Establishing a Business in Finland
"The objective of the Government's economic policy is to create a framework that will foster company start-up, growth and internationalization." Prime Minister's Office
Jump Down to:
- Types of Business in Finland
- Enterprise Finland - Establishing a Business
- The Finnish Business Information System (BIS)
- The Finnish Patent and Registration Office - Trade Register
- Online Forms, Notices and Applications
- Opening a Finnish Corporate Bank Account
- Additional Information
Introduction & Types of Business
Finland is an easy place for entrepreneurs to get started, and many types of help are available. Setting up a business can be a good way for immigrants to find work; there are some 6,500 businesses operating in Finland which have been established by people who have moved from abroad.
Business can be conducted as a private trader, as a partnership or limited liability company formed of one or more individuals or legal entities, or as a co-operative. A foreign entrepreneur may also establish a branch of their business in Finland. In certain circumstances, those not resident/domiciled in the EEA need a permit from the National Board
Enterprises must submit a basic declaration to the trade register using the start-up notification, with which they may also apply for registration in the trade register, employer register, prepayment register and/or VAT register; details below.
Finnish accounting firm Rantalainen Oy have prepared a useful English-language document Starting a Business in Finland outlining:
- The Finnish legal system
- Legal aspects: General
- Key legal dimensions of the Finnish corporate environment
- Subsidiary or Branch?
- Ways of doing business in Finland
- Establishment: Costs and length of time
- Electronic corporate environment in Finland: Katso-ID
- Download Starting a Business in Finland PDF
Becoming an entrepreneur involves assessing a number of issues, including your personal capabilities, your financial situation and your business's chances of success. You also need to know the legal and tax obligations.
Enterprise Finland offers expert advice for new entrepreneurs. They can help you develop your business concept, formulate your business plan, and take the practical measures involved in establishing a business. Financial support at the start-up stage is also available.
See Enterprise Finland's Starting a Business section. Topics are covered step by step in the Checklist for start-up entrepreneurs, in the order in which a prospective entrepreneur would usually encounter them.
Enterprise Finland > In English > Information on running a business > Starting a business
- Finnish Enterprise Agencies' 2014 guide Becoming an Entrepreneur in Finland PDF
- Enterprise Helsinki Like Enterprise Finland, with details of courses, information seminars, business tools, services - Ar, De, En, Est, Fi, Fr, Ru, Sw
The Business Information System (BIS) is jointly maintained by the The Finnish Patent and Registration Office and the Tax Administration.
BIS enables businesses to report their company information to both the above authorities in a single notification rather than submitting duplicate data to the Trade Register and the registers kept by the Tax Administration.
The Business Information System includes businesses and corporations entered into the
- Trade Register
- Register of Foundations
- VAT register
- Prepayment Register
- Employer Register or
- the Client Register of the Tax Administration.
Business ID / Y-tunnus
A new business will get a Business ID / Y-tunnus as soon as the start-up notification has been entered in the Business Information System. Once you start doing business, you will feel that the Y-tunnus is like Personal Identity Code / Henkilötunnus for your company! The Business ID replaces the Trade Register Number, Foundation Register Number and Business Code used in the past.
Using a Y-tunnus, you can search detailed information about Finnish companies by visiting
Business Information System > In English > BIS-Search
Apart from contact details you will see the form of company, main lines of business, registrations in force, registration history, and more. This tool can help you make educated decisions about whether to deal with a company, and you can ensure the details of registration of your own company are correct.
The Trade Register is a publicly accessible data bank containing official information on traders and businesses Finland-wide. The majority of businesses are limited liability companies and private traders. As a rule, all businesses have to be registered at the Trade Register, and must notify the register of any changes in their details. Most businesses must also submit their financial statements to the register.
Contracting parties can obtain details from the Trade Register concerning, for example, the existence of a company, its articles of association, its representatives, and submission of the latest annual accounts for registration. Register entries are accessible both to the public and to authorities.
Finnish Patent and Registration Office > In English > Trade Register
The required notices and applications to the various registers are used by the Tax Administration and the National Board of Patents and Registration. They do not however need to be submitted to these authorities separately; through the Business Information System enterprises can report their information to both authorities using single notifications.
BIS offers bilingual English / Finnish versions of
its most common forms to make completion easier. These
include Start-up notifications, and Notifications on amendments or terminations of business amongst others. They are available for private traders, limited companies, general and limited partnerships and more.
Note: Even though these forms include English translations, they must by law be completed in Finnish or Swedish!
Business Information System > In English > Notification Forms
Opening an account for your company is generally quite simple. An account can usually be opened when the following documents concerning the company are presented, but due to possible variances between banks you should contact the bank you have chosen to verify the requirements; it may also be necessary to appoint a meeting time:
1. Extract from the Trade Register (no older than three months). If the company has not yet been registered, the extract from the Trade Register can be replaced by:
- a register certificate indicating that a declaration of establishment has been submitted
- documents of incorporation (for example for a limited company, memorandum of association, articles of association and the minutes of the constitutive meeting of shareholders)
2. An extract from the minutes of the company's decision-making body, which indicates the names of those officials of the company authorised to use the account and their authorizations, the decision to open an account, possible lending and submitting of collateral
3. An account of incoming and outgoing payments; their volume and the size of individual payments
4. An account of the company's operations (more detailed than the official line of business clause)
5. Other accounts (e.g. information on companies having shareholdings in the company etc.)
The required documents and information can be submitted either in Finnish, Swedish or English.
- Nordea > Language > English > Corporate Customers
- Osuuspankki > In English > Corporate Customers
- Danske Bank (formerly Sampo) > In English > Business
See also: Banking
- Lawyers & Legal Representation in Finland: Legal advice on business matters; finding a lawyer
- Legal Framework for Doing Business in Finland: PDF Information about the legal and business infrastructure in Finland. Booklet prepared 2012 by Roschier Attorneys Ltd. for the series 'Lex Mundi Guides to Doing Business'. Archive
- Development & Finance: Expat Finland page including information on business startup financing
- AYT - Ammatinharjoittajien ja Yrittäjien Työttömyyskassa: The Unemployment Fund for Entrepreneurs and the Self-Employed
- SYT-kassa - Suomen Yrittäjäin Työttömyyskassa: Finnish Entrepreneurs' Unemployment Fund Finnish / Swedish only
- Finnvera > In English > Starting a Business: Different financing methods targeted for start-up enterprises
- SME Foundation > In English: Promotes reform, growth and globalisation of small and medium sized entrepreneurial activity
*Link not working 01.12.14 - may be down temporarily
- Finpro > In English: Provides services, support & information to help Finnish companies enter the international market
- Ministry of Employment & the Economy > In English > Enterprises: Promotes entrepreneurial activity, including development and finance activities
- Invest in Finland: Government agency promoting foreign investment in Finland, helps find business opportunities and provides guidance
- Suomi.fi > In English > E-Services: Multilingual e-services and downloadable forms from Finnish government agencies and local authorities