Advice and guidance for startups

Over the last couple of months, we have held two free events aimed towards startups. They focused on funding opportunities, tax rates and setting up bank accounts. Other queries included the best bookkeeping software and how best to manage expenses. Accountant Online’s CEO Larissa Feeney was there to offer attendees valuable advice and guidance for startups during their early development stages (0-6 Months).

The events were a great success. Those who were attending claiming the hour long session to be informative and valuable. Those in attendance got a chance to ask their own questions in a friendly and open environment.

I met Larissa from Accountant Online at a talk she gave in Bank of Ireland. It was very informative and I feel more motivated to get things off the ground – Mike O’Keefe

If you’re starting a business, you’re in the process of making some big decisions. It could be that you’re deciding if your idea is a viable one, maybe you’re giving up your job, or looking for investment. From the feedback we have received, the event gave those who attended an extra push in the right direction.

Thank you very much for today’s seminar at BOI Grand Canal branch, I have found it to be very informative and interactive, just what any startup would need. – Maria Salahovs

Larissa Feeney was on hand to answer your questions and discussed queries such as:

What are the Requirements for Startups When Setting Up a Business Bank Account?

First things first, as a Sole Trader, to open a bank account you will need one form of ID verification, two forms of address verification. If you have a business name that is different than your personal name you will also need your Business Registration Number.

However, as a Limited Company, you will need the original or a Certified Copy of the Certificate of Incorporation. This would have been issued to you from the CRO when registering your company. You will need the Company’s tax reference number. Proof of ID and two forms of proof of address are also needed Additionally, if this topic is something you want to know more about, we have an article on the most suitable business bank accounts for small businesses. 

It’s important to note, some banks have special offers for startups. Meanwhile, others offer features that might be beneficial for your business like waived transaction fees and free bank transfers within the EU. Many offer free mentoring, others provide a space for you to work e.g. Bank of Ireland Workbench.

The Workbench staff have experience with starting businesses, meaning they are familiar with startups and can offer valuable advice.

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When do I Register for VAT?

Registering for VAT can be a tactical decision for a startup. Generally, to register for VAT you would expect to turnover:

  • €37,500 a year or more for a service based business
  • €75,000 a year or more for a product based business
  • A Business where Product/Service combined. Use the €37,500 number if you think you might need to register

It’s worth checking out the Revenue website for VAT rates. Registration forms are accessible online.

If you are interested in VAT for your start up, we have an article about registering for VAT.

group of startups attending a free startup seminar
Attendees at free startup event

Should I Stay as a Sole Trader or Become a Limited company?

Perhaps, the most common question we receive from startups is whether to stay as a Sole Trader or become a Limited Company.

Starting out as a sole trader is quicker and easier if you are doing it yourself.

If you decide to incorporate, for any sole trader, the first decision is to review whether the profits of the business. Determine if the profits are higher than the amount of money drawn personally. Essentially, is the business making more than you are?

Tax on profits for limited companies is at a corporate tax rate of 12.5%. This compares favourably to personal tax rates of up to 54% for sole traders.

Limited companies must file an annual return with the Companies Registration Office (CRO). As a sole trader, your accounts are not audited and you don’t need to file returns.

A limited company is a separate legal entity to its owners. Meaning reduced liability on claims against your business. Yet, a sole trader is personally liable for all debts. Therefore, personal assets are at risk if there is a claim against a sole traders business.

Although, choosing to set up as a limited company may involve more steps. However, there are some favourable aspects. More grant schemes and options are available to limited companies setting up in Ireland, e.g. the New Frontiers programme. We have a piece on our blog examining the tax benefits of becoming a limited company.

Larissa and audience engaging at startup seminar
Larissa answering questions at startup seminar

Just wanted to say a big thanks to Larissa for today’s session.
Excellent initiative – Donal O Duibhir

How do I Register my Company?

If you haven’t registered your company yet, we offer a company formation package. We cover everything from company name checks to your Certificate of Incorporation.

First things first, you may have some things to consider;

  1. Gather your paperwork – We have a great post on all the documentation you need to set up your limited company. In summary, you need details of all directors, along with their PPS numbers, addresses and birth dates.
  2. Choose your company name; pick a couple of different names that you like. We will do a free company name check for you to make sure it is available.
  3. Where would you like to register your company? It must be a registered address in the Republic of Ireland. If you don’t have an office address and don’t wish to use your home address, Accountant Online can be your registered address for around €25 per month + VAT.
  4. How do you want to split the company shares? We usually advise that you issue 100 shares of 1 Euro in value and have authorised shares of 10,000. This increases the speed of formations. It also means that if you want to ‘issue’ shares later, you have an abundance available to issue. You can change this later at any time.
  5. Consider your directors – you must have at least 1 director and 1 Company Secretary. However, at least one director should be a resident of a Member state of the EEA. In addition, if none of the directors are resident in a Member state, you require a bond of 25,000.
  6. Express Online Purchase. Our forms are simple, quick and easy to complete. We have helpful tips all the way through the process. If you’d prefer us to complete for you, give us a call on 01 905 9364 and we’ll be delighted to help.

At Accountant Online, we can set up your limited company within a week! Our company formation service is fast, secure and given by trusted, qualified accountants.

Additionally, as a startup limited company, we offer a fixed fee of €25 + VAT per month for the first 6 months of trading. Giving you the best start in your new business.

If you missed the event and have questions or you have some additional queries since to the event, let us know by emailing us at info@accountantonline.ieAlternatively, you can find us on Twitter and Facebook.

Accountant Online is a firm of award winning Chartered Accountants serving Ireland and the UK. We understand how important it is for you to meet your compliance obligations, while minimising your tax liability. We aim to save our clients money without compromising on the quality of our service.  Get in touch for a free consultation or send an email to