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The Essentials of Registering a Company in the UK

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by Startacus Admin

registering a business uk

Author Bio
- Anna Lemos is a creative content editor and strategist at Quick Formations aka Quick. Originally a designer, Anna has worked with various startups and SMEs creating graphics, social media campaigns and brand identities to catapult them into the market. Having blogged since University, she took a creative detour into content writing and is now part of the Quick Team.  Here she talks us through the essential things you will need when registering a company....

Company Registration Essentials

You might have a business plan in place, or maybe you want to register a dormant company to keep your company name reserved. Whatever your reason for getting your startup business ready, you’ll need to have a few things at hand to register your company.

First off, you need to figure out how you’ll register your company. This could be directly with Companies House, with an accountant (normally more expensive) or, the most efficient and cost effective option, via an online formation agent.

There are specific details that you’ll need to start the process regardless of whether you’re registering online or otherwise. The list below will guide you through what you need.


Company name

First off, you’ll need a company name. It has to be unique and cannot include official words that suggest affiliation with public bodies. This includes words such as HM Govt, any Ministry or Department, and local or national public authorities. It must also be devoid of sensitive words including any links to the Royal Family (Princess, Duke, Her Majesty etc.), words that give false impression (such as Association or Trust) or initials associated with professions you are not qualified for (e.g. M.D.). If you wish to use any of the mentioned words, then you will need written permission. You should also avoid using any vocabulary that might cause offence.

If you’re a limited company, you will have to know whether you want the suffix at the end of your company name to be LTD or Limited. There is no difference between the two except the length of the word.

Company type

Before you even begin the registration process, you’ll need to know what company structure you’re going to have. Private limited companies are the most commonly used company structure and limited by guarantee are great for not-for-profit organisations. Other structures include Public Limited Companies (PLC), Limited Liability Partnerships (LLP), flat management companies and off the shelf companies.

It is important to research what each structure can offer and whether or not it will be a successful match for your company. Then you need to see if you can do a standard online formation or speak to a professional advisor for a specialist formation.

Registered Office and Service Address

You’ll need an address to use as your registered office and service address. A registered office address is the ‘official’ address of your company and a service address is the correspondence address for a director.

If you’re starting your business from your kitchen, you might prefer not to use your home address. This could be because you don’t want your home address on the public register and/or you want to have a professional edge by using an office address. Whether you choose to use your own address, or pay to use a registered office and have your correspondence forwarded is entirely up to you.

registering a business uk

Details of Directors

Every private limited company needs a minimum of one director. In order to name a director, you need to give the following details:

  • Title

  • First name

  • Surname

  • Date of birth

  • Nationality

  • Occupation

  • Home Address

  • Service Address

Details of Shareholders

Every private limited company needs at least one shareholder. The shareholder can be a director. The details needed for the shareholders are:

  • Title

  • First name

  • Surname

  • Home address

  • Service address

  • Their shareholdings in the company

  • 3 pieces of security information from the following:

    • Eye Colour

    • Town of Birth

    • Mother’s Maiden Name

    • Father’s Forename

    • National Insurance Number

    • Passport Number

    • Home Telephone Number

Details of PSCs

A PSC is a Person of Significant Control i.e. a person that has influence over the company. All businesses need to state any PSCs they have in their company to stay compliant and abide by the law. The details you need for a PSC are as follows:

  • Title

  • First name

  • Surname

  • Nature of control

  • Home address

  • Service address

  • Their shareholdings in the company

Note that not all companies will necessarily have PSCs

Post registration

registering a business uk

Business Bank Account

In order to trade, you need a business bank account – unless you’re a sole trader. This is so the business transactions do not go through your personal account.

It is best to look for a bank that has a branch near you as well as accessible means of monitoring your money and making payments, such as online and telephone banking. Ideally, you want a forward-thinking bank with features that will support your business. For example, if you trade abroad, it is best to find a bank account with good transfer rates.

VAT registration

If your turnover in any 12 month period is over £82,000, your company needs to register for VAT. You can do this voluntarily if your turnover is below the threshold if you are making vatable purchases or if you want to appear more professional. Being registered for VAT, even if you’re under the threshold, also carries some benefits such as improved cash flow and being able to trade in the EU.

PAYE registration

If you or any of your employees are being paid, you must register for PAYE with Companies House. This applies even if you are the only employee/director in your company.

We would like to say a huge thanks to Anna from Quick Formations  for sharing her wealth of knowledge with us! Why not read her other Startacus articles on...

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Published on: 25th July 2016

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