Small Business Advice

Why London is still a driving force for small businesses

26 May 2016

London may seem pricey and overcrowded to set up your own enterprise, but there are still plenty of opportunities for small businesses.

Our own research shows London is still the engine room of the UK economy and there are plenty of places to find an accountant in London to get vital help with your accounts.

London Skyline

Companies House data shows there are 292,568 businesses in outer London, of which 5,176 are accountants. This gives a ratio of 56 businesses to accountants, meaning it shouldn’t be too hard to find someone with the time to help with your accounts.

In comparison, there are 543,446 businesses set up in around inner London and 5,803 are accountants, giving a tougher ratio of 93.

Why setup a business in London?

London is leading the way in the labour market with 4.7million people economically active, many of whom will work for small businesses or run their own.

The employment rate in the UK has reached 74.2 per cent, with female employment at 69.2 per cent and male employment at 79.3 per cent.

The labour market totals around 30million economically active people and the majority will either work for or be part of the nation of entrepreneurs.

But figures show that despite London often being criticised for high prices and being overcrowded, it is still central to business growth.

London had the largest increase in workforce jobs during 2015 at 85,000, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The City of London has the highest jobs density, described as the number of jobs per head, at 84.36.

According to the ONS, London had the highest proportion of service sector jobs in 2015 in 91.8 per cent.

Shop Assistant

What does London provide for small businesses?

The capital could get even more attractive for small businesses with Crossrail completions and the opening of the Night tube.

This will provide round-the-clock travel on the Underground, feeding the night-time economy such as restaurants and bars. Customers will no longer be rushing home to catch the last tube.

London Night Tube

New London Mayor Sadiq Khan is also keen on freeing up public space and land in the capital for affordable housing and small businesses, providing plenty of opportunities for savvy entrepreneurs.

Keir Wright-Whyte


Managing Director

0207 043 4000

About the author

Originally graduating with a degree in geography from Edinburgh University, Keir claims that he was then tricked into becoming an accountant by one of the UK's top 5 accountancy practices.The deception extended to the usual training in audit and associated activities.

Keir subsequently worked in a number of advisory roles with clients including in the energy trading, pharmaceuticals and financial services sectors.

He loves working at Accounts & Legal because of the variety of work and clients, the excellent team ethos and morale, the importance placed on genuinely helping and being useful for clients and because he believes what he does matters to clients and helps the firm.

Keir's primary role is to ensure that new clients with complex businesses or needs are on-boarded in the best way and he is a "trouble shooter" both for clients and where complex issues arise internally. He also helps the accounting teams strive to improve what we do for clients, whether processes or services.

When not debiting or crediting, Keir has a penchant for fixing old buildings, skiing, surfing and cycling.


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