Business Structures

Stephenson Smart's business structure planning service can help grow your business.

Business structure planning is extremely important and determining the right structure for your business depends on many factors. At Stephenson Smart we aim to get a thorough understanding of both your short term needs and your long term business goals, and recommend the structure that will best deliver your goals now and in the future.

We have particular expertise in the tax treatment of Limited Companies versus unincorporated structures, such as partnerships and sole traders. We can also advise on share structures and if there are different shareholders, consider whether a Shareholders' Agreement may be beneficial.

The four common forms of business structures are:

Sole trader

This is the simplest way of trading. There are only a few formalities to trading this way, the most important of which is informing HM Revenue & Customs when you start trading.


A partnership is an extension of being a sole trader. In a partnership, a group of two or more people will come together, pool their talents, clients and business contacts so that, collectively, they can build a more successful business than they would individually. The partners will agree to share the joint profits in pre-determined percentages.

Limited company

A limited company is a separate legal entity from its owners. It can trade, own assets and incur liabilities in its own right. The ownership of the company is recognised by owning shares in that company. If you also work for the company, you are both the owner (shareholder) and an employee of that company. When a company generates profits, they are the company's property.

Limited liability partnership

A limited liability partnership is legally similar to a company. It is administered like a company in all aspects apart from taxation. In this, it is treated like a partnership. They are particularly suitable for medium and large-sized partnerships.

Our team in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire will help you with your business structure planning to allow your company to grow and flourish whilst maximising your profit.

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