By December 31, 2012 Read More →

Home business in Italy and the UK

How home business is different in Italy

Work from Home Wisdom - home business in 2 countriesRecently Giuseppe Colombi described how he runs a home business from both London and Sardinia. Today he talks about managing both ends of the business (this is the view from his Sardinian villa), and his different impressions of running a business in Italy and the UK.

Hello again, Giuseppe, a lot of your clients are in the construction industry – is this something you have experience of?
Construction is what I love most. In my view contractors, sub-contractors, free-lancers are the best clients. They are not too demanding, they are fun to be with and they pay on time. I know all that there is to know about construction, HMRC rules, CIS procedures, Companies House requirements. I have successfully defended many construction workers from HMRC enquiries into their tax affairs.

Is your home business routine the same in London and Sardinia?
I am sure you have heard the expression working “ON” the business as opposed to working “IN” the business. To grow a home business you need to be entrepreneurial and work ON the business. This is easier done when I am in Sardinia. When I am in London I tend to be dragged back into the business and work IN it.
I have a morning meeting with the staff via Skype at the beginning of each week and work from Sardinia via gotomypc when there is a need for me to deal with more complex issues or sets of accounts.
There has been an important development to my business during my time in Sardinia. I am now often asked to advise Italians looking for opportunities to expand their business into the UK.
What started as a sideline has become a very important addition to the services we provide and I am enjoying my role as an adviser in this area, although this involves some additional travel.

What are the differences in running a home business in Italy and the UK?
The UK is a fiscal and legislative paradise compared to Italy, although things are changing with more and more red tape and penalties being introduced by Government and HMRC respectively. One of the differences is that in the UK there is more respect for people’s privacy and rights. For example a taxpayer is viewed by HMRC more like a customer. In Italy the equivalent of the HMRC tends to criminalise individuals even when they are good taxpayers and an asset to the country.
Italians are very creative, Italian design is a trade mark around the world. This has a positive effect on society. Strangely enough though Italy has one of the most bureaucratic systems in the world, which stifles that creativity at times. This is why I call Italy “the country of contradictions”, design v bureaucracy, style v poverty, hot and cold at the same time.
On the other hand the UK is “the country of standards”. Everything works well when it is standardised. So you have big stores such as Marks and Spencer, big DIY chains, a standard but sound way of building houses, efficient services. People seem to like good methods, but they need to be applied in liberal ways. This makes the UK monotonous but safe.

Giuseppe Colombi runs Best Choice Accountancy Ltd and his clients are contractors and sub-contractors, construction companies and self-employed individuals in the construction business.

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