Best Business Bank Accounts in Ireland 2021

Best Business Bank Accounts in Ireland 2021

Introduction

If you are starting a company in Ireland it is not a legal requirement to have a separate bank account. However, it is best practice to use a separate bank account and it will make your accountant’s job easier. Having business and personal transactions mixed together is very messy and will cost you more money in higher bookkeeping fees.

This article will show you some of the best business bank accounts available to you. As a startup the core services each bank provides are generic. The main things I would focus on are transaction fees, ease of payments, ability to generate user friendly reports.

 

Criteria Checklist

When choosing a business bank account you should consider the following criteria

  • Cost – Monthly fees and transaction fees
  • Reporting – Year end reporting & VAT returns 
  • Channels – Online banking & Mobile App
  • Restrictions – Is there a limit on transfers. Non EU payments & cost?
  • Startup Supports – Free desk, advice, support line for technical issues etc
  • Security
How to setup a company in Ireland if you are a non EEA resident

What you will need to open a business bank account

  • At least one proof of address, possibly 2 issued within the last 6 months
  • Photo ID
  • Certificate of Incorporation if a limited company.
  • Copy of the constitution
  • Confirmation of source of any funding
  • If trading under a different name to the company you need to show proof of registration
  • Share certificate confirming share ownership
  • Completed bank form (sample questions in appendix below)
  • In general, you will need to visit the branch in person

Bank of Ireland

My business bank account is with Bank of Ireland. To setup the account was very straight forward, the branch manager was very helpful. They have a business portal (Business Online) which is terrible for reporting. You also have to pay €10 per month. I wasn’t able to get statements beyond 3 or 4 months. It was painful, useless for year end reporting. I called them and they set me up on 365online which works perfectly and it’s free. It’s exactly the same as the version you use for personal banking. If you do go with Bank of Ireland ask for the same because their business bank website is dreadful. There is also no mobile app. Max transfer of €20,000 per day.

How do I open a startup business bank account with Bank of Ireland?

If you would like to open a startup account with BOI please click here. If you are a sole trader you can complete the process online. If you are a company or partnership you will need to arrange a meeting. 

AIB

AIB offers a start-up package for businesses which have been in existence for less than 3 years.They offer the first 2 years free of certain transactions fees. They have two banking online options, one is free the other costs €250 per year. The free version is aimed at small businesses while the premium version is more suitable to medium companies. They also have a mobile app. They have a transaction history of up to 24 months and a statement history of up to 7 years. Max payments of up to €30,000.

How do I open a startup business bank account with AIB?

To apply for an AIB startup business bank account click here. You will need supporting documents (details). A director and one authorised person will need to present themselves to an AIB branch with ID and proof of address. Non-residents may need to provide additional information.

KBC

KBC offers a range of services to support businesses. They include: Current accounts, loans, deposit, debit and credit cards. KBC also have a mobile app to help manage your business easier. Unlike AIB & BOI who offer 2 years free banking KBC apply transaction charges. The maximum transfer is €15,000 per day. Currently, KBC don’t offer a package specifically for startups.

How do I open a business bank account with KBC?

In order to open a business bank account with KBC you first need to talk to one of their business partners. You can start the process by clicking here.  They also require the identification of those who control / own the business as well as all legal documents related to the business such as certificate of incorporation and the company constitution. 

Ulster Bank

Ulster bank offer a core banking service. Their startup package is available to companies who have been formed within the last 3 years and have a turnover of less than €1m. They don’t provide detailed information on exactly what service they provide and what information is available from their app or online banking website.

How do I open a startup business bank account with Ulster Bank?

To open a business bank account with Ulster bank click here. If you are a company they need to verify who are and where you live. This can be done with a passport and a utility bill. They will also need a copy of your certification of incorporation and a copy of your constitution. There are three steps, 1. Gather all documents, 2. Complete a form online and 3 visit your branch. It takes 7 working days to process your application.

Permanent TSB

Permanent TSB don’t offer business bank accounts specifically for startups and there are transaction fees. They have online banking and a mobile app. As they don’t have a start-up package there doesn’t appear to be any additional benefits beyond a standard service. 

How do I open a startup business bank account with Permanent TSB?

To open an account as a company they require similar documents already discussed such as proof of identity and legal documents relating to your company such as certificate of incorporation. They list “Memorandum and Articles of Association” but this has been replaced by a company constitution. In addition they also require on company headed paper a list of all directors and their details as well as a list of all shareholders who own 25% or more of the company.

N26

N26 specialises in banking for the self-employed and freelancers. They do not offer bank accounts to companies. You can sign up online, the process takes apparently takes 8 minutes. From there website the app they have makes it very easy to track and categorise all transactions. You can also export all these transactions to a CSV file for your accountant.They also have a desktop version so you’re not limited to your mobile.

How do I open a startup business bank account with N26?

To open a business bank account with N26 click here. Everything seems to be online. You provide your email, download the app, verify your identity and then you get your debit card.

Revolut

Revolut for Business is a business account platform for domestic and international payments. If you make a lot of cross currency payments Revolut aims to get you the best possible exchange rate and reduce costs associated with foreign currency transactions. They also try to reduce paper work as much as possible making your accounting process more streamlined. 

How do I open a startup business bank account with Revolut?

To open a business bank account with Revolut click here. You will need to provide similar information mentioned above but everything can be done online. As per their website the process only takes a few minutes. 



How to setup a company in Ireland as a non EEA resident

How to setup a company in Ireland if you are a non EEA resident

How to setup a company in Ireland if you are a non EEA resident

Introduction

If you are a non EEA resident, under Irish law you can be a director and setup a company in Ireland. There is an additional step of purchasing a non-EEA resident director bond (S137). The other way is by having at least one EEA director your new company.

In this article we will discuss everything you should be aware of when setting up a company in Ireland as a non EEA resident. It will also tell you how you can purchase the director bond.

How to setup a company in Ireland if you are a non EEA resident
Source: https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/figures/eea33-coverage-2

Definition of EEA

The map on the left shows all of the countries which are considered member states of the EEA. They include:                               

If you are a resident of any of these countries you can setup a company in Ireland and also be a director. If however you are not a resident of these countries then you will need to take additional steps.

You can be a Non EEA citizen but be an EEA resident

This can happen because of how a residency status is defined in Irish law. If you have spent 183 days or more in Ireland in the previous 12 months you are defined as an Irish resident. Also, if you have spent 280 days or more in the previous 2 years you are defined a resident. If you meet this criteria there is no need for you to take additional steps.


You can be a EEA citizen but not an EEA resident

Because of the definition of a resident under Irish law this can also have another affect. You could have been born in Ireland, lived abroad for a number of years and then return to Ireland. If you live abroad long enough you can be defined as a non EEA resident. As a result, you will not be able to start your own company in Ireland and you will need a non resident bond.

Non EEA citizen, EEA Resident & Visa Status

If you are a non EEA citizen living in Ireland then you are mostly likely here on a visa. Even if you are a EEA resident any restrictions implied by your visa will take precedence. Unfortunately, a lot of student visas do restrict you from engaging in business in Ireland. Source.

Stamp 0

You must not work or engage in any business, trade or profession unless specified in a letter of permission from INIS.

 

Stamp 1

Stamp 1 indicates you have permission to work or to run a business in Ireland, subject to conditions.

 

Stamp 1A

Relates to accounting students training in Ireland. You can not operate a business in Ireland or be self-employed.

Stamp 1G

Indicates you have completed your studies and have permission to engage in full time employment. You can not operate a business in Ireland or be self-employed.

Stamp 2

Indicates permission to study a full time course on the official Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP). You are allowed to engage in casual employment if up to 20 hours per week and 40 hours during holidays. You can not operate a business in Ireland or be self-employed.

Stamp 2A

Indicates permission to study a full time course which is NOT on the official Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP). You are not allowed to work in any capacity on this visa. You can not operate a business in Ireland or be self-employed.

Stamp 3

Indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a period of time. You are not allowed to work in any capacity on this visa. You can not operate a business in Ireland or be self-employed.

Stamp 4

Indicates permission to stay in Ireland for a period of time. You can take up any type of employment you wish. You can establish and operate a business in Ireland. You maybe given Stamp 4 if you have a critical skill, employment permit or as a researcher.

Stamp 5

Stamp 5 indicates permission to stay in Ireland without limits on the time you can remain here. You can establish and operate a business in Ireland.

Stamp 6

Stamp 6 indicates you are an Irish citizen with dual-citizenship. You can establish and operate a business here.

What you need to start a company in Ireland as a non EEA resident

Non Resident Director Bond (S137)

If you are setting up a company in Ireland and you don’t have a director who is an EEA resident then you need to have a director bond in place. The cost of this bond is roughly €1,999 + VAT. The cost can vary and you can buy this bond from most company formation offices or your accountant can help you with it. 

The bond lasts for two years. The bond acts as collateral for the government if the company should incur any penalties or taxes. It insures the company for €25,000. However, the bond does not cover all fines & penalties. 

Irish Director Services

Some company formation offices offer Irish director services. They can provide Irish directors who can sit on the board depending on your business needs. The cost of this service can vary greatly. It’s more likely the bond will be the cheaper option.

Implications of Brexit

With the UK leaving the EU this could result in UK residents being classified as non EEA residents if the UK leaves without a deal in place. If there are companies established in Ireland with only UK residents they will need to have a bond in place as they are no longer deemed to be EEA residents. There is also the option of adding an EEA director to the company.

If a company is in breach of these rules it can be stuck off the register by the CRO. 

What to do next

Make sure you read our two previous articles, Sole trader v a limited company and How to qualify for Ireland 12.5% corporation tax. If you need additional help setting up a company as a non EEA resident you can contact us by email: hello@accountantpages.ie. You can also contact a number of the accountants we recommend operating in Ireland.

Video: Sole trader vs limited company Ireland

Sole Trader v Limited Company in Ireland

Sole trader vs limited company Ireland

Introduction

There are a number of benefits and disadvantages of each. The best option will depend on your situation. Generally, if you are starting a business by yourself with little financial risk which will generate an income under €50,000 and you don’t need to keep money in the business a sole trader will be the better option.

In the future you can change to a limited company whenever you want. The process is straight forward and isn’t costly. However, it is important you’re aware of the advantages of both as your situation could be different. There are significant tax advantages in having a limited company depending on your situation.

If you want to start a company with multiple people, get a significant level of funding and will have a high level of risk a limited company will be the better option.

It’s important to note, you do not need to have a limited company to have a business. Anyone can start a business once you register as being self-employed with revenue and register a business name with the CRO.

 

In this article we will discuss which situations are suitable for a sole trader and a limited company and why. Below is an example of two identical businesses, one a sole trader and the other a limited company.The example will show the total tax paid, your total salary and the total available for reinvestment.

Advantages of a limited company in Ireland

  • A limited company has limited liability meaning you can only lose what you invest. Your personal assets are protected.
  • In general, a limited company has better access to funds
  • Unlike a sole trader, a limited company continues after death of the owner
  • A limited company has clear legal ownership for multiple founders
  • With a limited company there are higher tax credits available for directors
  • A limited company has a better perception among customers and suppliers
  • The profits of a limited company are taxed at 12.5%
  • With a limited company your salary is tax deductible

Disadvantages of a limited company in Ireland

  • A limited company has higher costs – Company formation and CRO filing results in higher accounting fees
  • A limited company is subject to penalties for late filings eg if you file a return late with the CRO you could lose your audit exemption. An audit set of accounts can cost €2,500 + VAT even for a shell company with 0 transactions.
  • A limited company has less privacy. Because you have to file a set of accounts more information about your company is made public. Anyone can download a set of accounts from the CRO for roughly €12 through their company search.
  • A limited company needs to register as as an employer

Advantages of a sole trader in Ireland

  • A sole trader is easier to setup
  • Less filing required – no annual accounts. (But you still need to do an annual return to revenue)
  • As there are no annual accounts your earnings are private
  • The costs to get started are much less
  • You do not need to register as an employer
Small Business

Do you need help starting your business? Speak to one of our accountants today.

Disadvantages of a sole trader in Ireland

  • You are personally liable for all the debts of the business. Unlike a limited company, you can only lose what you invest.
  • It is more difficult to keep any profits in the business because all profits will be taxed at either 20% or 40% depending on how much your earn v 12.5% corporate tax limited companies pay.
  • You have less take credits than directors of a limited company
  • It can be more difficult to access funding. For example, to qualify for startup funding you need to be a limited company in some cases.
  • Your salary is not tax deductible

Tax Advantages of a limited company over a sole trader in Ireland

The above example shows to businesses each earning €100,000. One business is a sole trader and the other business is a limited company. The main advantage the limited company has over the sole trader is it’s ability to keep money in the business. In addition, as a director of a company you have higher tax credits (€3,300 v €1,350). However, these benefits are offset by higher accounting fees (company formation + CRO annual filing) in year one.

The big difference to note from above are:

  • As a sole trader it’s very important to note you cannot expense your salary whereas with a limited company you can. This will then reduce your taxable profits, reducing the total tax you need to pay.
  • A limited company also makes it easier to keep money in the business for reinvestment in future years. A sole trader tax rate can be up to 40%, 20% (up to €35,300) and 40% (above €35,300). In a limited company, profits are taxed at 12.5%.
  • You may also have the option to available of relief from corporate tax relief. For more information see revenue’s website.

     

Is it better for my business to be a sole trader or a limited company?

The answer is it depends on your situation. A sole trader will be the better option if:

  • The majority of the income generated by the business comes from a service supplied by yourself. eg graphic designer, web developer, accountant etc.
  • Your income after expenses will be less than €50,000
  • There is a very low risk of you having debts which you cannot pay ie there is not risk of you losing your personal assets
  • You do not require to funds to be carried over for a long period of time to be reinvested into the business
  • You do not require funding from third parties
  • If you are a new business with little or no sales

Changing from a sole trader to a limited company

Having discussed the pros & cons of setting up a limited company in Ireland, a limited company will be the better option when:

  • Your limited company will generate profits above €50,000
  • You will need to have multiple founders who will owner shares in your limited company
  • If you will need funding to start your limited company
  • Will you want to keep your profits in the business for future reinvestment?
  • If there is a risk your business will not be able to pay its debts, a limited company can protect your personal assets

Changing from a sole trader to a limited company in Ireland

When you are changing from a sole trader to a limited company you may need to transfer assets to the limited company. This transfer could result in a capital gains liability.

S600 TCA 1997 Transfer of Business Relief, allows for relief on capital gains on the transfer of assets. The assets transferred into the new limited company must exchanged for shares in the company. Effectively, any capital gains are deferred until the shares in the new limited company are sold.

There are a number of conditions, please take note of the following:

 

  • The business must be transferred from a sole trader (or partnership) to the limited company
  • The transfer must be for commercial reasons and not to avoid any tax liability
  • The business must be transferred as a going concern ie the company will continue to operate after the transfer
  • All assets of the sole trader must be transferred (excluding cash)
  • Assets must be transferred in exchange for shares in the newly formed limited company

Retirement Relief on disposal of assets

Retirement relief is available to those who dispose of qualifying assets in a business. The relief gives you an exemption from any CGT which arises on the disposal of assets.

The relief is based on the following conditions

  • You must be at least 55 on the disposal of assets
  • You must have owner the company for at least 10 years

Funding for early stage startups in Ireland

People discussing startup funding in Ireland

Ireland is one of the top 10 countries in Europe to start a company. One of the contributing factors are the financial supports available for startups in Ireland. The below focuses just on early stage startups but there are many more available 1.  The source of funding you should use will depend on a number of factors. These include:

  • How much you want to borrow
  • What stage your company is at
  • Preference for debt or equity
  • Preference for public or private funding

Should you need advice feel free to talk to your local accountants.

accountant-startup-funding-ireland

Innovation vouchers (€5,000)


Run by Enterprise Ireland, the aim is to provide stronger links with universities and small businesses. They provide a voucher for €5,000 to assist companies explore potential business opportunities with a registered education institution.

The voucher is open to all small & medium limited companies registered in Ireland. This is defined as having less than 250 employees and a turnover less than €50m and or a balance sheet of less than €43m.



Feasibility study (€15,000)

The feasibility study grants are designed to assist businesses with research the level of demand for the product or service and examining it’s long term potential.  It is funded under the European development fund. You receive the lesser of 50% of you expenditure or €15,000. If you live in the BMW region of Ireland this is increased to 60%

Expenditure may be considered under the following headings:

  • Market Research
  • Consultancy Costs
  • Technical Development/Prototype/Innovation
  • Salary/Own Labour Research
  • Miscellaneous Costs


New Frontiers (Up to €30,000)

The programme’s primary purpose is to accelerate the development of sustainable new businesses that have strong employment and growth potential and contribute to job creation and economic activity in regional locations.

Support available worth up to €30,000 including €15,000 tax free with no equity taken. It is a three phased programme: Test the idea (part time evenings & weekends, Develop the business (Full-time 6 months) and Implement the business plan (full-time 3 months).




1For a more complete list of all funding is available in Ireland see here: http://www.digitaltimes.ie/irelands-top-startup-funds-and-how-to-get-money/

A business plan : The 7 key elements

business-plan

A business plan can be a useful process which can give a startup clear direction and also ensures you’ve considered the major components involved in starting a business. A business plan is also essential if you are looking for funding.

Elements of a business plan

  1. Executive Summary – summarises the key points of your business plan
  2. Market Analysis – Details on the current target market and buyers needs. Information on your current competitors
  3. Product / Service – What is your product or service going to do to service those needs better than the competition
  4. Marketing Strategy – How are people going to find out about your service?
  5. Structure & Staff – Who are the key people who will be responsible for delivering this product or service
  6. Financial Projections – What are your cash flow projections over the next 5 years?
  7. Appendix – CVs of key founders, Certificate of incorporation, tax clearance certificate.

Executive Summary

Provides a concise summary to the reader so they have a good understanding of what your company does.

Market Analysis

This provides the reader with a clear understanding of your target market, who the customers are, your competitors and the legal factors which should be considered. What are the current market trends? There are a number of frameworks available for analysing the market place.

PESTEL – Political, Economics, Social, Technology, Environment & Legal
Porters 5 forces – Power of buyers, Power of suppliers, threat of new entry and the threat of substitution determines the level of competition within an industry.
SWOT – Internal: Strengths & Weaknesses / External: Opportunities & Threats

Business Description

Here you describe in detail what is the product or service you will actually be bringing to the marketplace. You should be able to demonstrate what benefits the customer will receive and how it will work and why it is better than the competition. What is your pricing strategy (Pricing Strategy Matrix)?

Marketing Strategy

Once your in a position to provide a product or service to the marketplace, how will people find out about your product? You should consider the following:

  1. How will the product or service be promoted?
  2. Who will be responsible for this?
  3. How much will it cost?
  4. 4 Ps of marketing (Product, Price, Place, Promotion)
  5. How does this compare to existing competitors?
  6. What experience to members of the team have in marketing?

Structure & Staff

Here you will detail who are the key staff and what is their role. It’s important you have a person in place each key function of the business. There are frameworks to help with this such as Porter’s Value Chain. Please consider the following roles:

  1. Founder(s) – Provide vision and direction to the company
  2. Product Provider – People responsible for providing the product to the end user
  3. Sales & Marketing
  4. Administration
  5. Accounting & Finance
  6. Customer Support
  7. HR & Recruitment

Financial Projections & Funding Requirements

If you are seeking funding you need to pay extra care with this section. It needs to be very detailed and you need to know these figures when asked. It is very frustrating for investors talking to someone who has no idea of revenue and costs.

You should consider including the following:

  1. 5 year projected cash flows
  2. Financial Metrics – discounted cash flows, payback period, IRR, ROI.
  3. Cost per unit and margin per unit
  4. Cost of sales & marketing
  5. Staff costs including recruitment fees
  6. Premises, light, heat & insurance
  7. Assumptions which underpin the sales figures

Appendix

  1. CVs of Key Staff
  2. Detailed Financial assumptions
  3. Terms for potential investors
  4. Certificate of Incorporation & tax clearance certificate
  5. Testimonials from customers

Links to business plan templates

https://www.localenterprise.ie/Kildare/Start-or-Grow-your-Business/The-Business-Plan/Business-Plan-Template.doc

https://business.aib.ie/my-business-is/business-start-up-package/write-your-business-plan

https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/business-plan-template/

 

Setting up a company as a non EEA resident

If you are a non EEA resident you can setup a limited company in Ireland. You either need to have at least one direct who is an EEA resident or you need to have a Section 137 Non-EEA Resident Director Bond. The bond costs roughly €2,000 + VAT and lasts for 2 years. With the average price of €300 + VAT to set up a company in Ireland, the total cost will be €2,300 + VAT.

If you live outside of Ireland or even the EAA area you can setup a limited company in Ireland.

Definition of a Resident

Taken from the CRO website

?Definition of residency in Ireland, such residence is being relied upon as satisfying the EEA-residency requirement. ? a person is resident in the State at a particular time (the relevant time) if – he or she is present in the State at:

  • any one time or several times in the period of 12 months preceding the relevant time (the immediate 12 month period) for a period in the aggregate amounting to 183 days or more, or
  • any one time or several times –
    • *in the immediate 12 month period, and
    • *the period of 12 months preceding the immediate 12 month period (the previous 12 month period)?

Next Steps

If you would like to setup a company in Ireland please talk to an accountant listed on Accountant Pages or a company formation office. They can organise the Non-EEA Resident Director Bond as well as setting up your company with the CRO and Revenue.

Six Steps to Starting a Business in Ireland

Starting a business in Ireland

If you?re considering starting your own business to supplement your income or to escape your current job now is a good time to start. There are plenty of sources of low cost advice, legislation to reduce bureaucracy, greater access to freelancers and new technology to reduce your start-up costs. 

If you have a new innovative idea or you can improve on an existing business idea there are plenty of resources available to you.  A business is made up of a chain of activities. You may only be missing information on one part of the chain which is preventing you from taking the first step to bring your business idea to the market.

1.      Low cost advice

a.      Before you launch any business please get the right advice from people who know what they are talking about. Often people can have a brilliant idea but lack real world experience in areas critical for their business. It?s better to speak to people who can pass on the lessons they have learned rather than making the same mistakes wasting your money and time.

b.      Government Agencies

There are a number of government agencies setup to help you start your business. One is the Local Enterprise Office (LEO). For a fee of ?20 you can book an appointment with one of their advisors to discuss your business. They will give you useful advice as well as point you to additional resources available to you. They may also be able to introduce you to other entrepreneurs who can provide advice.

If you have a high potential start then enterprise Ireland will want to talk to you. They will want detailed plans on how your business will work including costs and 5 year cash flow projections. If you don?t have a financial background you may need the help of an accountant. They will be keen to offer you support to get your business started.

c.      Networking Events

Ireland, particularly in Dublin, is full of start-ups and small businesses. There are a number of network events which take place each month. These events will give you the opportunity to meet fellow entrepreneurs to get advice. Some of these events are run by incubators which house startups such as Dogpatch. Some are run by volunteers such as Entrepreneurs Anonymous (meetup.com). Others are run by government bodies.

d.      Entrepreneurs on Linkedin

Linkedin is a great resource for meeting other entrepreneurs in Ireland. I?ve emailed several people I have never met before in my life asking for advice over a coffee. I?m not sure if it?s an Irish thing, but most of the  people I contacted were very obliging. If you are not on linkedin please join today and start building your professional network.

2.      Legal: Company Registration & Business Name

a.      One of the first things to consider is your legal business form.  If you are starting on your own a sole trader is probably your best option. Often people rush to set up a limited company wasting money on accountants and company formation fees which is not required to run a business. To operate as a sole trader you only need to register with revenue as being self-employed. 

There are three broad types of legal forms. A sole trader, partnership and a limited company. The main difference between a sole trader and a company is your liability is limited to the amount you have invested into the company. As a sole trader you are personally liability for any debts of the business.  Be careful with partnerships as generally each member has an equal liability. 

In order to set up a company with the Companies Registration Office you need to complete a form A1 and provide your companies constitution (template provided by the CRO) and the ?50 filing fee. You will also need to register with Revenue for corporate tax and employers taxes if you are hiring staff.

Both you and your company do not need to register for VAT until you?ve reached certain thresholds. See this article by Revenue.

b.      When you need to register a business name and how to register

If you are trading under a different name to your own or you company?s legal name you need to register a business name with the CRO. This can be done through core.ie at a fee of ?20.

3.      Accountants: Tax and Company Returns

a.? ? ? You can find a number of local accountants through Google, Linkedin or accountantpages.ie. Please do your research first before selecting an accountant. Get recommendations. Selecting the wrong accountant can be costly if you miss a return. For example, if you miss a CRO return you will lose your audit exemption. If your accounts need to be audited it can cost up to ?2,500.

b.      It?s very important, especially if you set up a limited company you are aware of your filing obligations and what forms need to be submitted. You do need to register for tax with revenue, however until you?ve reached certain sales thresholds you do not need to register for VAT. 

4.      Website and Office Space

Using wordpress will significantly reduce your costs in launching a website. WordPress is a tool which allows you to easily manage your website online. There are many website templates available from websites such as themeforest.net which cost roughly ?45. There is plenty of learning material available to help you get your business started. One of the limitations with wordpress is that it is a standardised solution so customisation will be difficult. 

You can register a .ie domain for ?15-?25 per year (Special offer on register365.ie of ?4.99) and  get your hosting for ?50 per year. 

If your are starting your first business you need to keep your costs as low as possible. If you are starting a business by yourself, generally you don?t need office space working from home is more than sufficient. There are also a number of free options available to you. For example, Bank of Ireland provides a number of free desks: https://businessbanking.bankofireland.com/campaigns/bank-of-ireland-workbench/

5.      Staff & Outsourcing

Starting a business requires a number of broad skills which one individual is unlikely to possess. As a result you are going to need to get the help of others. Particularly if you are also working a full time job, time will be a major constraint. One very useful website is called upwork.com. This allows you to hire anyone around the world. It allows you to take advantage of lower costs of living and oversupply of skills in other countries. For example in Portugal the minimum wage is ?4.38 per hour compared to ?9.80 per hour in Ireland. Just be careful when hiring people for large complex projects. Communication can be an issue as a lot of freelancers are not native English speakers. Also, be very careful when hiring someone to build a complex website. If you do not have detailed specifications then stay away from outsourcing online.

If you would prefer to hire someone locally you can use a classifieds website like gumtree.ie which is free to post an ad.


6.      Sales

The first thing you should do when starting your business is to try to sell before you have a finished product or service. Often people can make this mistake of investing a lot of time and money in building a product. After months or years they finally bring their product or service to the marketplace only find they either can?t sell it or there is no demand for it. Getting people to buy a product or service is often the most difficult stage in the process.  

You can test your product or service by running ads online and measuring the response you are getting. You can also create a template website and see how far users will go in the buying process. You can start creating content your target market would find interesting. Attend networking events and build up your contacts on linkedin. Work on building an audience first before you have a product to sell.


Summary

I hope you found this article useful. It?s aim was to provide very high level ideas aimed at helping you get started in your first business. The main points of the article are not to rush into a business. If you do you?ll end up wasting time and money. Get advice, keep your costs low, get sales experience and try to build an audience to sell to. 

 If you found this article useful or you know someone who might find it useful, I would be grateful if you would please share with your network.

How to setup a company in Ireland

Small Business

A limited company is a separate legal entity. It owners ie the shareholders, are only liable for the money the have invested in the company. This is in comparison to a sole trader who is personally liable for the liabilities of the business. This is one of the major benefits of a limited company.

To set up a company in Ireland is relatively easy. You can hire a Dublin accountant or you can do it yourself for ?50.

To set up a company you need to complete an A1 form and the companies constitution. You can setup two type of companies:

  • A single member limited company (only one shareholder)
  • A private limited company.

Even for a single member limited company you need a minimum of two people. One director and one secretary. The director of both types of companies must be an EEA resident. If you are a non EEA resident you must acquire non resident bond to the value of ?25,000 which costs ?1,950 + VAT. This bond acts as insurance for any breaches in statutory returns to the CRO or Revenue for 2 years.

What do you need to setup a company in Ireland?

  • A unique name – This is to prevent you from trying to pretend to be another company or using another company?s goodwill (passing off). You can check this on the CRO website. Also, if you will be trading under another name other than the company?s legal name you will also need to register a business name (cost ?20). This can be done through www.core.ie
  • Form A1 completed – This can be done through www.core.ie
  • Company Constitution – Template provided by the CRO. Articles of Association and Memorandum of Association are no longer required.
  • Registered office in Ireland. This can be your accountants or solicitors office. Or you can use a private company which charge roughly ?29 + VAT per month.
  • One EEA Director – If none a non resident bond (cost ?1,950 + VAT)
  • One company shareholder
  • One company secretary

It is possible if you are a EEA resident with an address in Ireland you can setup a limited company by yourself for ?50. However, there are plenty accountants in Dublin or agents who can setup a company for you for roughly ?300 + VAT.

What to consider next

  • Please ensure you register for taxation with revenue
  • Please ensure you do not miss any of your statutory returns. For example, if you miss your CRO annual return you will lose your audit exemption. This will mean you accounts now need to be audited which even for a company with no transactions can cost ?1,200 to ?2,000 + VAT.

How to find a good accountant in Ireland

Recommendations

Recommendations will always be the best source to assist you in finding quality accountants in Dublin. Dublin is a socially small city. A trusted friend or business acquaintance can provide a reliable opinion. While most accountants are ethical in their approach to running their business, it is far too easy to ask a friend to write a recommendation only or be selective in adding customer comments to a website.

However, relying on your network really limits your choice. Also, just as a pair of glasses, an accountant suitable for one person may not be suitable for you. Finally, the person making the recommendation will only have been exposed to the quality of service provided by his/her current accountant. There is the possibility of finding accountants providing a higher quality service at a much more competitive price.

Linkedin

Linkedin is a great website for networking with people in business. It assists greatly in establishing the credibility of the accountant you?re considering hiring. You can see their work experience, skills as well as recommendations.

One very useful thing about Linkedin is you can see connections you have in common. Even if you don?t know the person very well, it?s unlikely they will recommend someone unless they provide a good quality service because it will also damage their reputation and Dublin has a small business community.

The problem with using Linkedin to find an accountant is there are many different types of accountants. Linkedin wasn’t created to find services. While you might find a lot of accountants most will probably be working for large accounting firms like PwC or KPMG and are not providing services to a small business.

Google

Google is a great source of information to find accountants in Dublin or any city. Google has both local listings being displayed at the top of the page, advertisements and organic search results. The organic listings will also have feedback provided by people.

Combining Google search result with Linkedin can be a great way to find a reliable accountant. However, it?s important to not Google ranks accountants in its organic search results mostly based on the quality of content and the number of links going to a website. The ranking is not based on the quality of service.

Gumtree.ie

Gumtree is a classifieds website which allows you to post a free ad looking for an accountant in Dublin or county in Ireland. When you post your ad please ensure you include as much information as you can publicly to find the right accountant.

When you post your ad accountants will start replying. You can use Linkedin to do your background checks on those who apply to your job.

How to register a business name in Ireland

People discussing startup funding in Ireland

If you operate a business that trades under a different name to your own or if a limited company, different to the legal name you need to register a business name with the CRO. The process is very quick and simple using the CRO’s core.ie website

First, check on the CRO using company search that the business name you want is not registered. You are responsible for ensuring this as the CRO does not check when you register the business name

Next you need to register on core.ie. The information required is self explanatory. You will also require your PPS number.

When you have registered on core.ie, login and select “File a form”, “Register a business name”. When you have completed all the steps you need to pay a ?20 fee. You print off the pdf, sign and return to the CRO. The process is usually very quick.