A new public service from the UK’s Companies House

Companies House holds data on UK companies. That information is stored in a register which the public can access. This transparency is the trade-off for companies being able to conduct business in the company name. As opposed to a partnership where the partners are personally liable. Consider it a bit of a balance so people can find out who and what they are dealing with.

In the past you had to pay to access the information beyond the superficial. Now you can access all the information for free. As the time of this post, the service is in beta. It will be fully rolled out as testing is completed. To quote Companies House:

“…all public digital data held on the UK register of companies is now accessible free of charge.”

No idea what this will do to businesses like duedil.com and others who have been charging for information.

Check out the video introducing the service.

When ever you are thinking of doing business with a UK registered company, look them up. This is part of your due diligence.

Using the Companies House website, see what you can learn about the company’s track record. Check the list of directors for the company. When did the individual directors first become associated with the company? Who might have left already? What other companies have the directors have been associated in prior years? Given access is now free, why would you not want to check first? Oh, and Google the directors by name to see what else turns up in the wider web. Plug their names into Facebook. Some less than honorable people will use a friend or relative as a director of the company while they will exercise management control behind the scenes. What you can find on social media can save you a lot of grief later.

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