Companies House can be defined as the primary registrar of limited firms operating in the United Kingdom.
The primary function of Companies House is to incorporate as well as dissolve limited firms (including LLPs) in the UK, as per the 2006 Companies Act governing all matters associated with company registration in the United Kingdom.
Furthermore, Companies House examines, stores, and also updates company information, which includes annual filings, for example, confirmation statements and annual accounts.
The data is made available by the registrar in the public domain. They are also responsible for prosecuting company directors and eliminating non-compliant agencies from the register.
Locations and Jurisdiction of Companies House
There are presently three independent legal systems operating in the UK:
1. England and Wales,
2. Northern Ireland,
Therefore, Companies House operates in three different branches, each one dealing with firms incorporated in their individual jurisdictions. Companies House also has a fourth office situated in London, however, this serves simply as an information exchange bridge where a person can file and deliver various documents and look for services performed in the United Kingdom.
The Companies House branch in Cardiff manages companies that register in England and Wales. Therefore, they’re required to abide by English Law.
The Edinburgh Office of Companies House manages companies registered in Scotland that must abide by Scottish Law.
The Belfast Office looks after companies that register in Northern Ireland under Northern Irish law.
Which Companies House office should I consider?
Whilst establishing a limited firm in the United Kingdom, the place where you register your official company address decides which of the branches of Companies House will incorporate and store your company records. It also determines which legal system in the United Kingdom the company will be subject to during the entire course of its operation:
- If a business has its office registered in England and Wales, it will most likely be registered at Companies House in Cardiff.
- If a business has its office registered in Scotland, it will most likely be registered at Companies House in Edinburgh.
- If a business has its office registered in Northern Ireland, it will most likely be registered at Companies House in Belfast.
Remember, however, that limited firms may also base their undertakings in multiple or any of the jurisdictions in the UK. The only requirement is that the official company address must be located in the country of incorporation while the company is running.
What type of information will be stored at Companies House?
Companies House stored a considerable amount of information in the year 2018 alone, where it peaked at holding data on almost 4.1 million companies. By making sure the information is reliable and as up-to-date as possible, Companies House ensures a culture of business transparency is maintained within the UK.
The stats along with other information offered is extensively utilised by members, government, businesses, and public agencies.
Once a company forms itself into a legal organisation, either through a broker or directly with a registrar, it needs to provide various details, communicate with Companies House with regard to changes after incorporation, as well as file essential documents on an annual basis.
Companies House primarily stores:
- Date when the company was incorporated.
- Name and registration ID of the company.
- Whether a company is limited by shares/guarantee or is an LLP.
- Physical company address that’s officially registered.
- Information about company secretaries, board directors, guarantors, PSCs, and partners. These include other past/present appointments of the company organised by each person.
- SIC codes.
- Any modifications made to the appointments and details of a firm.
- Confirmation statements and annual accounts.
- Notifications of missed/delayed statutory document filings.
- Insolvency data.
- Mortgage charge data.
- Voluntary/compulsory strike-off.
- Directors who have been previously disqualified.
- Information about companies that are already dissolved.
The information above is freely available to the public and hence invaluable to those who want to make sure a specific business is reputable and genuine. Plus, it also offers valuable data to other departments, like HMRC, The Crime Agency, Police, etc. A substantial amount of statistical information is also offered by the registrar that enables:
the UK government to realise the potential impact of changes in policy and study the effects that economic changes have on companies.
banking organisations to analyse their corporate consumer base.
other firms to understand and research their share in the market in addition to planning marketing tactics accordingly.
multinational firms to make important decisions on relevant UK locations.
public agencies to decide as well as evaluate business-related guidelines.
Services Offered by the Companies House
Along with incorporation services, a number of digital facilities are also offered by Companies House that easily allow business owners to manage their company online, and access information on other limited firms based in the United Kingdom and the individuals who control them.
In order to search the company register, find information on any limited firm within the UK (which includes dissolved firms and disqualified company directors), and download images of documents, you can use the Registrar services or WebCheck.
Finding Your CRN or Company Registration Number
Using the feature ‘Follow’ that’s already included in Companies House Service, users are able to register their information to receive free notifications of company filings. It also offers an instant alert when accepted documents are filed by a registered LP that you ‘follow’. You can also download copies of the document(s)at no additional cost.
Similarly, you can access company details any time you want using the official mobile app of Companies House.
Filing company information
The WebFiling service offered by Companies House can be used for filing company documents and other information on the web for a business that is managed/owned by you.
The above facility is offered to all limited firms within the United Kingdom. It allows secure confirmation statements and account delivery, along with notifications of modifications to company information. Likewise, you can consider using WebFiling to receive email alerts of filing deadlines.
Very soon, Companies House Service will most likely start offering comprehensive filing services in order to take over the operations from WebFiling.
Presently, Companies House consists of four information hubs situated in Cardiff, London, Belfast and Edinburgh. Some of the services offered at these centres are as follows:
- Assistance from the Companies House support desk.
- A public facility to search and access various digital services for finding information associated with limited companies in the UK.
- Ordering certificates and certified copies of company documents.
- Checking the record of your firm besides filing deadlines.
- Making modifications to the record of your company.
- Requesting filing information via post.
The Latest Changes to the Companies Register:
- Companies House launched a new service in July 2018 that made further improvements to the official register.
- For instance, the ‘report it now’ feature allows consumers to notify the registrar of any issues or flaws associated with the information stored in the register, in addition to flagging suspicious company operations. As of now, over 58,000 reports have already been made using this service.
- Nonetheless, another more significant announcement made by Companies House is that it will gain more powers enabling a complete refinement of the UK register. The changes aim at preventing criminal actions by minimising the odds of misuse and fraud of company details.
The newest changes will allow Companies House to gain more power when it comes to challenging and analysing company information, conducting identity checks on the people who manage companies, and ask for additional evidence that may support considerable changes to an organisation.