Setting up a limited company will mean more administration and more paperwork than if you are a sole trader but there are many advantages to being a limited company, not least eliminating and personal financial liability.
When a sole trading business fails then the owner is personally responsible for any debt, which can have a negative effect on your credit rating and ability to obtain personal loans in the future. You could risk becoming personally bankrupt if the debts are too high for your to pay off.
If you set your business up as a limited company you are protected from this risk.
What are the Benefits :
Whilst running a limited company does have its fair share of responsibility, and the administrative responsibilities are certainly greater than other ways of working, there are many advantages too.
- Limited liability – In simple terms, if you run a Limited Company you are protected should things go wrong. Assuming all rules have been followed, as a director you will not be personally liable for any financial losses made by the company.
- Separate entity – A Limited Company is a legal entity in its own right. This means that everything from the company bank account, to the ownership of assets relates to the business. They are totally separate from the interest of the directors and shareholders.
- Tax – As a director and shareholder of a limited company you could elect to take the majority of your income in the form of dividends, which enables you to manage your own tax liability and potentially save on National Insurance costs.
- Perception – If you plan to do business with larger companies, it can help if you are working via a Limited Company as it gives off a more professional image. In some industries, it may even be a mandatory requirement as they will not deal with sole traders or partnerships.
- Protection – As well as the limited liability protection mentioned above, once you have successfully registered your company, your company name is protected by law. Companies House has very stringent rules for the naming of companies so no one else can use the same name as you, or anything deemed too similar.
- Ownership and succession – As the sole shareholder in your business, you own the business. However, a Limited Company can easily transfer ownership of shares, or existing shareholders can sell a stake in the company to other parties at any time. If for example a shareholder wishes to retire, or bring a new director on board, it is far easier to transfer ownership, or part ownership, of a Limited Company than it is with a less formal business structure.
- Take home pay – It’s safe to say that this is the area where you can really reap the rewards of running your own Limited Company. The only person you need to pay as a Limited Company is yourself – combined with the tax efficiencies on offer, this means you can keep anything from 81 to 86 percent.
Accounts must be prepared each year but most small companies are not required to have them audited so the process is relatively simple, especially now that the process can be done online.