Monopoly board game money

Financing your business

Get started with banking and find out what VAT, tax and insurance mean for your startup

Your business needs to make money, whether you want to earn a profit, live off of your income or cover your running costs. Understanding banking and finance is an important step for any business owner so we've gathered some resources to support you. Find out more about setting up before you start training, where to get startup funding and how to monitor your money once your business is running. 


Choosing a bank account that suits your business takes some shopping around. We’ve listed a few options below but it’s worth taking the time to do you own research. 

Choosing your bank account

Many leading banks offer startup business accounts for businesses less than a year old. These accounts usually last for 6-12 months. Many websites will let you compare business bank accounts so you can choose what's best for you — for example Money Supermarket lets you explore startup accounts, interest rates, monthly fees, overdraft limits and perks. Money Saving Expert also provides some simple advice on choosing a business bank. 

Alongside traditional banking you should also consider online and ethical banking solutions. Please note as a University we do not endorse any specific bank accounts.

Startup bank accounts


There are lots of funding and grants available to start-ups. Some funding has strict criteria like the age of your company, type of business or how you can spend the money so you should always check the details before applying. Don't forget to read the small print and make sure to check the terms of any accelerator funds who ask for a share of equity in your business in return for participation.

Funding opportunities

Find out more about starting up how to secure funding:

There is lots of funding available to startups. Browse some examples here:

  • Student StartUp team — We offer startup funding is periodically throughout the academic year to help you test and develop your startup ideas.  
  • Startup Funding Club — Network of business angels and early-stage investment fund supporting UK-based startups. For young companies looking to raise up to £500K of SEIS/EIS funds.
  • Changemaker Fund (for social enterprise) — Funding to help social enterprises, small charities and community groups deliver projects in the UK that create innovative solutions to improve communities.  
  • Britbots – High Growth Robotics Fund — The British Robotics Seed Fund, specialising in UK-based robotics start-ups. 
  • AngelList — A platform for startups to raise money online, recruit employees, and apply for funding. 
  • Seedcamp — Tap into a global network of advisers and apply for funding. 
  • Big Lottery Funding — National Lottery good cause money, distributed to community groups and charitable projects around the UK.
  • Kickstarter — A crowdfunding website full of projects, big and small, that are brought to life through the support of people like you.
  • Unltd social enterprise funding — A range of funding opportunities for social startups.
  • Prince’s Trust — Supporting you to apply for a low interest loan of up to £4,000 for a sole trader and up to £5,000 for a partnership to help you to start your business.
  • Start up Loans — A government funded scheme to provide advice, business loans and mentoring to startup businesses.
  • Informi Funding Finder — If your startup or small business is looking for funding, one option is to apply for a small business grant.

We advertise a variety of competitions for startups and early stage companies. If we think you’re a strong candidate then we might contact you directly with relevant opportunities. Past student and graduate entrepreneurs have done well in competitions like the Young StartUp Talent (Solent Region) and The National Santander Awards. 

Competitions include:

  • University of Portsmouth Enterprise Showcase — Our annual competition where you can nominate yourselves or others for various awards. At the time of writing there are no confirmed plans for an upcoming Enterprise Showcase but watch this space for further updates.
  • Natwest back her business — Natwest wants to support more women to start businesses, so they've teamed up with Crowdfunder to help you get started. They'll help you raise money through crowdfunding and provide free coaching, mentoring and networking opportunities, and could give you up to 50% of your fundraising target (max. £5,000) in grant funding for certain projects.

Keeping up with your finances

For your business to be successful your earnings need to be higher than your outgoings. Earnings are also referred to as revenue, turnover or income, and should be greater than your outgoings, overheads or costs.

Tracking your finances

Hiring an accountant can be expensive (usually over £60 per hour) so it can be a good idea to do your own accounts when you start out. This can also be a great learning curve. 

Once you’ve learnt the basics you can continue to do your accounts yourself, but we suggest getting them looked over by someone trained before submitting them to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Guidelines and support

  • A freelancer's guide to bookkeeping — This handy guide helps freelancers manage their invoices, bills and payments and stay in control of cash flow.
  • Mazuma Money — Accountancy support for startups and small businesses.
  • Addo Accounting — A local accountancy firm that offers support packages to startups.

Find out more about VAT:

Use a personal survival budget to track of your finances and how your business is performing.

Apps can be great for staying on top of your money, and tracking how your business is doing over time. 

Finance apps include:

  • The Slide App — Slide connects to your online bank account. Your balances and transactions are populated on a grid so you can view your online balance on any given day in the past, present and future. As you populate the grid with incoming and outgoing payments the daily balances automatically recalculates to provide a real-time view of how much money is available each day. The app is fully regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and have been providing virtual banking solutions to major banks for decades under their parent company, Cashfac PLC.

Making sure that your business has the right insurance can cover you in a variety of situations. Not all businesses need the same cover so you should research the insurance needs of your particular business or industry to make sure the cover you are taking out is right for you before you commit.

Types of insurance you may need include:

  • Public Liability Insurance
  • Product Liability Insurance Employer Insurance
  • Content Insurance
  • Building Insurance
  • Professional Indemnity Insurance

Insurance providers

Companies that provide insurance include:

Starting your taxes can be daunting at first. The simplest, and often cheapest, way to find out what you need to pay and when is to ask HMRC in person. They are generally helpful and can answer specific questions too. HMRC’s advice is free. They are there to see that the law is carried out, and wont charge you unnecessarily.

You should insist on a written answer to your questions so that you can confirm what you were told and refer back to the information. 

Tax guidance:

Guidance on staying on top of your finances if you're self employed: 

Accountancy support for startups

Get advice on any accountancy related topic by booking a session with us at Portsmouth Central Library. Email to book your space.

Accountancy support topics include:

  • Start-up advice
  • Accessing funding
  • Basic accounts - how to set up basic spreadsheets
  • Responsibilities for end of year reporting/taxes etc
  • What can you claim as an expense
  • VAT advice
  • Tax planning
  • Setting up financial processes and automation
  • Payroll and pension (auto enrolment) advice

Sessions are hosted on the lower ground floor of Portsmouth Central Library. 

Your next steps

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