Why is there so much red tape when starting a business?
Is it because business people are crooks? Well, everybody treats you like one when applying to open a business account at a bank (banks are one of the unfriendliest, wasteful places to be after supermarkets). What do they do with the reams of paper generated? Our documentation and copies of FICA and other documents was the equivalent of about three big trees. FICA must be the biggest waste of time since the invention of worry beads. Every time you visit the bank, they take another copy of your ID. The banks can pay their CEO's millions just from recycling the paper that they generate!
Choosing a company name that is descriptive and appropriate for your business is bad enough, but getting it approved and registered is another story. CIPC is not easy to deal with, so I went through The Shelf Company who does everything for you.
I am fortunate to have a good accountant (CA), but it can be a daunting task to choose someone who can add value to your business and inform us of pitfalls, tax and what is going on in our businesses. Most entrepreneurs know nothing about accounting or financial management, so we need a lot of guidance. An accountant that does not take an interest in your business, or a "cheapie" that does the accounts only to please the tax man can cost you.
Registering for tax is easy, but they also have too many forms. The SARS people treat new clients better than the banks. At least they know that here is another potential cow to milk. However, registering for VAT is not so easy. You first have to prove that you have the turnover, before you are allowed to register. In the meantime, you are not competitive as you cannot reclaim your input VAT. You can also not get contracts or tenders as you need a VAT number first. So trade at a potential loss until you can show turnover in your account.
Now there is still UIF, PAYE, EIA, all sorts of levies, telephones and utility accounts. I won't bore you with that. The business owners will know what I'm talking about.