Companies House is a public register of private limited companies in the UK. In addition to recording company registrations, Companies House provides a set of tools for small business owners and the general public. Whilst these tools can be used by UK companies for completing administrative tasks like company filings or appointing directors, they can be used for a wide range of use cases such as prospecting or augmenting your own software apps. This article shares 5 key Companies House services and how you can get the most value out of them.
1. Incorporate private limited companies
If you are starting a new business, you will need to incorporate a business and register it with Companies House. The process for registering the business is completely self-serve but you can delegate the creation and management of the company on Companies House to a competent accounts team. A new business can be registered on Companies House online or by sending paper forms by post. During the incorporation process, you will need to pay the registration fee specify a name for the business and at least one company director.
2. Complete your Web filings
Business will need to complete a number of regulatory filings such as filing a confirmation statement whenever there is a change of share capital or submitting notifications when new company officers are appointed. These web filings can be made on the Companies House website and the filing history for each company can be accessed by using the Companies House search function. Using the Companies House website to complete an online filing is very fast and company records are usually updated instantaneously.
3. Search the companies house register
With the Companies House search function, you can retrieve basic company information on private limited companies such as as a company's registered office address, company directors, company secretaries and its filing history including annual accounts and confirmation statements. Company details which can be searched by company name or company number. To search the register, simply go to: https://find-and-update.company-information.service.gov.uk
Companies House also offers other search capabilities including:
- Company name availability checker: enter a name and Companies House will indicate if the name is considered the same as the existing name of a registered business or if it is available.
- Alphabetical company search: enter a name or letter and see a list of companies in alphabetical order for the chosen name or letter.
- Dissolved company search: Search by name or number for companies dissolved between 1/1/1989 and 31/12/2009.
4. Tap into the companies house API
The Companies House API can be used to augment your software application's functionality. For example, you can embed Companies House's search functionality in your app to retrieve registered company information. To get started with the API you will need to register an account and obtain an API key from https://developer.company-information.service.gov.uk/get-started
5. Build prospect lists
Companies House offers an advanced company search capability which can be a great way to find prospects for your business. The additional parameters of the advanced search are:
- Registered office address
- Incorporation date
- Company status
- Nature of business
- Company type
- Company subtype
- Dissolved date
These search parameters can be a great way to find local businesses or prospects of a certain type. The nature of business parameter allows you to search companies by SIC code. For example, if you have a solution for early stage software startups, you can identify all the software businesses which have been incorporated in the past year by using the 62012 SIC code.
You can then download a CSV which includes the basic information of companies which are likely to be good prospects for your business.
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The opinions on this page are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal advice on which you should rely.