Setting up a new business

If you are considering setting up your own business there are several steps you will need to take. Some of the basic things you need to be aware of and which you can use as part of a costing checklist are:

Getting Started

You can get a considerable amount of free business start up advice from:

Your Business Structure

Should you set up as a Company, Partnership or Sole Practitioner? In addition to a short guide for ATT members, we have also produced a more general guide for setting up in business. While this guide is aimed at the wider public and does not assume prior knowledge of tax, members might find that it provides a helpful refresher of some of the issues involved in starting a business.

Companies House

If you want to trade as a company you will need to register with Companies House. Here you will find all you need to know about setting up a company. It is often best to register any website name and related email addresses in advance of your registration at Companies House as domain name companies check Companies House daily to register websites, will register it without your permission and will then charge you more money for your domain name

Register with the ICO

You need to register with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) under the Data Protection Act 2018.


You will need a commercial bank account. To get one you need to show that you have at the least a basic business plan. All the main high street banks such as Lloyds, TSB, RBS, Santander, The Cooperative Bank, Barclays, Yorkshire Bank have business advisers who can talk you through what you need to open an account.


Most businesses need some sort of insurance – whether it be Public Liability Insurance, Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) or Employee Liability Insurance. As an ATT member in practice you will require Professional Indemnity Insurance. Usually the best starting point is a broker.

Anti Money Laundering

The Money Laundering Regulations 2017 create obligations for tax practitioners. If you are a principal in a firm of auditors, external accountants, insolvency practitioners or tax advisers you will need to ensure you are supervised by a supervisory authority to be monitored for compliance with the money laundering legislation. Click here for further details.

Terms & Conditions and Legal Advice

You will need to spend time getting a suite of documents such as a legal policy for your website, Terms & Conditions and Anti Money Laundering documentation for your clients as well as engagement letters

Once you have tailored your letters and added your branding you may also want to get a lawyer to check over your suite of documents.


All businesses need to be aware of tax that needs to be paid. As an ATT qualified person you are better placed than most people to understand what you need to pay however gives you a reminder of payment dates and thresholds of the key taxes e.g. VAT, NIC, PAYE, and Corporate Tax.

Networking and Business Advice

Local Chambers of Commerce offer networking events and business advice.

Also look at your local branch of ATT and CIOT.

If you would like to connect with other members you can use our Find a Member service


When setting up a business you may need a website, business cards, signs, headed paper, compliment slips and a brand for social media etc. Branding and marketing agencies can create this for you. For details of how to apply to use the ATT logo, click here


Most branding agencies won’t print your business cards etc. themselves so you may also need to find a commercial printer who can print your compliment slips, headed paper etc.


It is very useful to get a range of initial photos which you can use for social media (Twitter, LinkedIn etc.) and to send with press releases. It is worth paying a few hundred pounds for a professional photographer to provide you with a range of images which you can use across your branding.


You may want to go to a professional PR agency to create a press release and ensure that you get coverage in the press of your new business.

You can add your ATT qualification to your LinkedIn profile.

Computers and Printers

One of the scary things about setting up on your own is moving away from an environment where there is an IT manager or team to help you with computer issues. It is a good idea to find a local business which can suggest a system of hardware, server etc. which would suit your needs and support any tax software and CRM systems that you are using.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

You can learn about CPD requirements here.