Should I use individual or sole trader?

Where your client is an individual with a first and last name, then you should set them up as the individual client type.

On the Excel import, this will mean using the client type 50 (column C) and populating the title (column E), FirstName (column F) and Surname (G) columns as opposed to the Name column (D).

Regarding the application of workflows, there is no difference between an individual and a sole trader, both types can be active on any workflow system. For example, both can have an Accounts workflow and/or a tax return workflow.

If you find that some workflow systems are not visible on individual clients, or organisation clients, then you can change this setting (guidance here).

The main benefits of using the individual client type are as follows:

  • Email templates, e.g. for personal tax, can easily refer to the first name, as this is split from the last name, without the need to link contacts.
  • Individuals can be associated with other clients (typically organisations) via the contacts tab, which allows them to be the recipient of emails on behalf of that client via tagging (guidance here). A sole trader can not be a linked contact of say a company.

The Sole Trader client type remains useful where an individual has multiple sole traderships, potentially with different year ends, and you require a client entry for each.

You can set up both an individual AND a sole trader, the latter to represent the unincorporated business; however, we generally do not recommend this as it adds extra complexity.

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