Awards 2006: Business Made Simple – best use of internet by a business

aa awards 2006

Sponsored by assetz Fund Management

The brainchild of Howard Graham, a partner with Westbury Accountants &
Business Advisors, the ethos behind Companies Made Simple is to deliver services
to business start-ups using the internet.

The website is one of seven created by Graham’s company, Business Made
Simple, to deliver cost-effective services, from online company formations to
company secretarial and virtual offices services, plus website hosting and
content management.

Graham set up Companies Made Simple having realised that the business
formation market was due for a shake-up. Many company formation agents provided
only a slow and cumbersome service, and charged well over £250. By automating
and standardising the procedures, and making the service available online,
Companies Made Simple has made serious inroads into this old-fashioned sector.

It offers a speedy, friendly and low-cost service. A company can be set up in
just three hours at a cost of £19.99 plus VAT. Currently, Companies Made Simple
helps set up 2,000 companies a month and is growing fast.

The website provides the business start-up with a range of options, ranging
from the basic bronze package for £19.99, through to the more sophisticated gold
package for £99.99, a service that includes fast-track banking and the
maintenance of statutory accounts.

The Companies Made Simple business model can be applied across a range of
services. It has also proved to be a fast earner. The first full year of
activity yielded a turnover of around £500,000, rising to £1.2m the second year.
Projected turnover for the 12 months to April 2007 is more than £2m. Profit for
the next year is expected to exceed £250,000.

The Companies Made Simple site also has a very real value to Westbury. One
hundred start-ups have become Westbury clients, with estimated gross recurring
fees of £160,000.

The judges said that the site provided a good, clear service for those making
the first step into business and commented that it ‘leaped above other online


Companies Made Simple provides company formations, off-the-shelf companies
with bank accounts, company secretarial services and banking introductions.
Around 2,000 companies a month are formed with the help of the service, and it
has almost 10,000 registered offices signed up. Its sister site,, offers mail forwarding, phone answering, and fax and scan
to email and SMS. It has more than 1,500 clients in 50 countries.

Related reading