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How to Register Your Company?

Registering your business with Companies House can be complicated. Why not let us help you?


Why take the risk of getting it wrong using online software?


Visit our website or call 0800 530 0323

So, you’re thinking about setting up a company. You have your market nailed down, you have your product/service and you have a potential client base. You want to run the business successfully, legally and professionally. You know this is how you progress. But you have no idea how to register your business. It seems like a lot of work. You imagine yourself filling out so many forms and spending a lot of time reading up on what’s required.

The only things you know are that, by registering a company that it will be legally separate from you, and your company finances will be separate to your own.

Apart from that you have no ideas. You don’t even know how to start a business, or what you need.

You’ve made a good start by visiting Stride Alley, they’re full of helpful articles on what start-ups need to succeed, and you can find a plethora of information all in one place covering a range of topics including branding, accountancy, marketing and web development.

As contributors to this online magazine, we at Acunov want to make sure that new businesses and entrepreneurs looking to start their businesses have all the information they need at their fingertips so that they can hit the ground running. Stride Alley also showcases success stories of other UK start-ups, and you learn more about the people who are sharing their advice with you too. Now you’re here, let’s have a look at what you’re going to need to get started.

First off!

Register with Companies House. This is essential. Without registering, your company is not incorporated and you cannot continue with the process.

Checklist for registering with Companies House

To register your company, you require the following:

  • A proposed name
  • An address
  • At least one company director
  • At least one shareholder – and the details of your company’s shares
  • Your SIC code – this code is your Standard Industrial Classification code, to identify the type of business you run
  • Shareholders’ agreement to create the company
  • Written rules
  • The details of people who have significant control over your company – for example, anyone with 25% of shares or voting rights

Breaking down the checklist

Choosing a name

Choosing a name isn’t necessarily as simple as you think. But don’t worry, it can be done! Here are some tips:

  • You cannot use the name if it is the ‘same-as’ another company. This includes names whose only difference is a punctuation mark, a special character, etc. for example: ‘Sanders UK Ltd’ and ‘Sanders’s Ltd’ are the same as ‘Sanders Ltd’.
  • If your company name is ‘too like’ the name of a company registered before yours, and someone complains to Company House, you will have to change your name, for example: ‘Easy Insurance Ltd’ is the same as ‘EZ Insurance Ltd’.

Don’t worry, if you have to do any of these things, we can put you in touch with companies who can help you with a company name that will make the biggest impact on your sector.

Company address

This address will be used for official communications with the director. For example, to receive letters from Companies House.

  • It must be a physical address and an address in the same country as your business, so if your business is set up in Scotland, the address must be in Scotland.
  • You can use a PO box but you must also include an address and a postcode.
  • You can use your home address or the address of the person who will manage your Corporation Tax

Even if you run your company online, you still need a physical address, even if it is your home address.

Appoint a company director

You must have at least one director. This person is responsible for running the company and ensuring the company accounts and reports are in proper order. They do not have to live in the UK or have a UK address.

Bear in mind that the name and address of the director(s) will be available to the public through Companies House. However, if the director or their family is at risk due to the work of the company, they can stop their address from appearing on the Companies House register. Companies House will help you with this.

Work out your shares

Your company is presumably ‘limited by shares’ which means certain people own shares in your company. This means they have certain rights and privileges.

You must have at least one shareholder, and a shareholder can be a director. So if you’re the only shareholder and director, that’s fine. But don’t worry, there is no maximum number of shareholders your company can have.

You need to provide your ‘statement of capital’. This is information about the shares held in your company, this includes the number of shares in your company and their value. Their combined value is called the ‘share capital’.

For example: if you have issued 750 shares at £2 each, your ‘share capital’ is £1500.

You must also provide a list of your ‘members’ or ‘subscribers’; this just means shareholders. With this, you need to break down the rights each type of share gives its holder. This is broken down by:

  • What share of dividends they get
  • If they can exchange (redeem) their shares for money
  • If they can vote on company matters
  • How many votes they get

Combined, this information is called ‘prescribed particulars’.

Memorandum and Articles of Association

Don’t worry, these aren’t as mind-bending as their names would suggest they are!

A memorandum of association is a legal document signed by all the shareholders agreeing to form the company. It’s basically a list of their names signed to a statement saying ‘we agree to form the company X’ on ‘date’. You can download a template online.

Articles of association are a written list of rules and regulations about running the company. They will be agreed to, and signed by the shareholders, directors and company secretary (if you have one). You can use standard articles, which you can download. Or, you can write your own.

But, if you write your own articles of association you can’t register your company online. Keep that in mind.

Now you’re ready to register, you might look at a company to help you

Company formation experts are there to, among other things, help do exactly what you’d expect – legally form your limited company and register it with Companies House. It’s a service that can be secured for a very reasonable price and one that can save you a lot of time and stress.

There are a variety of companies to choose from, many of which offer an online only, pretty impersonal, but perfectly satisfactory service. If you want to be able to send in a few details, without really understanding why and then forget about it, those are the companies you should go for. Company formation costs £12 with Companies House, so be aware of companies charging more for this service.

If you want to go the more traditional way, you can register by post. This requires the filling-out of form IN01. This method takes longer, and costs more. Generally, it will take 8 to 10 days for a postal application to be complete, and it will cost £40, which you will pay by cheque. There is a same-day service, which will costs £100 and you must get your application to Companies House by 3pm. And of course, you could register online yourself directly if you’re confident you have what you need!

If you’re looking for a more personal touch, a company formation business that can guide you through the process, take care of the trickier bits and help you stay excited about taking those first steps in forming your company, Acunov is the perfect option.

Hopefully, by breaking it all down, it isn’t as daunting as you thought! Start, register, manage and grow your business in a way that works for you. That’s what we’ve done with Acunov and we can help you make your business the success you know it can be! With free consultations with branding, marketing and web development agencies who also contribute content to Stride Alley to help people like you, you can get off to the best start with us.

We call it the Acunov way.

You can contact us via our website or by phone on 0800 530 0323.