Setting up a UK company: Accountant or lawyer?

Its an interesting question: should you use an accountant or lawyer to set up a UK company? Under UK law, both kinds of regulated professionals can serve this function, so understanding how they differ may be helpful.     

In order to help your set up process, both accountants and lawyers will need to undertake the necessary checks: namely the anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Client (KYC) checks. 

In terms of fees, typically the structure will vary on the type of firm you use: a large central London firm may differ from a provincial one; and the cost will also depend on whether the firm charges an hourly rate or offers a package of support. 

Where possible, a fixed fee arrangement is usually best for all concerned. This approach will generally cover the necessary set up checks, as well as the registration of the entity, along with other typical services such as payroll, VAT, banking support and contracts of employment.  

Lawyers generally charge on an hourly basis, so while there may be reasons to use the services of a law firm, it may end up costing more in the longer term. However it’s worth checking whether you can save money overall by engaging both an accounting and law firm at the same time. We work with a number of UK law firms, and can usually collaborate effectively to handle and share the necessary checks with our mutual clients permission. 

Ultimately, whether you decide to use a law firm depends on what your business is trying to achieve. For instance, if you have a lot of commercial contracts, it may be that a law firm is the right choice for you. However, be aware that your accountants will generally work closer with you on the day to day running of the UK company and associated accounting functions.  

Paul Beare Ltd can help with all of your UK set-up needs. We offer these and other services: