Without taking the time to properly assess data, a business or an organisation may as well be running blindly. Analysing data and making informed decisions based on their findings can be a game changer for any organisation. This is where someone might seek out an experienced professional who is proficient in the language of data analysis. 

If you’re a data expert with an entrepreneurial drive, then starting a data consulting business might be the next step for you. However, before you start helping your clients with their data, it’s important to understand the legal considerations that come with starting your own data consulting business. That way, your business can be protected while you focus on running it.  

What Is A Data Consultant?

A data consultant is a professional in deriving, managing and analysing data. Without data, it’s difficult to know what is working, what isn’t and what needs to be improved on. When you can find the right data, study it and take the relevant information from it, data can be an extremely useful tool. 

Due to this, data consultants are needed across various industries for their expertise and knowledge. Data is a big industry and as such, there’s multiple different types of data consultants. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on data analytics consultants. 

What Does A Data Consultant Do? 

Generally speaking, when a data consultant is hired by an organisation, they get to work. Their job will often involve receiving the right kind of access to internal systems and from there, they’ll take the necessary information to perform a detailed analysis. Once that’s complete, a consultant usually presents their findings and makes suggestions for improvement. 

Of course, the specific services a data consultant offers will depend on the consultant themselves and the industry they work in. So, if you’re planning on starting a data consulting business, it’s vital that you properly communicate with your clients the scope of the services you offer. In doing so, you will be able to reduce the chances of a misunderstanding. This is where well drafted contracts come in handy. We’ll discuss this in more detail later, so keep reading to know more.  

How To Become A Data Analytics Consultant 

If you’re eyeing a career in data consulting or thinking of hiring a data consultant for your business, then it’s important to make sure the relevant qualifications and experience have been achieved. Data experts usually have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher in their field. Along with their qualifications, they often have extensive work experience in the industry. After which, they usually venture into consulting by either working for themselves or another business. 

How To Start A Data Consulting Business

The process of starting a data analytics consulting business is much like starting any other kind of business. You’ll need to start with the planning process, then move to registering your data consulting business. Once your data consulting business is registered, it will be time to get the right legal instruments and consider legal compliance.

So, let’s start with planning things out for your data consulting business. 

When you’re in the research and planning stage for your business, we always recommend writing things down in a business plan. For some business owners, this might seem like an unnecessary step and hassle. More often than not though, business plans end up proving to be very useful. Writing things down not only helps keep things in one place, it can aid in gaining a better understanding of your business so you can make the right choices for it.  

Once you have a business plan down, you’ll be in a better position to identify the potential strengths and weaknesses of your business. From there, it’s easier to decide what legal structure your business needs to have and the kind of legal protection it may need (although, we’re always here to help with this part as well).

Should I Register My Data Consulting Business As A Company?

After you’re satisfied with your research and planning, it’s time to take the leap and register your data consulting business. The legal structure you choose to register your business with will lay the foundations for it. Therefore, it’s important to choose wisely.

In Australia, the most common types of legal structures for businesses are a sole trader, partnership or company. All of these structures are pretty different, understanding what they can offer is the best way to make the right choice for your data consulting business. 

Sole Trader

When you decide to register your data consulting business as a sole trader, you sign up to be personally responsible for the entirety of your business. As a sole trader, your business is connected to you, without any legal separation. 

Registering a sole trader business is pretty simple. You just need to attain an Australian Business Number (ABN) online through the Australian Business Register. Once you’ve clicked submit on your application, it shouldn’t take long for you to receive your ABN. If you’re going to use a name that’s different to your personal one, then you should also Register A Business Name. After that, you’re all set to operate your data consulting business as a sole trader. 

The ease and simplicity of setting up a sole trader business should be weighed alongside the risk. As we noted, without any legal separation between you and your business, the risk is pretty high – especially if something goes wrong. 

Partnership 

Not everyone wants to get into business alone and that’s fine – a partnership can be a great way to share the responsibilities that come with running a data consulting business. However, we do recommend establishing the ground rules of any partnership (no matter how strong) in a Partnership Agreement. This way, you can protect all partners and the business. 

Starting a partnership is a lot like setting up as a sole trader. Each partner will need to get their individual ABN’s. You will also need to register a business name, unless you plan on using the names of the partners. When you set up a partnership business, all partners are personally responsible for the business. Again, there’s no legal separation between each partner and the business. Due to this, it’s important to consider the ease of setting up as a partnership with the lack of legal protection this particular structure offers. 

Company 

For all serious business endeavours, a company structure is always recommended. Registering A Company is a bit more complex. You’ll need to sort out things like directors, shareholders, company governance and then register it with ASIC. Unlike a partnership and a sole trader structure, a company has ongoing obligations, such as annual reporting and audits. 

The upside to this is that, when you register your data consulting business as a company, it is able to function as a legal entity on its own. Your data consultancy will have many of the legal rights of a person, such as owning property, incurring debt and earning a profit. With this kind of legal separation between you and your business, your liabilities will be limited. This is always a good thing, as it can prevent you from being personally impacted if something goes wrong with the business. 

We know registering a company can seem like an intimidating task, however it doesn’t need to be! With the right legal help, you’ll be able to set up your data consulting business as a company and enjoy the legal protection that comes with it. 

To learn more about business structures, you can access a chapter from our free guide here

What Legal Documents Will I Need To Start A Data Consulting Business? 

After registering your business, you can get to the part you’ve likely been looking forward to the most – starting business operations. However, before you jump right in, it’s important to make sure you’ve secured your business with the right legal instruments.  

Legal documents are an essential part of running any business. Earlier in the article, we mentioned how imperative it is to properly communicate the scope of your data consulting business’s services to your clients (see above). For that, you’ll need something like a Consultancy Agreement. A legal expert can draft one that’s catered to your business’s requirements.

Investing in good, well drafted legal agreements don’t just protect your business, they can help it stay legally compliant. A few other legal agreements you may need for your business include: 

Talking to a legal expert can help you determine which legal instruments are going to be right for your data consulting business. Get in touch with ours today for more information. 

Are There Any Legal Considerations For Starting A Data Consulting Business?

The next step to starting a well established data consulting business is legal compliance. Ensuring your business is following the relevant rules and regulations is essential, as not doing so can lead to serious legal penalties. Moreover, it can hurt your business’s reputation. 

The compliance measures you’ll need to adhere to will depend on your business’s specific operations however, here are a few things to look out for. 

Talking to an expert in Regulatory Compliance can give you a better idea of what you need to know, so get in touch with ours today for a chat. 

Next Steps 

Starting a data consulting business is an exciting business endeavour, however it’s crucial to take care of all the legal considerations. Protecting your business is essential for its success – reaching out to one of our legal experts is always a good idea. To summarise what we’ve discussed:   

  • Data consultants play a crucial role in helping organisations make informed decisions based on data analysis
  • A data consultant, particularly in data analytics, is responsible for obtaining access to internal systems, conducting detailed analyses, and presenting findings with improvement recommendations
  • To become a data analytics consultant, one typically needs relevant qualifications, such as a bachelor’s degree, and extensive work experience in the field
  • Starting a data consulting business involves careful planning, registration and consideration of legal structures like sole trader, partnership or company
  • Sole trader registration is simple but comes with high personal liability, while a partnership involves shared responsibilities without legal separation
  • Registering a data consulting business as a company provides legal separation, limiting personal liabilities but involves more complexity with ongoing obligations and registration 
  • Essential legal documents for a data consulting business include a Consultancy Agreement, Privacy Policy, Disclaimer, Shareholders Agreement, Website Terms and Conditions and Employment Agreement to ensure legal compliance and protection 

If you would like a consultation on starting a data consulting business, you can reach us at 1800 730 617 or team@sprintlaw.com.au for a free, no-obligations chat.

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