The FreeAgent Blog

We're crowdfunding!

Posted on 21 May 2015 by 0 Comments

FreeAgent is crowdfunding

Today marks a very exciting milestone in the history of FreeAgent - we’re delighted to announce the launch of our very first crowdfunding campaign!

Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular way of making it easy for people to invest in entrepreneurial businesses and we’ve chosen to raise finance in this way as we think it’s really important for our customers to have the opportunity to get involved.

We’re seeking to raise at least £1m to help accelerate both our product development and growth, and transform the way even more of the UK’s 5 million freelancers and micro-businesses think about their finances. The only way to participate in the crowdfunding is through our FCA-authorised partner Seedrs, the largest crowdfunding platform in Europe to focus solely on equity investments.

You can find out about the campaign over on our Seedrs page.

Investors could be eligible for Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) tax relief, the government scheme which potentially allows qualifying investors to claim up to 30% tax relief on investments. You can check out HMRC’s EIS guidance for more information about this.

I’ll be hosting a webinar next Thursday where I’ll be talking about FreeAgent and the accounting software market - it’d be great to have you along.

These are exciting times for us and I’m really looking forward to seeing FreeAgent take the next leap forward in our mission to "Democratise Accounting".

NB: This page does not, and is not intended to, constitute an offer to acquire shares. All activities relating to the promotion and offer of shares will be carried out by Seedrs, and not by FreeAgent.

Your P45 is ready!

Posted on 13 May 2015 by 0 Comments

Goodbyes are never easy, but with the ability to automatically generate P45s for leaving employees, at least the admin doesn’t have to be traumatic. Sniff.

In another addition to our integrated accounting and payroll platform, you can now automatically generate the P45 forms required when an employee leaves your business.

P45 downloaded from FreeAgent

How it works

You mark an employee as having left by editing their payroll profile and setting the leaving date. This will mean the P45 is now available in the Salary section for that employee.

selecting yes to the question

The P45 contains copies for the leaving employee and their new employer, and can be downloaded as a PDF.

Now all that remains are some hastily bought leaving gifts, a few stilted goodbyes and the memories of that Christmas party. So put on your brave face and wish the dearly departed all the best in their new endeavours.

And I promised myself I wouldn’t cry,
Roan and the team at FreeAgent

A guide to business insurance for sole traders from Simply Business

Posted on 16 April 2015 by FreeAgent Guest Blog – 0 Comments

Jade Wimdledon from Simply Business

If you run your business as a sole trader, you might assume that business insurance is something you don’t need to worry about. But there are several policies that could help you keep your business running if something goes wrong. Here, Jade Wimbledon from online business insurance provider Simply Business explains the key types of cover and the factors to consider when insuring your business.

Types of insurance cover for sole traders

Professional indemnity

Professional indemnity cover is likely to be one of your main insurance considerations as a sole trader. It covers you if your client seeks compensation because they think you’ve made a mistake in your work. This might include mishandling data, giving faulty advice or violating intellectual property rights.

Professional indemnity cover is particularly important if you offer professional advice, so if you work in a field like accountancy, design or IT consultancy you should give it some serious thought. Clients may want to check your level of professional indemnity cover before they begin working with you. It’s good practice to find out whether they require you to have a minimum cover level before you start working with them.

Public liability

Public liability cover protects you against compensation claims made for damage or injury to a customer or member of the public. It’s not just for big businesses or those that do dangerous work; if you interact with the public in any way as part of your work, then this cover could be crucial. If you run a home hairdressing business and burn a customer’s scalp during the dyeing process, for example, or if you run a small photography studio and a client trips over a trailing wire, your public liability insurance could cover any compensation claims.

Loss of revenue

Loss of revenue or business interruption insurance protects your income if your business is out of action for a period of time as a result of a disaster covered by your policy. This might include damage from a fire or flooding. Usually for up to 12 months after the disaster, the insurance provider will pay your lost income and any additional costs required to keep your business running.

Business equipment

If your insurance covers your business equipment then you can receive money to replace it if it gets damaged, lost or stolen. This type of insurance doesn’t just cover specialist equipment; it can also cover items such as mobile phones and laptops. Business equipment insurance can come in really handy if you need to replace your business tools and technology quickly and with minimal disruption to your business.

Employers’ liability

If you’re an employer, it’s likely that you’re legally obliged to have an employers’ liability policy for at least £5 million. This insurance covers you if an employee makes a compensation claim for injury or illness that they blame on their work. If you’re legally obliged to have an employer’s liability policy, you can be fined up to £2,500 for each day that you don’t have one in place.

There are certain circumstances in which an employer might not be legally obliged to have an employer’s liability policy in place (e.g. when employing family members). To find out more, check out the advice on gov.uk.

Top tips for buying insurance

Now you know what some of the options are, here are some factors to consider when it comes to insuring your business:

  • Consider the events that could seriously impact your business and estimate the costs that you could incur if the worst happened.
  • Check your client contracts and see whether they insist on particular cover and whether they specify a cover limit.
  • Think about combining several types of cover to create a single business insurance policy.
  • Aim to get a well-tailored policy so that you’re not paying over the odds for insurance that’s better suited to big businesses.
  • Always read your policy documents carefully so that you understand what’s covered and what isn’t and how to make a claim.
  • When you apply for insurance, be honest and accurate with your details and keep your insurer up to date if anything changes. If you don’t, you may not be fully covered when you come to make a claim.
Mathew Aitken, Head of Content at Made Simple

Mathew Aitken is Head of Content at MadeSimple, who offer business products and services to start-up companies and small businesses.

Since MadeSimple began in 2002, one of our services - Company Formation MadeSimple - has helped form over 400,000 start-up business in the UK. This has given us a fascinating insight into some of the entrepreneurs who have driven the UK’s recent start-up boom.

Here are some of the facts and figures we found when we looked at 240,000 limited company directors who started new businesses in 2012 -2014.

Say hello to the Smiths!

It will probably come as no surprise that the most popular surname among both the male and female directors of the UK start-up businesses in our group is Smith. Other popular surnames for both male and female directors include Singh, Williams and Taylor.

popular surnames of directors

The names in our list are popular across the entire UK; check out this interactive map from The Guardian, which breaks down the most popular surnames by region, to find out more.

The gender gap persists

When we looked at our group of UK start-up directors, we found that in 2014 the ratio of male to female directors was 73% to 27%. This is very similar to the ratio we found in both 2013 and 2012.

gender split of directors

Most of the directors started businesses in their 30s

The age range of the directors we looked at suggests that the entrepreneurial spark has no real age limit. Our youngest director was just 16 (the minimum legal age for a UK limited company director), while the oldest was an extremely impressive 113! The majority of our directors, however, were aged between 31 and 40.

age range of directors

It’s not all about London!

As you might have guessed, the majority of the company directors in our research were located in and around London. However, our research also found that a high proportion of directors live in Scotland, Birmingham, Manchester and Wales.

top 5 entrepreneurial regions in the UK

So there you have it: just some of the insights we gained into the entrepreneurs who started new UK companies between 2012 and 2014. To learn more about our findings, take a look at our full report.

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