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Accountants & Business Advisers

The lifecycle of your business

From the moment you make the decision to set up a business, you are in the ‘business lifecycle’. At each stage there are a unique set of obstacles to tackle and overcome and you will have to be flexible in your thinking and adapt your strategy over time to remain relevant and at the forefront of your market sector. Having access to the right advice at the right time is essential to ensure you have the best chance of success.

Whatever stage of the lifecycle your business is at, we are here to work alongside you to help you maximise your potential.

 

What stage is your business?

Start Up

Start Up

Once you have tested your business idea and you are satisfied that it is ready to go, it’s time to make it official and launch your start-up. Flexibility is key here and much of your time in this stage will be spent tweaking your products or services based on the initial feedback from your stakeholders. Most businesses evolve over time, and it is unlikely that you will get it perfectly right first time therefore, listen to your customers, work with your advisors, and continue to develop your strategy accordingly.

Some of the key financial areas you should focus on include:

Structure

Structure

A key element to a sustainable, successful business is having the right structure in place. For many businesses a limited company is the best route forward. However, there are other options, and we will discuss with you the merits of each legal structure and ensure that you choose the most suitable for your business, not just for now, but considering what may be most appropriate in the future.

If you decide that the Limited company route is the most applicable, it is crucial to set up the initial shareholdings in the ‘correct’ way at this stage rather than leaving this for when the business expands and has generated value. You may also need advice in relation to taking on a property and payroll related issues in connection with employing people. We work with our clients to set the bedrock of the business with the future in mind.

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Accounting Systems

Accounting Systems

Entering the world of accounting systems can be a daunting place. With so many options available, and at different price points, it can take a lot of time and ‘demonstrations’ to make the right choice. With a variety of different clients, we have considerable experience of the current systems available and can work with you to choose an accounting system that best matches your current and future needs and suggest practical options for improvement and enhancement. By taking the time to understand your business and what you need from your finance system we can provide advice on the best fit for you. 

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Compliance and Filing

Compliance and Filing

Working with clients providing proactive advice that maximises potential is what we are passionate about however, we must ensure that the basics are well covered too. There are several statutory obligations necessary throughout the year and we make sure that these are delivered in the most effective way. We can prepare the year end statutory accounts based on the management accounts produced during the year and ensure the accounts comply with relevant requirements. At the same point, we will also prepare the corporation tax return.

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Funding

Funding

''Cash is king'' as the saying goes and ensuring that your business has the right financial backing is essential. We can help you with sourcing investment opportunities that help drive profitability within your business. We can assist you with modelling and business plans as part of raising finance. With an established network of other professionals, we are ideally suited to help advise you on a variety of ways to help fund your business and maximise your potential.

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Growth

Growth

Growth is an exciting stage and by now your business should be generating revenue and frequently taking on new customers. Cash flow should start to improve as recurring revenues help to cover ongoing expenses, and you should be looking forward to seeing your profits improve.

Now is the time to start looking at the future of the business and the options you have available to continue growing. Some key elements we advise our clients on during this stage include:

R&D

R&D

Research and Development (R&D) reliefs support companies who seek to advance science or technology, but it isn’t all about lab coats and test tubes and any company which is undertaking innovation in its field should explore whether a claim is possible. R&D tax relief is a generous incentive and can either reduce a company’s corporate tax liability or provide a sizeable cash rebate of up to approximately one third of the eligible costs incurred. As such it can represent an alternative, and often vital source of funding as a business grows.

We work with you to firstly identify what can be classed as R&D (and this isn’t as obvious as it sounds) and then ensure that a robust claim is submitted to HMRC. We successfully support hundreds of R&D tax credit claims each year. 

Find out more about R&D
Tax Incentive Investments

Tax Incentive Investments

The Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and the Seed EIS (SEIS) are longstanding UK government schemes, designed to help smaller higher-risk trading companies raise finance, by offering a range of tax relief to investors who purchase new qualifying shares in those companies. It does so by providing income tax and capital gains tax reliefs. We work with you to ensure that the business qualifies for EIS/SEIS and so makes it a more attractive proposition for potential investors.

find out more about EIS & SEED EIS
International Expansion

International Expansion

In many cases the opportunity for growth is not just confined to the UK market. Global expansion is now very much a consideration and realistic growth strategy for every business as the world gets smaller and more online based. When considering whether international expansion is the right option for your business, we can help you get the initial plan for expanding overseas right to minimise the pitfalls and maximise the potential.

If it is necessary to set up a presence in your country of choice, we can advise to make sure that the new business is structured in the most tax efficient way as well as advising you on all expatriate related matters that will need to be considered. Through our membership of the Kreston Global Network, we have the global coverage to assist your company wherever your business may take you.

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M&A

M&A

Growth doesn’t have to be organic and going down the M&A track is a quicker way of growing – whether that be turnover, profit or markets. Finding the right company to merge with or to acquire can be a daunting and time-consuming process but, done correctly, can provide your company with significant opportunities for growth. Our Corporate Finance team has been working with clients for many years helping to identify and enact mergers and acquisitions across a wide range of business sectors, priding itself on the flexibility of our approach to deliver an award-winning service to you.

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Compliance - Audit

Compliance - Audit

Mandatory for some and optional for others, an audit provides a robust review of your accounts to ensure that the accounting processes operated by your business are running smoothly. Whilst undertaking a robust and technically advanced audit, we will take the time to form a deep understanding of your business, looking way beyond the numbers to see what really makes the business tick.  We will use the audit process as a platform to provide real business advice, helping you to further grow and develop your business.

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Succession

Succession

At this stage the business has reached a level of maturity, often having a strong cash position from acquisitions or new product lines and markets. It may be that there are family or management team succession options but many at this stage also look to move on through a sale / exit. This could be a partial or full sale. Bringing new capital or ideas into the business can help take the business to a new level and open up further opportunities; we can help advise you on what option is best for you.

The key to successful succession planning is to start early, several years ahead of the planned succession date, to ensure that the process runs in the most orderly and tax efficient way. We work with you very much with the end game in mind.

Tax Structuring

Tax Structuring

Efficient tax structuring is something that should be taking place across the whole lifecycle of the business but becomes even more important towards succession. We work with you to ensure the business is structured in the most tax efficient way. For example, to maximise value whilst minimising tax liabilities will help future generations of family businesses to continue running the business without incurring charges to inheritance tax (IHT) or capital gains tax (CGT) and often whilst allowing the current owners to maintain control over the business during a generational transition.

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Exit Routes

Exit Routes

There are a variety of options to exit a business and it is very much dependent on the type of business and aspirations of the current owners. Whether it be an all-out trade sale, merger or management buyout we are well placed to advise you on the best options for you. Ideally, we will have been working with you for several years on the run up to any potential exit, ensuring that the business is in the best shape, is attractive to potential purchasers and, as owners, you are in the best position to ensure that any monies received are done so in the most tax effective way – Maximising your Potential.

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Post-Exit

Post-Exit

You’ve worked hard and taken your business through its lifecycle culminating in a successful exit. The focus is now on ensuring that the wealth you have created can be enjoyed and, in due course, be passed to family members in the most tax efficient way.

Inheritance Tax Planning

Inheritance Tax Planning

IHT planning is a key consideration to ensure that the maximum amount of money is passed on to future generations. We offer solutions that fit the problem, some are relatively simple, some solutions are complex depending on the problem to be solved. What is key is that we will work with you to understand your needs and plans and offer advice and recommendations that are dependent on your requirements.

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Trusts

Trusts

Depending on circumstances, trusts are often a good way to protect family wealth for future generations and as often as not, to secure more modest inheritances in a safe structure while beneficiaries are young and unable to look after their own financial affairs. We will work with you to understand the needs of the family and, if appropriate to your circumstances, how the effective use of trusts can become a key part of your tax planning strategies.

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Family Investment Companies

Family Investment Companies

Often viewed as an alternative to a family trust, a FIC is a bespoke private company set up to hold and preserve family wealth in a tax efficient manner. Typically, a FIC is set up by parents who provide the initial funding (often from the proceeds of a business disposal) and who, alongside other family members, may also hold some shares. Use of a FIC allows the parents to retain control over assets and investment decisions, to accumulate wealth and to pass it on in a tax efficient manner. Careful design is key and we regularly work with clients to ensure a FIC is both suitable and, if so, correctly structured.

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Critical Friend and Trusted Advisor

Not all businesses will experience every stage of the business lifecycle and may not necessarily experience them in the order covered above. For example, some businesses may see significant growth right after start-up and the owners may decide to cash out early on. What is key is making sure that you have the right advisors around you that can consider your unique circumstances and help accordingly whatever the situation.

At James Cowper Kreston we can help you at every stage of your business lifecycle helping you to maximise your potential along the way.