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Beware The Copycats: Choose Your UAE Company Formation Specialist Wisely Your chosen company formation specialist must possess a good understanding of the UAE regulatory and corporate landscape, and keep on top of changes in legislation, new trends and other factors that could affect your chances of business success.

By Geoff Rapp

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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You've decided to set up a company in the UAE. Great decision! You'll be able to benefit from 100% company ownership, 0% corporation and personal tax, 100% repatriation of capital and profits, no currency restrictions and 100% import and export tax exemption.

However, the technical, legal, administrative and financial aspects of setting up a UAE business can present some challenges. As a result of this, many aspiring entrepreneurs choose to enlist the support of a company formation specialist. But not all company formation specialists are equal. Choosing a well-established specialist is one of the best investments you will make in your new business journey. Here's why.

Why choosing an established company formation specialist is important

1. Setup is quick and easy
There is a lot of information to review when deciding on which jurisdiction is best suited to your business. Location, price, business type, office options, auditing and share capital requirements, to name a few. If you've already looked into the technical details of business setup in the UAE you will know that the process requires a great deal of research.

Plus, the setup process can unveil complications that could derail inexperienced applicants. That is, unless you enlist the support of an experienced company formation specialist.

Bring in the professionals: Company formation rules and regulations vary from one jurisdiction to another, as does the paperwork involved. An established company formation specialist will guide you through the process and make sure you are well-informed along the way.

A word of warning, though. Agents who try to sell you the benefits of just one particular free zone are probably motivated by the commission they take from it. We think it is vitally important to consider the pros and cons of all free zones and the mainland. Not all agents do that, and as a result they might try and sell you a suboptimal setup solution, just to close a sale. The company you choose should be one that advises on picking the right jurisdiction and explains the logic behind their advice. They should then proceed to get the work done for you wherever that jurisdiction is.

2. Financial stability

What happens if the company formation specialist you work with or the free zone itself shuts down due to poor finances? It can be tempting to choose an agency or a free zone that hasn't been around for long, based on the money you can save now. But if the agency or free zone ceases to exist next year, what are you going to do with your trade licence?

Choose the right company formation specialist, not the cheapest: Working with a well-established company formation expert and choosing to set up in a jurisdiction that has been around for more than just a year or so will serve you well in the long term. You might pay extra upfront to set up your company with a leading, established consultancy, but this is definitely going to save you time, money and hassle in the long term. Let's put it into context.

Say for example you have an established property development company such as Emaar. They have built hundreds of towers in recent decades. They have a world-class reputation, solid financials and are likely to be here for many more years to come. Suppose an Emaar employee thinks "hang on a minute, this tower building business is easy!', after which he quits his job and decides to build a tower. Who are you going to put your money with– the company that can weather the inevitable storms, or the one with no track record and no foundations to stand on? Sure, they're cheap, but you get what you pay for!

3. Ongoing support

Having a UAE company setup partner with extensive local knowledge means you have someone on hand to help you navigate through unfamiliar territories. A well-established company formation specialist is like a silent business partner who has been keeping an eye on the market for years and is on hand to take action whenever legislative change occurs, or if you have any questions or concerns.

The benefits of an experienced, local expert: Once your company is set up, an experienced formation specialist will liaise with UAE government authorities on your behalf and be on the lookout to spot potential challenges before they arise. An established company formation specialist will be incredibly well-informed of local and legal changes, ensuring that you and your business remain compliant.

Newer, inexperienced company setup consultancies are still in the learning phase, leaving you less protected and more likely to fall short if jurisdictions change or government authorities demand new information. If you choose a less established consultancy, you'll have to be clear as to where the responsibility for ongoing compliance lies... is it with them or with you?

4. Expertise beyond company setup

Only a few company formation specialists in the UAE offer services and support beyond the setup stage to help you grow your business and compete in your market space.

How expert formation specialists can support business growth, long term: By choosing an experienced company setup partner like Virtuzone, you gain access to a team of experts that can support you with a broad range of services.

These include:

● Guidance through government administration. Covering all the paperwork required for launching and staffing a new business in the UAE.
● 24/7 technical support. Helping you to get set up with a website, hosting, email, servers, backups and cyber security.
● Bookkeeping, payroll, VAT advisory and general advisory/accounting services.
● Experienced brand design. You won't have to spend time researching designers and briefing them.
● A fully staffed 24/7 telephone service for your business.

5. Communication, convenience, trust and expertise

Choosing an expert you can trust, who is able to remove language barriers, work with your schedule and operate within your time zone, is so important when setting up a new business in Dubai and the UAE. Entrusting a local organization with your business formation while you are in or out of the country requires absolute confidence in that consultancy.

Is your company formation specialist up to the task? Ask yourself, do they have the knowledge and experience to do the best possible job for you, doing what is required, when it's required? Are they working efficiently so as to not waste your precious time or money?

Company formation is about more than administration. Your chosen company formation specialist must possess a good understanding of the UAE regulatory and corporate landscape, and keep on top of changes in legislation, new trends and other factors that could affect your chances of business success.

Related: The Do's And Don't's Of Doing Business In Dubai

Geoff Rapp

Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer, Virtuzone

Geoff Rapp is co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Virtuzone. As a member of the advisory board, he’s responsible for all marketing and innovation programs and has helped grow the company to 120 employees with a total revenue of over AED 100 million. Before focusing full-time on Virtuzone’s business strategy, Rapp held several high-profile positions across Asia and the Middle East– at Boeing he was the Regional Director of Airline Marketing and played a key role in the launch of the 787 Dreamliner; while at Emirates he spearheaded the launch of and the company’s global digital marketing unit. Rapp graduated from Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, with a bachelor of business in strategic marketing.

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