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How much company information is available online?

Protecting your private information?


In today’s age of personal and business identity theft, hacking etc. you need to ensure that you protect company as well as your own personal information. To realise just how much information is available online, you will find that there is a large amount of information freely available on the Companies House website.

The Companies House website has a register of every limited company, public company, LLP, CIC etc in the UK. Details of Companies and Directors and their addresses are all available for anyone to view.

In the last year, to aid transparency, the UK Government also introduced a register for Persons of Significant Control (beneficial owners), so that people can no longer hide behind nominee directors or control companies without declaring an interest.

 

WHERE CAN I FIND MY COMPANY INFO?

You can access Companies House information via http://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/

Here is just a brief overview of the information….

·         Company overviews and officers
Incorporation Date, When Company Accounts are due, Business Activity, Trading Status, Charges against your business
Director, Shareholder details - Names, address, Nationality, Role and Occupation, Directorships

·         Document images
Copies of Annual Returns, Confirmation Statements, Company Accounts

·         Disqualified directors
You can search for names of disqualified Directors

·         Previous and dissolved names search

·         UK establishments
Registered Office (current and previous), SAIL address
 
As you can see, this is quite extensive and with other company information websites providing additional information, you need to be sure that you keep any personal and private information away from these registers.  

If you Google your Company Name, you will see your business name listed, not only at Companies House, but Company Check, Duedil, 192, Endole etc..

 

PROTECTING YOUR INFORMATION

If you do not want your home address to be publicised, make sure that the registered office address is provided by a HMRC approved company, or an accountant. Many of your clients and customers want to ensure that the business they are dealing with is credible, so may well research your company online or suppliers may want a credit reference on the conmpany. One of the benefits of becoming a limited company is the reassurance this beings to suppliers, in contrast finding information on sole traders is a lot more difficult and many customers/suppliers may be a bit more wary of dealing with them.
 
So before you embark on setting up a company, please be aware of the information you provide. Look at how Companies House and other company information websites use the information – i.e. sell your details to marketing companies, competitors, your suppliers and individuals.
 
If using someone else’s registered office or directors service address, you still have to provide your residential address to Companies House, but this is private and only accessible by law enforcement agencies and credit rating agencies.
 
In order to prevent anyone hijacking your company we always recommend signing up for Companies House Proof (Protected Online Filing) Scheme, which prevents anyone from filing paper versions and changes to the company information has to come from a single source.

If you need any further information, please do contact us..<