Small Business Saturday Blog

Local Financial Advisor?

Friday, February 13 at 11:10Finance

Starting a business – Why financial advice matters. 

Setting up your own business can be an exciting undertaking and the realisation of a lifelong ambition. It can also be daunting, complicated and fraught with tedious but essential administration. Attempting to navigate the many responsibilities involved with an SME start-up without expert assistance can place you on the back foot before you’ve even started trading. Working with a financial advisor can not only reduce your workload, it can also help you to avoid legal and financial pitfalls that may prove costly down the line.

Why an independent financial advisor?

There are a number of resources you can use for advice and guidance when it comes to starting your own business, from your local bank to various government schemes and services. While these services can offer excellent guidance and access to funding, an independent financial advisor can also offer dedicated long-term support based on a complete understanding of your business needs.

IFAs can offer informed, impartial advice and recommendations based on a complete analysis of the market you’re operating in. This can include helping you to find other third party specialists such as accountants, payroll companies and insurance brokers.

Most people go into business because they feel passionate about the market they’re entering. Working with a financial advisor can help you to keep the background essentials running smoothly while you focus on the day-to-day elements of making your company succeed.

How an advisor can help

Tax Management – Keeping your taxes in order can be a time consuming headache for any business leader. A financial advisor can offer guidance on making your business as tax-efficient as possible, keep you abreast of changes to tax legislation and identify opportunities to bring tax benefits to your company.

Insurance – From employer and public liability to theft and damages, there’s a lot that can go wrong when you’re a business leader. Anticipating and mitigating potential threats is an essential element of setting up and maintaining a healthy company. An IFA can help you to identify all the risks you might need to cover, before exploring the market for the best value quotes from insurance providers.

Pensions & Auto Enrolment – By 2018, all UK employers will be obliged to provide a workplace pension to which staff will be automatically enrolled. An IFA can help you to understand the requirements of Auto Enrolment, and assist you in setting up an appropriate scheme for your company.

Employee Benefits – To attract and retain high quality staff, it’s important to make your company an attractive place to work. In addition to offering a generous salary, many businesses offer employee benefits. These can range from health insurance and gym memberships to company cars and product discounts. Many of these benefits have tax benefits, and need to be run according to certain guidelines. An IFA can help you to understand which incentives could make sense for your business, and assist you in the set-up and administration.

Structuring your business – Setting up your business structure and registering as either a Sole Trader, a Limited Company or a Partnership is a fundamental decision that can have major legal and financial implications for the future of your enterprise. An IFA can guide you through this process, identifying any risks and ensuring your company is well positioned for future growth.

Business Premises – Finding an appropriate base of operations is an essential part of launching a new business. Whether you need offices, industrial space or a well-located store, an IFA can help you to balance your business needs against your budget. They can also help you to get the best quotes for commercial property insurance.

Finding an Advisor
To ensure that you’re receiving impartial, professionally qualified business advice, you should only speak to an FCA-authorised IFA with a minimum level 4 qualification in financial planning or similar. You can confirm your IFA’s regulated status by checking against the FCA’s free online Financial Services Register.

Most advisors will offer a free initial consultation to gain an understanding of your situation. Based on this consultation, your IFA will usually put together a proposed plan of action, including a full breakdown of costs for their service.

With all the other costs associated with starting up a business, working with an IFA may seem like an expensive luxury. However, it’s important to bear in mind that a good IFA should be worth more than the cost of their services in the long run, and the decisions you make now will affect your profitability throughout the life of your enterprise.

By John Lucas 

John is the content marketing manager for Local Financial Advice, a free service connecting individuals and SMEs with FCA-regulated independent financial advisors. 

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