Setting up a business in the UK


Have you considered expanding your business into the UK but not sure where to get the advice and support you need?

Wherever you are in the world, we can help with this process. We will work with you to understand your growth aspiration and consider what you need to know before making the move, such as the compliance, tax and regulatory implications.

The UK market offers a unique opportunity with its competitive tax system combined with a proximity to Europe. It is also currently developing a UK wide network of Freeports which may offer additional benefits in the future.


Have you considered expanding overseas but not sure where to start or how to get the right support and guidance?

Our specialists have the expert knowledge you need to help you begin your export journey.


How can I improve my chances of success?

When setting up a business in the UK, it’s important to get the specialist advice and support you need to determine and execute your plan.

This will include setting reasonable timescales to allow you to do things like register for VAT and set up banking arrangements, which can take longer than anticipated.

It’s also worth noting that a UK subsidiary can’t be financially adrift, it must be set up to fit into the reporting systems of its parent company.


What do I need to consider before setting up a business in the UK?

Early decisions will be dictated by the approach you take and that will be personal to you and your business. We take the time to understand your growth aspiration so we can help you prepare a workable plan.

Considering your commercial choices, the level of financial and physical commitment you want to make, your budget and your team structure will allow you to begin the process.

You may wish to establish a small sales operation to initially test the market, and this could run as a branch which is easier than setting up a full UK subsidiary, although filing annual UK tax returns will likely be required. The benefit is reduced cost and risk as you establish the opportunity.


Importing – Is there any grant/financial support available?

Grants are often available to inward investors and can clearly help offset the costs of setting up an operation within the UK. As expert advisers, we can help you navigate this process by providing timely, proactive support throughout the process.

In the UK grants are delivered and administered by a wide range of organisations and the availability of funding varies between regions. It is important to understand the levels of support available to you across a range of scenarios to allow you to make an informed decision on where to locate your UK base. Our team have worked on over £225m of grant support and so are well placed to provide advice and assistance on this matter.

The Department for International Trade (DIT) also has a raft of support available from government advice to interactive planning and market research tools to help you plan your import strategy.

You can find more information here;


What are the key actions required for setting up a business in the UK?

Once you have established an appetite and an opportunity to bring your business to the UK, you will need to progress to a detailed plan of action.

Here are some of the factors you will need to consider.

  • Creating an appropriate, tax-efficient business structure is vital and you must secure a VAT registration before any trading begins.
  • In the digital age, systems will form an important part of the process. These could include accounting, pension, treasury, payroll, payment, invoice factoring and compliance systems.
  • Structures for efficient cash flow and the repatriation of funds will be needed to keep you liquid.
  • Financial due diligence must be carried out if acquisitions are planned.
  • Tax planning to maximise reliefs and meet international financial reporting requirements will be required.
  • Ensuring your operations are fully compliant with UK law is a priority.
  • If you plan to relocate any staff, you may need to determine their tax status and check for any residency issues.

Reviewing all of the above issues will constitute an audit of the available opportunity. Being aware of the cultural and social differences within the UK market is an important consideration as what works within one market, may not work in another.

Our experts can help you assess the plan and decide how best to progress. They can help you avoid the pitfalls and expedite your journey.

If you are looking to set up a business in the UK and would like some expert guidance, contact us here.

We look forward to starting a conversation with you on how you could grow your business in the UK.


Read more about International Business here:

Clive Owen LLP is a member of Kreston Global

Kreston Global is a network of 22,000 people in 170 independent accounting firms across more than 120 countries. Founded 50 years ago, their aim remains to help businesses and people succeed internationally.

Kreston Global offers reliable and convenient access to high-quality services through member firms located around the globe and is currently ranked as the 13th largest accounting association in the world.

This global network can be of huge value to our clients who can benefit from enhanced research coverage, local market knowledge, and cross-border professional expertise.

Forum of Firms

We are also members of the Forum of Firms, an association of international networks of accounting firms that promotes consistent and high-quality standards of financial reporting and auditing practice, offering peace of mind, should you need this service.


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