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Appearing to clients and employees of your firm as a MANAGER only, and not as the Owner/Proprietor

If when I'm ready to set up my own accounting practice/firm  and then decide to register with Companies House to make the firm a limited liability company, would I have to list my actual name for Companies House or could I just register my company as let's say 'ABC Accounting Ltd.' instead?

 
I was born and raised in the UK, I don't have a criminal record, and I don't want a 'front' for laundering money or anything BUT do I have to use my own name to put all of my necessary registration information in with Companies House if I start up a firm?
 
On a US website, a lady said that someone she went to uni with another lady in the US who told her that she would start up her own car dealership but she didn't want anyone to know that she was the actual owner because she wanted people to think she was only the manager. This lady who did actually go on to set up her own car dealership in the US had her desk right by the other employees, even they didn't know that she was the owner especially as their pay cheques didn't state her name (same with her business cards), she kept the situation vague enough for people to assume that some 'man' was the owner instead by being legally vague about any details without acting illegally or using the dealership as a 'front' for the Mafia! LOL Her car dealership went on to be a successful venture.
 
Would this be legal to operate an accountancy firm this way in the UK? Or would it be better for a person to do that in the USA instead? Please advise. I'd really appreciate it. Thank you for your help.
 

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18th Sep 2012 15:17

Are you a member of one of the august institutes? Is so they have rules about this. If not who is going to be the director(s) of the company if not you

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By akeyne
18th Sep 2012 15:47

Thank you for replying back Bernard

Hi there,

 

When you register with Companies House to make your own firm a limited liability company, you definitely have to list the name of the director? You can't just put down 'ABC Accountancy Ltd' and enter all the details of the company after that? I thought that you had to list all details for limited liability registration if you have many employees (such as 50+ or 100 to 500+)?

 

Would a start up accountacy firm HAVE to give every detail if there's only one or two people on their staff?

 

Please forgive me for sounding obtuse but I just want to find out what I can legally in the UK do for the future as I'm not ready to start up right now! In the USA it doesn't appear to be that difficult, unless I'm wrong.

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18th Sep 2012 15:59

In the UK a limited liablity company must have at least one named director, who is an individual and not a corporate body

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By akeyne
18th Sep 2012 16:18

Thank you so much for telling me that Bernard!

I do appreciate it!

I may very well have to set a Tax or CPA practice in the US then! Or of course I could just start up my firm as a sole proprietorship.

Do you (or anyone else who read my question) know of anyone in the UK who started up their own accountancy firm (as opposed to a bought out firm) who had any particular struggles if they were considered a sole proprietorship? Were there any extra issues for that person to consider as a sole proprietorship firm other than the normal, more obvious issues?

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18th Sep 2012 16:43

A lot of accountants have started a sole tradership practice, all with one major problem - How to get and retain clients. This will generally involve a high degree of self marketing and personal exposure particularly in the beginning so you would be exposed to the world at large in the same way as if you were a director of a limited compnay. What is your problem with this?]

If you don't want it I suggest you don't bother to start  

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By akeyne
18th Sep 2012 17:08

Are there small accountancy firms...

Are there small accountancy firm start-ups that hire a sales representative to take care of their marketing for their firm Bernard (or anybody)? Would it be feasible and sound to try and retain the services of a sales rep during the first couple years of the firm's existence?

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By akeyne
18th Sep 2012 16:49

Thank you Bernard and...

I don't have a problem with going out there and promoting the business at all actually. I'd be happy to do it!

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18th Sep 2012 17:12

Company Law requirements

Hi akeyne,

Just to add to what Michael has said I can tell you that a company formed in the UK must show the names of its directors on its headed note paper etc. There are exceptions, but these would not apply in the circumstances you describe.

However since 2009 directors can choose not to have their personal address available to the public.

As far as operating as a sole practitioner is concerned there are plenty of these about (sorry I'm not one or I would happily offer you the benefit of my experience), From my knowledge of those who do operate on that basis don't know of any "particular struggles", but indemnity insurance is usually proportionately more costly, particularly if you're going to get involved in tax planning.

I'm sure some kindly Accweb members will fill you in on some of the other trials and tribulations involved in UK accountancy and tax practice

Good luck

 

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By akeyne
18th Sep 2012 17:20

Thank you very much Tony.

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18th Sep 2012 17:38

Takes all sorts...

This seems a bizarre way to want to run things (I'm not sure I'd want to work in an office without knowing who I'm working for), but each to their own. But for the record, you don't have to list directors on letterhead or other communications, just the company name

http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/about/gbhtml/gp1.shtml#ch10

9.  Do I have to display directors' names?

A company does not have to state the directors' names on its business letters unless it chooses to do so. However, if it does decide to include the names then it must state the names of all its directors. In other words, a company cannot be selective about which directors' names it shows - it must show all of them or none of them.

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By akeyne
18th Sep 2012 17:43

Does anyone on here know if...

... there are small accountancy firm start-ups that hire a sales representative to take care of their marketing for their firm? Would it be feasible and sound to try and retain the services of a sales rep during the first couple years of the firm's existence?

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18th Sep 2012 22:06

Really?
Is this genuine? You are seeking to set up an Accountancy firm in the UK and you don't know the answer to these questions?

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By akeyne
18th Sep 2012 22:19

Yes this is genuine and...

I never said I'm ready to start up my own firm right away or right this minute but Iwould like to set up my own firm in the far (but not too far) future. I want to prepare myself for every eventuality that may come my way if I'm unlucky, even if negative eventualities don't end up happening in the end if I DO end up being lucky.

I'm sure you or anyone else would prepare for any eventuality if they were getting a mortgage, getting all necessary insurance ready, saving up for any repairs that may need to be done right away or in 10 years time for any property that they'd buy, well I'm sure it would be the same situation for anyone planning to start up their own firm from scratch even if that proper time seems light-years away, six years away or in a few months. What's the difference?

All I'm talking about is preparation.

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18th Sep 2012 22:25

Yes
You are correct I would prepare for obtaining a mortgage, indeed I recently have. I prepared by taking my time, accumulating my deposit, ensuring my income was sufficient to service the debt and subsequent living expenses and then applied.

I apologise if I came across rude. The questions you ask are reasonably basic and to be honest they portray an understanding of business structures below many of the small clients that I do have. Depending on the services you intend to offer You seriously need to consider your preparation. Much like saving for my deposit before I spent it you need to skill up before you begin to trade. If you haven't done a professional qualification then you should seriously consider deferring your plans until you do so.

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By akeyne
19th Sep 2012 00:09

Thanks Cparker and don't worry about it....

I'm not taking anything personally here. This is all about business and what I hope will become my own business situation at some point and a successful one at that. I am currently studying towards a professional qualification right now and my degree programme gives exemptions towards some of the exams for those professional qualifications.

But from a long time ago I had to learn the hard way that there'd better be more than one way to skin a cat. Knowing me if I met two other people who could get away with making sure that their Plans A, B and C were ready to be in place just in case, I wouldn't be surprised if I became the lucky one who'd have to make sure my plans up through H were all in place in case of the event.

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19th Sep 2012 07:29

My advice

Concentrate on your studying and you may learn enough to make better decisions than trying to make them now.

It's nice to dream but don't go too far.

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By akeyne
19th Sep 2012 13:31

Thank you Peter

:)

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19th Sep 2012 09:04

One question still bothers me. Why would you have a problem in having your name attached to the company when the goodwill will be generated by it and you. The clients would definitely want to know that the man they're dealing with is the principal and not just a "manager"

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By akeyne
19th Sep 2012 13:46

I'm at the moment...

A person with quite a few tattoos (a few!) and I do want to remove them soon enough or eventually in order to look more professional. So I'd like to find out, just in case, if I can have the business and run it without any possible feedback negatively falling on the name of the company or the brand after people have seen me and my tattoos (in the case of me not being able to remove as much of them before I start setting up!). I'd like to of course retain power over the firm but appear to look as though I'm working for somebody else ideally. You know....you don't want to freak out your first customers. At least not until tax time.

 

But thank you for replying back to me though again!

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19th Sep 2012 15:38

Dodgy

Something about this doesn't add up!

Nice story about the tattoo's though

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19th Sep 2012 16:17

Agreed

BigBadWolf wrote:

Something about this doesn't add up!

Nice story about the tattoo's though

He's only just joined and coming out with all this.

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By akeyne
19th Sep 2012 16:54

Hey I have a sense of humour!...

But I am legit  : )

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19th Sep 2012 17:11

??

akeyne wrote:

But I am legit  : )

 

You are legit ... yet you want to deceive people???  I think not!

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By akeyne
19th Sep 2012 17:47

No I don't want deceive people...

I don't want to deceive clients or employees. But I want to protect myself from deception from others which should be a natural thing to want to achieve (?) and I want to protect the brand of my future firm constantly. But I don't want to defraud people just because I don't want to become insolvent either.

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19th Sep 2012 19:32

Paranoia

akeyne wrote:

I don't want to deceive clients or employees. But I want to protect myself from deception from others which should be a natural thing to want to achieve (?) and I want to protect the brand of my future firm constantly. But I don't want to defraud people just because I don't want to become insolvent either.

So you want to deceive others so they can't deceive you?

You are weird.

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By akeyne
19th Sep 2012 19:56

Weird like a fox!
LOL thank you though Peter! :)

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20th Sep 2012 13:57

I don't want to decieve you ... but I'm going to do it anyway?

akeyne wrote:

I don't want to deceive clients or employees.

 

But i'd like you guys to tell me how to do it any way?

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20th Sep 2012 13:59

I'll deceive you ... in order to protect myself from deception??

akeyne wrote:

I want to protect myself from deception from others which should be a natural thing to want to achieve (?) 

 

How does deceiving people achieve that?

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20th Sep 2012 14:05

I'll lie to you so you will think my firm is great?

akeyne wrote:

I want to protect the brand of my future firm constantly. 

 

How does deceiving people protect "your brand"

You can't build a brand on deception!

 

You will only build a "brand" if your clients are happy with the service they get ...  if they don't like you (because of your tattoos or any other reason) ... you aren't going to have a brand to protect .... regardless of whether or not you are pretending to be just a Manager! After all you will be the public face of the firm!

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By akeyne
19th Sep 2012 16:52

That's alright...

Thank you very much though BigBad!  : )

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By eve2206
19th Sep 2012 19:27

tatoos

Dear Akeyne

Unless you've got a swastika tatooed on your forehead, then who would care about tatoos? You would presumably wear appropriate clothing to portray a professional image and remove any scary piercings.

It's your personality and character that matters, not whether you have a few tatoos.  There are other accountants out there with lots of tatoos but it hasn't stopped them.  Trust, openness, and ability make a lot of difference.

If you genuinely felt that awkward, you could go in with a partner (who doesn't have tatoos) so you could then hide away, but that would be silly.  You could also consider targeting clients that would less likely be offended, eg tatoo parlours etc.

However, good luck with the tatoo removal if that's what you need to do, and best of luck with the exams.

Eve

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By akeyne
19th Sep 2012 19:54

They're not on my neck or face.....
And their not discriminatory at all LOL but I regret the silly way overdid things. :) Thank you Eve.

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Windup?

This has got to be a windup?  If not then I hope you are planning on getting plenty PI cover!

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Anyone heard from . . . .

Anyone heard from FirstTab recently?

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20th Sep 2012 15:14

Yes - FirstTab is ok

I hope he won't mind me passing on the info. I was worried about him, and other AWebbers were worried and kept asking me if I had heard anything so I contacted him. FT replied and told me he is keeping busy and concentrating on things other than AWeb  :)

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Pleased to hear it

Thanks Shirley

I thought the OP's style sounded familiar.

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