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Establishing a Business in Finland

Summary: Establishing a Finnish business, Finnish firms offering professional start-up advice and services in English+, Business ID and the Trade Register, BIS - The Business Information System, Forms and notifications, Corporate banking

Introduction to Starting a Business in Finland
Finland is an easy place to do business, for foreign companies and entrepreneurs alike. Plenty of assistance is available, and over 6,500 Finnish businesses have been established by people who have moved from abroad.

You will need to arrange funding, make a business plan, select your company form, obtain any required trade-specific permits, register your business, arrange the necessary insurance, and organise your accounting (see Accounting Practices and Accountants).

Funding: See Development & Finance

Business plan: You should have this for yourself as well as for consultants and investors. Free assistance at Suomi.fi and Business Plan

Company form: Business can be conducted as a general partnership, a limited partnership, a limited liability company, a cooperative, or an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur, also known as self-employed or private trader, acts in their own name - they are not a 'company'.
Foreign companies most commonly conduct business through a limited liability company (osakeyhtiö, "Oy") or a Finnish branch office.

Permits: Certain types of business need a permit or licence from, or inspection by the authorities. Check whether permits or notifications are required for your business at Suomi.fi: Permits and Obligations

Registration: All new enterprises, including foreign companies starting up business in Finland, must submit a start-up notification to the trade register. The notification can also be used for registration in the employer register, prepayment register and/or VAT register. Details below

Insurance: Employers and entrepreneurs alike have certain insurance obligations. See Employer & Entrepreneur Obligations

Note: Setting up as an entrepreneur impacts your pension obligations and social security entitlements.

Starting a Business: Professional Services

These reputable firms provide professional help setting up and effectively operating a new business in Finland.

Definition of Authorised Accounting Firm: In order to be eligible an accounting firm must be a member of the Association of Finnish Accounting Firms, comply with the rules of the Association and meet the requirements specified in the Institute for Accountancy’s rules concerning authorised accounting firms.

Rantalainen Oy
Fully authorised accounting and financial administration group with good reputation, founded in 1972. Expert services include consultancy, counselling, industry expertise and Business Start-up and Development. Rantalainen's online English-language PDF Starting a Business in Finland is a good introduction, including:

  • The Finnish legal system
  • Legal aspects: General
  • Key legal dimensions of the Finnish corporate environment
  • Subsidiary or Branch?
  • Ways of doing business in Finland
  • Taxation
  • Establishment: Costs and length of time
  • Obligations
  • Electronic corporate environment in Finland: Katso-ID
  • Starting a Business in Finland Information and PDF

Rantalainen has over 40 offices and over 850 employees in Finland, with 80+ partners world-wide. Service available in Finnish, English, Swedish, Russian, German, Estonian, French and Spanish - please ask about other languages. International Services cover the whole of Finland, with offices for example in Helsinki City Centre and by Helsinki Airport.

Contact Rantalainen
Kamppi, Helsinki Office: Salomonkatu 17 A, 00100 Helsinki
Map
local 010 324 3100 int'l +358 10 324 3100

Adcount
Established in 2005, Adcount is a Finnish accounting firm specialized in company formation and accounting and tax services for foreign companies and individuals. Adcount's incorporation package makes it simple to start your business or branch in Finland, from selecting the right company form to undertaking the entire registration process.
The incorporation package does not require a presence in Finland and can be conducted by email. For a limited company it includes:

  • Preparation and filing of start-up notification
  • Preparation and submission of all registration documents ( ex. Finnish Trade Register, Tax Authority, VAT)
  • All paperwork for opening a bank account, including minutes of board meeting
  • Support, documentation and follow-up in English throughout the process

Following company registration, Adcount offers a full range of accounting, tax and corporate services, ensuring your company meets all Finnish reporting and employer obligations. Service in English and Finnish. Head office in Helsinki. En, Fi

Contact Adcount
Helsinki Office: Aleksanterinkatu 15, 00100 Helsinki Finland
Map
local 09 4257 8260 int'l +358 9 4257 8260

Leinonen
Authorised accounting firm Leinonen provides specialist expertise guiding and supporting international companies entering Finnish markets, Finnish companies establishing their businesses abroad, and development of Finnish-Estonian and Finnish-Russian trade. Established as Tehotilit Oy in 1989, Leinonen Finland has become Finland's most international accountancy firm, operating as part of the Leinonen Group in 12 countries. Leinonen's local and international services include:

  • Company formation
  • Tax, business, financial advisory
  • Accounting, auditing
  • Payroll management, administration
  • Service in Finland available in English, Russian, Estonian, Swedish and Finnish
  • One hour free consultation for every new client

The Leinonen Group has offices in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Belarus and Bulgaria

Contact Leinonen
Helsinki Office: Malminkaari 23 A, 00700 Helsinki
Map
local 09 5868 410 int'l +358 9 5868 410

Azets
From day one, Azets' is able to handle all your business processes and financial management in Finland. Azets also provides company registration and advisory services, with local and international expertise ensuring compliance with all regulatory requirements.
Azets' philosophy is to turn administrative and business processes into a competitive advantage, with experienced professionals helping clients implement efficient accounting, payroll, taxation and reporting procedures, and online tools to streamline and automate operations.
Azets advises on mergers and acquisitions, financial due diligence and management reporting, and offers group companies support in group reporting, IFRS reporting and US GAAP reporting.
All or part of your accounting, reporting, and payroll requirements can be handled by Azets in Finland; services are scalable and flexible. Service in Finland is available in English, Finnish and Swedish.

Contact Azets
Finland HQ, Helsinki: Elielinaukio 5 B, 00100 Helsinki Finland
Map
local 010 756 40 int'l +358 10 756 40

Jasecon
Over 25 years' experience providing tailor-made services in company formation, accounting, taxation, and business consulting to companies from a variety of fields, from international public companies to domestic micro businesses. Jasecon's Start-Up service offers new clients a company formation package (branch, permanent establishment, or other legal entity in Finland) which includes:

  • Initial consulting
  • Completion of all minutes and forms
  • Walk-through until finalisation of registration

Jasecon's professional accounting services include financial reporting, payroll management, e-accounting, tax consulting, management consulting, administration, controlling, audit and legal services. Service is available in English, German, Estonian, Italian and Finnish.

Contact Jasecon
Head Office: Vapaalantie 2 B 20, 01650 Vantaa Finland
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local 010 821 6100 int'l +358 10 821 6100

1Office Finland
1Office provides a range of business services which simplify the establishment and operation of a Finnish business; all services can be easily purchased at 1Office's Online Store with a credit card or online banking. These include:

  • Company foundation and registration services
  • Accounting services and international tax consultation
  • Legal services
  • Virtual office, meeting room and secretarial services

The 1Office Finland Blog includes helpful articles for establishing a business in Finland.
1Office Finland Oy is part of the 1Office Group, with offices in Helsinki, Tallinn, Stockholm and London. En, Fi, Ru, Est, Sw

Contact 1Office
Helsinki Office: Urho Kekkosen katu 4-6E, 00100 Helsinki Finland
Map
local 0942 450 286 int'l +358 942 450 286  Mon-Fri 08:00-16:00

Accounting Anne Ikonen Ltd.
Full range of accounting services and business formation services including:

  • Company foundation and registration
  • Identifying sources of start-up and back-up
  • Selecting the best business structure by evaluating tax advantages and legal exposure
  • Payroll and payroll tax filing if you become an employer
  • Compliance with employment laws
  • Identifying business insurance needs
  • Identifying needs and benefits of audit services

Tailored bookkeeping, accounting and financial services include payroll services, annual and VAT notifications, tax returns, advisory services, and local and international business taxation consultancy. Service in English, Finnish and Swedish.

Contact Anne Ikonen
Head Office: Salmelantie 3, 04500 Kellokoski Finland
Map
local 050 502 1848 int'l +358 50 502 1848

Suomi.fi: Advice for Entrepreneurs

Government authority Suomi.fi offers guidance for new entrepreneurs. They can help you assess your personal and financial capabilities, and your business's chances of success. They can assist with development of your business concept, formulation of your business plan, and practical measures involved in establishing a business. Financial support at the start-up stage may be available, and information on legal and tax obligations is provided.

See Suomi.fi'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.

Suomi.fi > Starting a Business
See Also:

Registering a Business: The Finnish Trade Register

Administered by the Finnish Patent & Registration Office, the Trade Register is a public register containing information about businesses and companies in Finland. As a rule, all businesses have to be registered at the Trade Register.

Details can be obtained 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 Trade Register

Businesses also have to notify the register of any changes in their registered details, and most businesses must also submit their financial statements (annual accounts) to the register. This information also needs to be provided to the Finnish Tax Administration, but the procedure is simplified with the joint notification procedure. See next section, the Business Information System.

The Finnish Business Information System (YTJ / BIS)

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

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, your Y-tunnus is very handy - like a Personal Identity Code / Henkilötunnus for your company.

Company Search
Using a Y-tunnus, company name or keyword, you can search detailed information about Finnish companies at
Business Information System > In English
Search results appear at bottom of page; click the Business ID for the business you're looking for. Apart from contact details you will see the company form, 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.

Online Forms, Notices and Applications

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 most notification forms to make completion easier. They are grouped as Start-up notifications, Notifications of changes, and Notifications of termination of business and 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 submitted in Finnish or Swedish!
Business Information System

Opening a Finnish Corporate Bank Account

Opening an account for your company is generally quite simple. Following are the documents typically required, but due to variances between banks you should confirm prior to your meeting. You may need to book an appointment in advance.

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:

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.

Banks

See also: Banking

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