What Is Companies House?
Your business idea has been conceived. A business address has been finalised. And now your business plan is put into practise. Throughout all these stages, the most important, and constant, body/organisation you’ll be dealing with is Companies House.
Companies House in a Nutshell
Quite simply, Companies House is the registry of limited companies in the UK, and operates as an executive agency of Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.
The main remit of Companies House is to incorporate/register and dissolve limited companies (this includes limited liability partnerships) in accordance with the Companies Act 2006 in England & Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. This legislation governs all company registration issues in the UK.
According to their domain on GOV.UK., Companies House states the following:
“We incorporate and dissolve limited companies. We register company information and make it available to the public.”
Companies House has the responsibility for the storage and monitoring of company information as well as existing as the platform through which to update you company’s information. Tasks such as filing annual accounts and confirmation statements are done through Companies House.
Companies House makes this information publicly available and has the power to remove non-compliant companies from the register as well as relevantly penalising company directors.
Where Is Companies House Based?
Companies House is a relatively large organisation that employs approximately 1,000 staff across its UK-wide offices.
Since the UK has three separate legal systems (England & Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland) Companies House houses three different registrar branches, each of which exercises its remit with companies registered in that specific jurisdiction. Notably, London houses the fourth location but serves only as a data and information unit; documents are delivered and filed here as well as search services on UK-registered limited companies.
Companies House Locations:
- Companies House Belfast Office, 2nd Floor The Linenhall, 32-38 Linenhall St, Belfast, BT2 8BG (responsible for companies registered in Northern Ireland, which are subject to Northern Irish law).
- Companies House Cardiff Office, Crown Way, Cardiff, CF14 3UZ (responsible for companies registered in England and Wales, which are subject to English Law).
- Companies House Edinburgh Office, 4th Floor, 2 Edinburgh Quay, 139 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh, EH3 9FF (responsible for companies registered in Scotland, which are subject to Scots Law).
The location of your company’s service address will determine which of the above Companies House “bases” handles your company incorporation and subsequent management of company documentation:
- If your company has a registered office address in either England or Wales, then it will be incorporated by Companies House Cardiff
- If your company has a registered office address in Scotland, then it will be incorporated by Companies House Edinburgh
- If your company has a registered office address in Northern Ireland, then it will be incorporated by Companies House Belfast
Note: UK limited companies can operate throughout, and anywhere, in the UK even if it means you practise your trade in a number of UK jurisdictions. However, a company’s registered office address has to remain in the country of incorporation throughout its lifetime.
What Company Information Is Stored at Companies House?
Company information and data is viewable and used by the public, public bodies, other companies, and government. Companies House strongly advocates a culture of corporate transparency and therefore requires regularly reliable company information on its register. It endeavours to store comprehensive company data and information to ensure this transparency is maintained.
Upon completion of your company’s registration (whether it’s directly with Companies House or with the help of a company formations team) your company must provide a number of details for the Companies House register, including:
- Company name and registration number
- Date of company registration
- Type of company (for example, limited by shares, limited by guarantee, or limited liability partnership)
- The UK jurisdiction of company incorporation
- Your company’s registered office address
- Details of the following: directors, company secretaries, shareholders or guarantors, people with significant control (PSCs), and LLP members (including other past or present company appointments held by each individual)
- Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) codes
- Any amendments made to company details and appointments
- Annual accounts and confirmation statements
- Notices of late or missed filing of statutory documents
- Information of mortgage charges
- Information of insolvency
- Compulsory or voluntary strike-off instances
- Directors who are disqualified
- Details of any dissolved companies
The public, as well as organisations such as the police and crime agencies, as well as HMRC, utilise the above information to prevent and monitor important actions. Comprehensive statistical data is also made available by Companies House that enables the following:
- Government can determine the possible impact of policy changes and analyse the economic impact on businesses.
- Banks get an understanding of their corporate customer base.
- Businesses can research and understand their market share in order to devise appropriate marketing strategies.
- International business owners can make decisions on potential UK locations for their business.
- Help academic institutions with their curriculum and business research.
- Public service organisations can evaluate business-related policies.
What Digital Services Does Companies House Provide?
Companies House provides a number of digital services in order to manage your company online and access information. On the Government website, Companies House lists the following services, as well as a link to a customer charter that outlines the standards of services they provide:
- File documents online using the Companies House Service:
Find company information free of charge and search for disqualified directors using the Companies House Service.
- File company information online using WebFiling:
WebFiling ensures secure digital delivery of accounts, confirmation statements, notices of changes to company details, and registration of charges. Additionally, you can sign up for email reminders with WebFiling.
- Find company information online using WebCHeck:
WebCHeck enables access to company information without a need to set up an account; most documents are available as images to download and view within minutes.
- Find company information on our mobile app:
On the mobile app, you can store your most visited company searches as favourites and then organise them by various filters. Some helpful features include coloured icons to help you determine when a document is due be filed or when one is overdue.
- Download company data with our data products:
The company data product is a free monthly snapshot of information for live companies on the public register.
With over 4 million limited companies registered in the UK and over 500,000 new companies incorporated each year, it’s vital that there is a transparent and comprehensive “centre” to access the vast amount of company information.
Companies House Service’s recent “report it now” facility enables customers to inform Companies House of any issues related to the information held on the register, as well as suspicious company activity. Since its launch, over 58,000 reports have been made and you can take comfort in the knowledge that you have a platform in which you can rectify criminal company activity, yet also ensure you keep your house in order and provide up-to-date information when required.
For more information on the above, or for any related assistance, contact our friendly team and you can begin setting up your business address, today.