Are you thinking of setting-up a business in the UK? The UK is known as Europe’s most attractive location for international investment for several reasons.

Firstly, it is widely accepted that it is easier to do business in the UK than any other major European economy, thanks to excellent trade ties with the rest of Europe, a transparent political and regulatory environment, good local labour skills, strong infrastructure, as well as good quality of life and educational standards.

The UK also has a highly favourable tax regime for inward investing companies, offering the lowest corporation tax rate in the G7. There are also generous incentives for companies investing in research and development (R&D) of new products and for companies who derive profits from patents they register in the UK.

6 facts about operating in the UK:

  • You can reclaim VAT on imports.
  • If you are bringing staff into the UK for a short amount of time, you may not need to pay National Insurance. Also, staff might be able to retain their pension contributions overseas instead of paying into a UK pension.
  • For most organisations, accounts or tax returns must be in iXBRL format, so it makes sense for the same person to do your accounts and tax returns.
  • Companies with UK or EU patents can also benefit from Patent Box tax relief.
  • If the organisation invests in R&D, then potentially they can achieve a cash refund of 23.3% of the amount spent on R&D through UK R&D tax relief.
  • Depending on eligibility, UK companies can also benefit from the UK’s apprenticeship scheme – receiving between 10% and 90% of funding for training apprentices.

Over 24,000 businesses in the UK are owned by companies located abroad, with US companies owning more UK businesses than any other country, followed by Germany, France and the Netherlands. There has never been a better time to expand a business into the UK. A weak pound has made it more financially viable than ever for overseas businesses to open a UK-based office. Despite Brexit uncertainty, the UK continues to attract a significant amount of inward investment. With easy access to over 500 million consumers across Europe, a workforce of over 30 million and the joint lowest corporation tax in the G20 (the world’s largest 20 economies).

Why the UK is a great place for business:

  • Turnover from foreign businesses in the UK was £1.26 trillion in 2015 according to the Office for National Statistics.
  • The UK ranked 7th out of 190 in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking (2018).
  • The UK ranked 7th in the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report (2016-17) and 4th in terms of technological readiness. (The report evaluates the competitiveness of 138 economies around the world).
  • Office hours in the UK time zone overlap with countries that collectively generate 99% of the world’s GDP.
  • 40% of the world’s top companies have operations in London – 2017 saw some of the world’s leading tech companies pledge their long-term commitment to operating in the UK.
  • The UK is the number one destination for inward investment in Europe, with the technology, renewable energy, life sciences and creative industries all experiencing an increase in the number of projects in 2017.
  • The tech sector – in particular FinTech and AI is thriving in the UK. In 2017, UK-based tech companies raised more venture capital investment than any other European city, including Amsterdam, Berlin and Paris.

Are you looking to acquire an existing business, enter a joint venture or set-up a new business from scratch? Do you need help registering a UK-based business and understanding the financial reporting obligations and UK tax structures? Do you need to raise more capital to reach your next level of growth? Do you want a new accounting system to support your UK entity or require assistance with Payroll?

We can help you to navigate the complexities of UK legislation and provide robust financial management of your business affairs. As your ‘on-the-ground’ resource, we can handle your accounts and VAT, prepare statutory audits and even act as Finance Director managing your entire finance function, so you can focus on growing your business. We can offer insightful advice and support on your business plan and strategy and assist you in raising capital and structuring your business in the most tax efficient way.

As one of the largest independent firms of chartered accountants and tax advisers in the South East, we have a great team of skilled technical specialists under one roof and can provide our expertise at competitive, out of London fees. We are a member of the Association of Practicing Accountants, UK200Group and IAPA. If you require legal expertise or assistance with recruitment, we can put you in touch with one of our partners.

Client words:

“Roffe Swayne has conducted audits on our UK and Irish subsidiaries for the past two years. Having our headquarters and finance team based in Canada only adds to the challenges and complexities an audit typically brings. The entire process has been extremely efficient thanks to the efforts, professionalism and diligence of the team at Roffe Swayne. We have found them to be very responsive to our needs and questions in addition to being extremely knowledgeable. We are definitely glad we chose to work with Roffe Swayne and would recommend them to anyone seeking an audit partner.” (Richard Mandic, Financial Controller at eSentire Inc)

As a member of IAPA International (a global association of independent accountancy and business advisory firms), we can connect with like-minded people across the world to help our clients fulfil their ambitions in an international context. We have had considerable success helping clients with regional or global cross-border tax issues, audit assignments (statutory and group audits, public services and EU-audits) and simply to gain a better understanding on any topical or fiduciary issues that clients may face in another country.

Our international associates are experts in their respective locations allowing us to offer our clients a competitive alternative to employing large global firms. Many organisations require a flexible, mobile workforce that can be deployed across the world. However, there are complexities with sending employees overseas and expert advice is essential.

We can assist with:

  • Tax planning and compliance and dealing with the local tax authorities;
  • Expatriate administration and immigration services;
  • Relocation and orientation assistance/global programme co-ordination;
  • Outsourced finance and HR compliance;
  • Advice on remuneration and benefits.

When you set-up a business in the UK, you will need to ensure your financial systems are compliant and managed properly. To reduce the cost of employing an in-house finance person, we offer a cost-effective outsourced service, with access to expertise whenever you need it.

You can benefit from our flexible bookkeeping services, management accounting expertise and our full suite of company secretarial services – including payroll, company incorporation and our UK registered office service.

One of our experienced partners can even act as your outsourced Finance Director – providing guidance on funding, investments, cash flow and budgeting.

Find out more about our Outsourcing & accounts services

There are different ways to structure your UK-based operations with differing tax implications. It is important to get professional advice on business structuring and the tax liabilities at the planning stage, so you pay the right amount of tax. As your business evolves, it may become necessary to change the structure. We can advise on how to do this in the most tax efficient manner, whilst meeting your commercial needs.

Client example

A UK business in the recruitment sector had initially established a couple of overseas subsidiaries. As the business grew across Europe it became clear that the head office should be based in Central Europe. We worked with our international associates to create a group holding company and then to restructure the group whilst ensuring no additional tax and liabilities arose in any of the subsidiaries. This allowed them to more easily share resources across the group.

Find out more about our Tax advisory services

The statutory audit regulations are complex for companies setting-up in the UK with an overseas, non-EU holding company. In most cases, regardless of the size of the UK subsidiary, the company will require a statutory audit. Our audit approach is risk-focused and designed to provide management & board directors with feedback and recommendations on improvements to internal controls.

Many overseas clients already have existing auditors in their respective countries. We are experienced in working with group auditors and completing any additional work that they may require us to undertake on their behalf as component auditors.

Our internal audit and assurance reporting is focused on assessing the operating effectiveness of internal controls. We report and suggest improvements to the design and implementation of control procedures in larger UK-based subsidiaries of overseas holding companies

Find out more about our Audit services

Roffe Swayne has a wealth of experience in helping overseas companies to enter the UK market by acquiring a UK-based business. Rather than set-up a new UK-based entity, clients using our corporate finance service have opted for the acquisition route in order to give them a local and strong footprint from day 1. It could also enable a company to add new products and services to its portfolio and cross-sell these to its other territories.

We have a proven track record in supporting companies grow either by acquisition and/or raising finance with commercial and strategic thinking. We are long-term advocates to our clients, continuously working with them to add value, helping them to assess and navigate numerous options as they develop their businesses.

Find out more about our Corporate finance services