What Do I Need?
When you start a bookkeeping practice there are hundreds of things you could do. There are many things you should do, but only 3 things you need to do.
Legally, you need to register with a supervisor under the Money Laundering Regulations, register with the Information Commissioners Office under the General Data Protection Regulations and tell HMRC that you're now self employed (if that's the route you've chosen)
Registering for supervision for Money Laundering Regulations is a fairly straight forward process. If you're already a member of a professional body you should contact them in the first instance. If you choose not to register with a professional body, or can't, you can get supervision directly from HMRC.
Registering with the ICO is just as simple. Don't go through third parties, just go straight to their website (ico.org.uk) and go through their application process. For most bookkeepers the fee will be £40.
You can register as self employed online at HMRC website. It's a pretty stress free process.
We then move onto some of the things you should do. The first, and most important thing here is to get yourself Professional Indemnity Insurance. It's not a legal requirement, but may be a requirement of your professional body.
When you're working on clients books, mistakes can and do happen. Make sure that you're covered for them as they could prove to be costly. When buying PI insurance, don't just grab the cheapest.
If you can, go through a broker. You may pay slightly more, but you don't want to wait until you need to claim to find out that your comprehensive cover isn't as comprehensive as you first thought.
Get yourself a business bank account. This is a piece of advice you'll later want to give your clients too. As a bookkeeper, having a client hand you bank statements with a mix of personal and business expenses will make you want to cry. With so many bank accounts offering free periods, and online banks like Starling being free forever there's really no excuse not to do this.
Register with HMRC as an agent. You'll want to do this as soon as possible as it can take them some time to get your account setup. Register for all the services you imagine you might need, as it can be easier than trying to add them later. You can find more information on how to do this at HMRC website.
Already you will be able to see that setting up your bookkeeping practice isn't something you'll want to do without some funding behind you. Having some working capital will help you to get your business where you want it to be much more quickly.
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