enhancement to the Vistaprint website for them to allow you to print a proof at home on standard A4 paper with a box showing the edge of the card.

It is not worth having too much stationery printed at the outset as there will inevitably be changes as you move forward.

By |March 27th, 2013|Business|0 Comments

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