As company registration agents, we can help with all aspects of UK company formations.
Setting up a UK limited company
This is a type of business that is legally separate from its owners – unlike being a sole trader, for example, where you run your business as a self-employed individual and it doesn’t have a separate legal identity.
The owners are shareholders, and the business is run by directors. Even a basic limited company must have at least one director. A limited liability partnership will have more.
You require limited liability
The principal benefit of setting up limited companies is to enjoy limited liability protection. That means the owners aren’t personally liable for any financial losses of the business – if something goes wrong, you won’t lose your house.
Additional benefits include improved corporate image, tax efficiency, investment and lending opportunities. It’s also easier when you come to sell the business.
Your starting point for company formation in the UK is Companies House.
This is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. You can deal with them direct or through a third-party, such as WIS Accountancy, who can operate on your behalf.
In the UK, limited companies must be incorporated at Companies House, and the company information is held on the public register, available for anyone to see. When the company is incorporated, it’s registered for Corporation Tax at the same time.
Contact us to find out how WIS Accountancy can handle company registration for you.
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UK company formations
When you register your company there are two main company documents you need to create:
A memorandum of association (MoA)
This is a legal statement signed by all the initial shareholders or guarantors who agree to form a company. The MoA can’t be changed; it’s a permanent historical record of who was involved when you established your company.
The articles of association (AoA)
These are effectively the constitution of the company. This document sets out in writing the rules for business structure and management, and the rights and responsibilities of those involved, as agreed by the shareholders or guarantors, directors and the company secretary.
Unlike the MoA, the AoA can be changed, provided the proper procedures are followed and there’s a majority in favour. Once the AoA has been amended to include the updates, new articles must be registered with Companies House.
WIS Accounting can help with creating both these company documents, and with keeping the AoA and other company details up to date at Companies House.
Online limited company formations
When you form a limited company in the UK, you will need the following company details:
- Company name
- Registered office address
- Business activity identified by SIC code
- Details of company directors
- Shareholder details
- Business bank account
Let’s take a closer look.
When you form a company, your company name must be unique – that is, you can’t have the same name as another existing company in the UK registered at Companies House. WIS Accountancy can check for you that your chosen name is unique.
Registered office address
You must provide a physical postal address – not a PO box number – to act as your registered office address. This is the company’s official address, and the principal address to be used for all formal communication with your company and it must be included on your stationery, business paperwork and website.
We offer a UK registered office address service for your business, including a London registered office. We can also provide additional address services, such as a business mail forwarding address, service address or directors service address.
Business activity identified by SIC code
The activity the business will pursue has to be stated, and it’s described and classified using a SIC code.
A SIC code is a five-digit Standard Industrial Classification code that identifies company types. There are more than 600 individual SIC codes in the UK. They are used by government bodies and agencies to systematically identify and categorise the principal business focus of companies operating in the UK.
WIS Accountancy’s online company formation process includes a SIC code search facility.
Details of company directors
The full name, home address, occupation, date of birth and nationality of each director must be disclosed. Directors must be at least 16 years old.
You must have at least one shareholder. The full name, home address, occupation, date of birth and nationality of each shareholder must be disclosed. In addition, it must be stated if the shareholder is a person with significant control (PSC).
A PSC is someone that holds more than 25% of shares or voting rights in a company, has the right to appoint or remove the majority of the board of directors, or otherwise exercises significant influence or control.
If you appoint a company secretary, which may be an individual or a company such as WIS Accounting that fulfils that role for you, you need to disclose details. You don’t have to appoint a secretary.
Business bank account
We can help set up a free business bank account for your new company using our business banking partners. Banking services are included in our company formations packages.
Contact us to find out more about the company formation packages we offer – we have the ideal company formation package for you.
Company Formation Frequently Asked Questions
How is a limited company formed?
First, the prospective owner(s) of the company file the necessary documents and pay the fee at Companies House. You’ll then get a ‘certificate of incorporation’, which confirms the new business legally exists.
It also shows the company number, registered office and date of formation.
You can complete the company registration process yourself or via our formation services.
When should I set up a limited company?
Can I set up a limited company on my own?
Is it better to be a limited company or sole trader?
Do I need an accountant to set up a limited company?
How is a limited company owned?
How much does it cost to set up a limited company?
Setting up a limited company checklist
To register the company with Companies House, you will need:
- A unique company name
- A registered office address (not a PO box number)
- SIC code identifying what the business does
- Details of company directors (must be at least 16 years old)
- Shareholder details, plus whether the shareholder is a person with significant control (PSC)
- Secretary details (if you are appointing one)
- Details of PSCs
Next, pay the fee and wait for your certificate of incorporation – your company now exists as a legal entity.
Setting up a limited company for contracting
Do I need to open a business bank account?
How many shares must I issue?
Limited companies must issue at least one share; if you will be the sole director, you will also be the sole shareholder.
Contact us to speak to a WIS Accountancy company formation agent about our corporate services.
Get practical help to set up your company
When you come to set up your company, you will probably be focusing on your business goals and what you have to do to meet them. Handling paperwork, providing routine information and chasing up printed company documents can seem like a distraction from the main business of running your organisation – and company registration can take longer, depending on Companies House workload.
However, it’s incredibly important that this gets done, and is handled correctly. And that’s where we can step in and help.
Our team of expert company registration agents can take care of all the administration involved in company formation, from providing basic information to establishing a registered address to providing you with your printed company documents.
Our online application makes it easy
You can use our online application form to start the company formation process.
We’ll check the information you provide and forward it to Companies House. This usually takes 3–6 working hours, but can occasionally take longer depending on Companies House workload.
Limited company formation doesn’t have to be onerous
We’ll provide a digital copy of your company documents, plus your Companies House Authentication Code, as soon as your new company is incorporated. Printed company documents will be posted to reach you soon after.
If we provide an address service, that will be set up for you within one working day.
We’ll get you up and running
You can start trading through your new company immediately after it is registered at Companies House.
Contact us for help setting up your company hassle free.
Our involvement doesn’t have to stop there. As well as company formation packages, including address services and banking help, we offer a wide-ranging array of post incorporation services, including filing the annual confirmation statement, to support you and your business as it grows. These include company services relating to:
- Address services and mail forwarding services
- Directors service address
- Changing a company name
- Updating AoA
- Changes to share capital and company structure
- Annual confirmation statement
- Tax and legal compliance
- Company secretarial services
We can also provide full telephone and email support to you for the lifetime of your company. And finally, when it’s time to sell or close down your company, we can help with that, too.
When it comes to establishing, operating and divesting your company, WIS Accounting are with you every step of the way.
As well as offering UK limited incorporations, we also offer registration services for limited liability partnerships and limited by guarantee companies. We provide a variety of associated services for people who want to register a company, including registered office, service address, confirmation statement and dormant company accounts services (every company registered, even a dormant company, must file a confirmation statement).
No hidden costs
Rest assured, there’ll be no hidden costs for anything we do – everything is transparent.
Contact us to find out what additional services we can provide.