I am writing this post to support you if you are planning to set up a company. I will share with you my personal insights, setting up a coaching practice, to offer you a clear starting point. The scenario I describe supports registering a company in Ireland. If you are based in another country, this article may give you pointers for setting up a company in the country you are based, keeping in mind there are different rules and regulations in each country. Please supplement this information with your own research.
It is imperative every business has a solid foundation and a culture of good governance. Transparency and integrity are key and ongoing effective oversight is crucial.
- Decide whether you want to operate as a Sole Trader or Limited Company. I chose to set up a Limited Company legal entity. My reasons were the limited liability protection, the lower rate of corporation tax at 12.5% as well as thinking that it seems more professional and I felt it offered a greater long-term and growth perspective. You can set up a Limited Company yourself or hire a company to help you. I set it up myself. The steps are:
- Decide on a company name. There are certain rules about the name you choose laid down by the Companies Registration Office (CRO). To make sure your company name is unique, you can search the national database for all company names here: https://core.cro.ie
- Decide on who the Director will be (you), and who will be the Company Secretary. It cannot be the same person i.e. you cannot be the CoSec as well as the Director. As Director, you will own a certain amount of shares in the company, say 100%.
- Register as a user on CORE: https://core.cro.ie. Complete the form A1 and the Constitution. You will be asked for your NACE code. The NACE code I chose is 7020. The fee is €50. You will receive the Certificate of Incorporation and company registration number normally within a few days.
- File as beneficial owner with the Register Of Beneficial Owners (RBO).
- Each year you need to file an annual return. You are not notified of this, so you need to keep the date in your diary. If you file it late, there is a penalty fee of €156. Get an accountant to do it on your behalf (see below).
- Remember to issue invoices in the name of the Ltd. company and to receive receipts for expenses in the name of the Ltd. company.
- Take out liability insurance. I pay €110 per year. You need to provide evidence of your diplomas and certificates to the Insurance Broker.
- I like to keep things simple and avoid layers of complexity. My plan was to be self-sustainable and I did numerous start your own business related courses organized by the Local Enterprise Office (LEO Wexford) including accounting and bookkeeping. Thanks to the late filing fee for the Annual Return, I realized the risk of managing the finance and reporting side was too great. It was then I decided to engage an accountant to make sure everything would be done correctly and at the correct time.
- Set up a business bank account. This is necessary and helps you to keep track of payments and expenses and supports transparency and clarity.
- Speak with a few accountants to see who is the best fit and to get a number of quotes. Engaging an accountant can cost about €2000/year. When you speak with them, make sure they can and will fulfill the required roles of Company Secretary (submitting legal paperwork on your behalf), Tax Agent, Accountant, Bookkeeping, Payroll Agent.
- Your accountant will register your business with revenue and will register you as an employee with revenue. They will calculate your payroll and arrange payment of taxes on your behalf. They do not need to register your company for VAT at the start. They will register your services company for VAT when you have a turnover of €37,500. Each month they will send you your payslip and your PAYE/PRSI statement.
- If you plan to create a website and wish to have an Irish domain name ‘.ie’, you are required to submit evidence of your company registration. Personally, I choose ‘.com’ domain names as I feel it gives me greater leverage to sell services globally. I build my own websites using wordpress. Developing my own websites gives me greatest control, a quick turnaround time and full ownership allowing me to make changes when I want. I use website development as my digital whiteboard where I can get clear about my message, directly translate my design ideas and as an outlet for creativity.
- Get a support network in place, for example, an accountant, a coach, a business mentor, a coaching supervisor, positive psychology and motivation resources, spiritual grounding, creativity outlet etc.
- I wish you really well with it.
- If you have any additional useful information which would help us all, please post it in the comments below. Thank you.
Siobhán Cahalan, founder of Wisdom and Vision Ltd., is an executive coach and coaching supervisor with a particular interest in encouraging best practice governance, supporting CEO’s and senior leaders with executive governance. Siobhán has over 20 years’ experience in managing global processes and leading global teams in varied business environments in a number of different countries. Siobhán is also a trainer, writer and group facilitator. www.siobhancahalan.com