Doing Business in the UK – Your First Year

10 May 2021

Once you have decided that setting up a business in the UK from abroad is the ideal choice for your business needs, there are a number of initial considerations which the majority of overseas headquartered companies will have to address.

Incorporating a Local Company

There are numerous structures through which you can operate when doing business in the UK, but the most common are:

  • Representative Office;
  • Branch (“UK Establishment”); or
  • Limited company

Contact Brieanne for more information on each of the above incorporation vehicles. Your global ambitions should be considered as part of the UK incorporation process in order to optimise your business potential.

Sending Someone Over or Local Hires?

You may see a need only for a workforce of “travelling salespeople” or maybe a more layered presence incorporating various functions and services for your customers, both existing and new. Perhaps you wish to relocate someone from HQ to oversee the early stages of expansion or foresee regular relocations of staff during the life of the business. In any instance, you will need to consider the possible immigration issues and whether an assignment policy is going to be necessary, as well as local employment law, expatriate tax and payroll compliance. A fairly recent development in the UK is a new requirement for short term business visitor agreements (STBVs). More about STBVs can be found on the UK government website.

Banking & Making Payments

Setting up a bank account in the UK can be somewhat bureaucratic and should be considered as early as possible. We provide a client bank account facility for companies that need to make or receive payments fast, allowing you to keep on top of supplier, employee or customer invoice payments.

Rewarding Your New Team

Alongside remuneration planning for any expatriates, you will need to consider what the local salary range is for someone with the skillset you need. You will also need to consider the kind of environment you want to create for your team, what kind of benefits and reward programme you would like to offer and what compliance procedures and insurances you will need in place to protect your business and your staff.


Value Added Tax (VAT) can be a complex area for any company making sales across Europe; however, reclaims can be made in certain circumstances. Transfer pricing and corporation tax compliance are also important issues to highlight and we would recommend getting in touch with a tax advisor who can advise you on your specific circumstances, as every company is different.

Financial Outsourcing

There are a number of UK reporting requirements which need to be adhered to in order to maintain compliance. For example, in the UK, accounts need to be iXBRL coded and there are regular filings that have to be made. You may wish to consider outsourcing your local management accounts and related procedures – allowing you to ensure you comply with local rules and are able to oversee the UK operation from anywhere in the world via an online accounting platform.

Protecting Your Brand & IP

You are only as strong as your reputation. Protecting your brand identity and your intellectual property are paramount to ensure you avoid costly mistakes. Speak to an advisor, particularly if you are engaging local contractors, as you could find your business objectives being compromised if you don’t have proper agreements in place.

How ZEDRA can help

ZEDRA has a wealth of experience in providing tailored advice to international companies and their employees when setting up a business in the UK from abroad. We also offer a Multi-Territory Coordination service to ease the burden of managing operations across borders. We can adapt and evolve our offering to accommodate specific requirements in terms of scope of services and fees.

Contact Brieanne to find out more.

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