When you run a business, there are all sorts of rules and regulations you need to follow. Business compliance exists to make sure you are following these rules. While making sure that your business meets the current checks can be daunting, they exist to keep you and your business safe.

This article is going to explore:

  • Business compliance checklist
  • Applicable industry regulations
  • Business and financial regulations
  • Employment law
  • Health and safety
  • General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
  • Risks and penalties of non-compliance
  • Using Countingup to manage your financials

Business compliance checklist

There are a lot of different regulations, and knowing which ones to keep track of is essential to avoid any penalties. Each section of our business compliance checklist has been broken down so you can easily refer to the topics you need.

1. Applicable industry regulations

This refers to the governing regulations of your specific industry. For example, if you operate a food stall, then you’ll have to follow the food hygiene rating scheme guidelines. You’ll also need to make sure your business has all the required permits, licences, and permissions to operate. 

The specific requirements vary between industries, but you should check exactly what you need to apply for before setting up your business. Operating a business without the necessary permits can lead to heavy penalties, like the authorities shutting down your business.

2. Business and financial regulations

Once your business is properly set up, you need to keep hold of various paperwork. This includes registry documents, tenancy agreements, financial arrangements, or anything that could protect your business. 

You need to keep copies of:

  • Companies House information
  • HMRC documents
  • Intellectual property
  • Data protection documents
  • Contracts for your goods and services
  • Tenancy agreements
  • Financial agreements


Your tax payments and documents are also classed under business and financial regulations. Understanding tax payments can be complicated, especially because the tax rules are different for employees and employers. 

Employees don’t have to think about tax too much, since the government automatically takes it from their wages. As a self-employed business owner, you have to make sure you report and pay your tax correctly. 

If you’re found to be non-compliant with tax regulations, it can be very costly to your business. Just like maintaining your invoices, it’s important to keep your tax records accurate and up to date. An example of which records you need to keep are:

  • Purchases you make
  • Sales (including invoices)
  • Bank statements
  • Previous tax returns

Fortunately, this is becoming easier thanks to the government’s Making Tax Digital (MTD) plan. MTD is compatible with various accounting software, like the Countingup app, and should eliminate the majority of tax-based accounting errors. 

3. Employment law

If you’re the only person that works for your business, this isn’t something you have to worry about yet. If in the future you start to expand your business, and want to take on employees or apprentices, then making sure you comply with employment law is essential. 

In order to prove you’re compliant, you need:

  • Employment contracts for each member of staff
  • Grievance, disciplinary, and HR procedures

4. Health and safety

Whether you have employees or visitors to your location, you must make sure that you’re obeying all health and safety regulations. While this becomes more important once you have multiple employees, getting into the habit beforehand can help your business stay safe as it grows.

This includes:

While public liability insurance is not required by law, it is recommended for businesses that deal with the public. The insurance is designed to protect you and your business from costly claims in the event that someone is hurt whilst dealing with your business. 

5. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

In 2018, the EU put the General Data Protection Act in place. The purpose of GDPR is to protect a customer’s personal data, and can affect small and large businesses alike. 

Since leaving the EU, the United Kingdom has enforced its own data protection law. The UK’s GDPR came into force on January 1st, 2021. 

If your business handles any type of personal data, you need to prove:

  • Your business has consent to hold the data
  • Show what the data is being used for
  • Show how that data is being protected
  • Provide people with access to their personal data
  • Allow people to review, amend, or challenge their data
  • Prove that you’ve amended the data, per individual’s request

Risks and penalties of non-compliance

If your business doesn’t comply with regulations, there can be some very serious consequences for you and your business. For example, not complying with Health and Safety regulations can lead to fines and imprisonment. Not only does this affect you personally, but it can also damage the future of your business. 

These penalties aren’t just limited to Health and Safety regulations. All regulated areas of business have consequences for not following their rules. That’s why it’s crucial that you keep your business compliant with current regulations.

Legislation is frequently updated, so it’s important to check if there are new regulations you need to be aware of. If you are unaware of any changes, your business may accidentally become non-compliant.

Confidently manage your business finances

Keeping detailed and accurate sales records is essential to remain compliant, but it can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. With features like automatic expense categorisation, invoicing on the go, receipt capture tools, tax estimates, and cash flow insights, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

You can also share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Start your three-month free trial today.

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