02 Feb Corporate responsibility
Any business adviser worth their salt will tell you that it’s not enough to simply have a good idea. To be a success in business you also have to have drive and determination. It also helps to have an eye for detail which ensures that the minutiae of day-to-day business life are not overlooked.
It’s this last area which can cause so many problems for so many start-up companies. When the focus is on building the business and the product, forging relationships with suppliers and strengthening the customer base then it can be all too easy to overlook key reporting dates. However understandable, fail to file the annual return or company accounts on time and at best the company could be facing a fine, at worst the company could be struck off with the directors facing an appearance in the criminal courts.
Then there are the statutory returns to bodies such as HMRC. With the end of the tax year fast approaching, companies need to ensure that they are ready to provide year-end employee salary details within the correct timescale. It may seem like a long time until 31 May when P 60s are due and even longer until the employee expenses and benefits report is due on 31 July but if your records aren’t up-to-date then deadlines can pass in a flash.
When you are caught up in the excitement of building a business, it may seem mundane to break off in order to complete statutory returns; but ensuring that the business paperwork is in order is as much a part of the duties of a director as is promoting the success of the company. That’s not to say that directors have to physically draw up and submit all of the returns themselves. Outsourcing employee returns to an accountant or other specialist is perfectly acceptable as is appointing an external body to provide professional company secretarial assistance.
Being a company director is not just about the name on the business card or having the power to direct the progress of your business. Directorships come with responsibility and duty; the duty to act within powers and promote the success of the company, the duty to provide strong corporate governance, and the duty to ensure that the company meets all of its legal and regulatory obligations. How you approach those duties, whether you outsource actions or delegate powers as the business grows, will determine the future success of your company.