What is Companies House? It is the government agency responsible for the registration of companies in the UK

Companies House - What you Need to Know

Written by Simon Taylor


Companies House is a company register and collects and maintains information about companies incorporated in the UK and makes this information available to the public

Companies House serves as a trusted and authoritative source of company information that contributes to legal and financial accountability, and regulatory compliance. It was established in 1844, making it one of the oldest company registries in the world.

When a company is formed, it is required by law to register with Companies House. This registration process involves providing details about the company's directors, shareholders, registered office address, and other key information. Companies House operates as an executive agency under the Department for Business and Trade.

Company director considerations

When creating a seperate legal entity on Companies House, its important for individuals that are acting as directors to read The Companies Act 2006 which outlines your general duties, which are considered fiduciary responsibilities.

Maintaining accurate financial records, avoiding wrongful or fraudulent trading, and seeking legal advice when needed can help directors minimise the risk of personal liability for company debts. Directors and officers insurance is a valuable cover to have in place to offer financial protection, but it does not absolve directors of their legal responsibilities.

Companies House role

Companies House plays a critical role in promoting transparency and accountability in the business sector by providing access to accurate and up-to-date information about registered companies. The information collected by Companies House is valuable for businesses, investors, creditors, and the public at large.

When incorporating a registered company at Companies House, it is important for individuals that are named as directors, that they have a personal liability and legal responsibilities when acting on behalf of the limited company or limited liability partnership.


What services does Companies House provide?

Company Formation:

Companies House is responsible for the incorporation of new companies. Businesses must register with Companies House to become incorporated. The registration process involves providing information about the limited company's directors, shareholders, registered office address, and other key details.

Company Information Maintenance:

Companies House maintains a comprehensive database of information related to registered companies. This includes details about the company's officers (directors and secretaries), shareholders, registered office address, share capital, and the company's articles of association.

Filing Annual Accounts:

Companies registered in the UK are required to file annual financial statements and reports with Companies House. This information provides transparency about a company's financial performance and helps stakeholders, such as investors and the public, assess the company's health.

Filing Annual Confirmation Statements:

Companies are also required to file an annual confirmation statement with Companies House. This statement confirms that the information held is up-to-date and accurate, including details about the limited company's officers, registered office, and share capital.

Changes to Company Details:

Companies House facilitates the process for companies to notify changes to their registered details, such as changes in directors, registered office address, or company name. This helps maintain accurate and current records.

Company Searches:

Members of the public, businesses, and professionals can access a wide range of information about registered companies by conducting searches on the Companies House website. This service allows users to obtain information on company directors, financial statements, and other key details.

Company Dissolution:

Companies House manages the process of dissolving companies that are no longer trading or wish to cease their legal existence. This involves filing the necessary documentation to formally dissolve the company.

Providing Company Data to Government Authorities:

Companies House shares information about registered companies with other government authorities, including Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

How to use Companies House?

Many of the basic limited company details available on Companies House are accessible to the public free of charge. This open access policy encourages transparency and allows a wide range of users to benefit from the information provided.

Companies House regularly updates its database with new filings and changes to company information. This ensures that users have access to the most recent and relevant data about registered companies.

D&O Liability Insurance Explained

Companies House API

The Companies House API provides access to all of the public data they hold on companies. The Companies House API lets you retrieve information about limited companies (and other companies that fall within the Companies Act 2006) to use how you please in the development of your technology. The API data returned is live and real-time and is simple to use – this includes information about the registered companies, officers, people of significant control and more.


About the author

Simon Taylor is a respected senior industry professional and a Chartered Insurance Broker with over 20 years’ of experience in the commercial insurance sector as an underwriter, broker and director.