Step by step company formation in the UK

7 months ago   •   5 min read

By İlayda Birol

Starting a business in the UK is easy and fast, but that doesn't mean it should be done without some thought. Before you set out to create your new company, there are a few things you need to know about the different types of business structures available to you, who can help with incorporation and what steps are involved. In this guide I'll explain everything from choosing a name for your company through to registering it at Companies House - so let's dive straight in!

1. Choose a name

After you've checked the availability of your chosen name, you can proceed with the next step.

  • Choose a name that is not similar to other companies' names. If it's too close to another company, people will confuse your business with theirs and this can lead to serious problems later on in your business life. For example, if there's already a company called "Above The Clouds", it wouldn't make sense for you to choose that as your company name because people will think it's the same company when they see it written down somewhere else (instead of realising there are two separate companies).
  • Check the domain name availability: You need both these things before creating a new business because they're both essential parts of any successful enterprise! If someone else has already taken control over either one of these things then there won't be much point trying this again later on unless something changes unexpectedly (like if one thing becomes free after being paid off).
How to check company name availability in the UK?
The first step in setting up a company in the UK is choosing a company name. Find all the details about choosing a company name on the wamo blog.

2. Decide the business structure

There are various types of business structures, including:

  • A limited company. This is a separate legal entity and a single individual or company can be the sole owner. Limited companies have greater flexibility than sole traders in terms of funding and taxation, but they also require more effort to set up.
  • A single member limited company. Similar to a regular limited company but without any shareholders or investors - it’s just you! This is an option if you plan on working alone in your business (for example, with self-employed work like freelance journalism). It’s also more useful for businesses who want to keep their assets as private as possible (or avoid inheritance tax). The downside is that your personal liability will be unlimited - so if you mess up, your assets could end up being used as payment for debts owed by the business itself.
  • Partnership/Joint Ventures/LLCs: These are all names used interchangeably here; basically this means two or more people working together on something financially beneficial for everyone involved (i.e., there isn't one person taking on all responsibility for something). Each partner contributes equally into this venture and shares profits equally too - unless specified otherwise in an agreement beforehand (which usually happens when someone brings additional funds into an existing partnership). Partnerships don't come with any specific legal requirements beyond having some sort of agreement between partners stating how much money each person contributes towards running costs each month before profit distribution begins after six months' worth of operation time has elapsed at least once during those six months.

3. Register your company

You'll need to register your business with HMRC, Companies House and other relevant authorities. This can be done online but it's best to take advice from an accountant or solicitor before doing so as there are different rules for each type of business structure. Once registered, you'll need to apply for a VAT number if you're planning on selling goods or services in the UK (most foreign businesses will). You may also need one if you employ people working in the UK for more than £85 per week (or £50 for over three months).

4. Open a bank account

You will need to open a business bank account before you can become an official company, as banks will not accept cash or cheques as payment for your registration fee. Opening a business bank account is relatively straightforward; however, it is important to know what documents are required in order to open your company’s bank account and the location of the banks where you can do this. The first step when opening a company's bank account is to verify that your business name has already been registered with Companies House and there are no existing companies with similar names already registered with Companies House (for example: if one of our clients wanted to call their new start up ‘Amazon’, they would need to check whether any other businesses had registered themselves as ‘Amazon Ltd’ or something similar). If there are no conflicts between trading names then the bank or banking provider can proceed with setting up an IBAN number for future payments from customers or suppliers directly into you business account. Depending on which provider you choose to open an account with, getting a business account up and running can take anywhere from 24 hours to a few weeks.

5. Prepare your records and documents

It’s time to get all of your records in order, because they'll be needed when you set up a company. Documents you’ll need include:

  • The Memorandum of Association, or the Articles of Incorporation in Northern Ireland (this is a legal document that sets out the aims and objectives of your business)
  • A document confirming that you are the sole director with ultimate control over how the company operates. This can be either an appointment deed, or for those companies where there will be other directors, it can instead be an appointment form granting power to act on behalf of the company without limit as long as it's within its powers under law
  • Your articles are not legally required but they give another layer of protection because they formally state what sort of business you intend to run and what type of work you plan on doing.
Step-by-Step Company Formation in the UK as a non-resident
Do you need to establish a company in the UK even though you are a non-resident? All details about company formation in the uk are on wamo blog.

Create and register your company easily with wamo - and get a business account at the same time

If you are looking to launch a business, or expand your business, in the UK - wamo will be offering this feature by the end of October (in a couple of weeks). The advantage of this is that you can go immediately on to open a business account with wamo at the same time - two birds with one stone. Whether you are a UK resident or not, with wamo, the entire company formation process can be completed in just 2 days! When you open your wamo business account you will be able to choose between GBP and EUR IBANs for your main account and every sub-account your open - meaning that you will be able to start doing business in GBP through your UK registered company fast and easily. To register your UK company and to open a wamo business account - download wamo business from Google Play or the App Store.


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