Tag Archives: Business Information

Company information: Luxembourg and Belgium

I am updating the official registries section of  my business sources listings (http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/registers.htm) and there are changes to the entries for Luxembourg and Belgium.

The Registre de Commerce et des Sociétés – Accueil (http://www.rcsl.lu/) is the official register of companies and associations in Luxembourg. The search options are limited to company name or number and the interface is in German and French. Searching and company name, address and contact details are free of charge. Documents are priced.

Legilux Sociétés et Associations has more search options at http://www.legilux.public.lu/entr/search/index.php and it provides a history of the documents filed by a company. This is a free service but for the documents themselves you have to go back to the Registre de Commerce et des Sociétés where there is a charge per document.

In Belgium the KBO Public Search (http://economie.fgov.be/nl/ondernemingen/KBO/Pubd/PuS/)
enables you to search for public information on every registered active enterprise and establishment. Search by company number, name, branch number or name, address and municipality. Each record provides name, company number, activities, address, contact details and links to other sites for official documents and annual reports. The search interface is available in Dutch and French. The information is in Dutch or French and is free.

The CBSO (Central Balance Sheet Office) section of the National Bank of Belgium (http://www.bnb.be/) has the accounts of companies, associations and foundations active in Belgium. The search interface is available in Dutch, French, German and English and the services is free.

Many thanks to Inez de Bois for the information and updates.

Doing Business in the United Kingdom and France

Compiled and published by Bryan Cave LLP, Doing Business in the UK is an excellent summary of what is involved in setting up a business in the UK and the associated legislation. As well as describing the various types of company it also covers director’s duties, UK taxation, employment law, business immigration, intellectual property, data protection and competition law. There is a similar publication on Doing Business in France. Both are free of charge.

Business information key web resources presentation

This is the presentation that formed the basis of the business information workshop that I facilitated on 17th May 2012.

If you do not see the embedded presentation above you can go direct to the file on authorSTREAM at http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/karenblakeman-1430353-business-information-key-web-resources/

The top tips can be found at http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/2012/05/28/business-information-workshop-top-tips/

Business Information Workshop – Top Tips

The TFPL business information workshop held on May 17th in London turned out to be quite an intense day with plenty of questions and much discussion between the participants regarding the services and resources they use. When it came to the participants nominating their Top Tips at the end of the day there was a bit of umming and ahhing initially but they soon picked up speed and we ended up with eleven. Here they are.

1. BL BIPC industry Guides The British Library Business Information and IP Centre’s industry guides were very popular. You probably already know about the BL Business Essentials wiki Industries pages (http://bl-business-essentials.wikispaces.com/Industries) but these have now been expanded into a series of 30 PDF guides at http://www.bl.uk/bipc/dbandpubs/Industry%20guides/industry.html highlighting relevant industry directories, databases, publications and websites. One of the participants who had been using the guides since they were launched said that they are regularly updated and everyone was impressed that a named person responsible for the guide is clearly shown on each one.

2.  Zanran  http://zanran.com/ A search tool for  identifying charts, graphs and tables of data in PDFs and Excel spreadsheets. Run your search and Zanran comes up with PDF and spreadsheet files that match your criteria. Very useful if you are looking for industry statistics.

3. Slideshare http://www.slideshare.net/ Looking for a conference presentation, an expert on a particular subject, overview or background on an industry then look in Slideshare. One workshop participant commented that they wished they had known about this a couple of weeks ago.

4.  SCOTBIS  http://scotbis.nls.uk/  A national information service aimed at Scottish businesses and based on the business resources at the National Library of Scotland but, nevertheless, useful information for those of us not based in Scotland. SCOTBIS provides its users with a free enquiry service and also offers fee-based research and other charged services.

5.  Don’t just Google – try other search tools! If you are carrying out a general web search don’t just Google. You may find the information you are looking for more quickly using alternatives such as Bing.com, DuckDuckGo.com, Yandex.com, Blekko.com

6.  Advanced search commands. Familiarise yourself with the advanced search commands, in particular ‘site:’  for searching within a single site and ‘filetype:’. Look for PowerPoints for presentations, spreadsheets for data and statistics, or PDF for research papers and industry/government reports. Note that filetype:ppt will not pick up the newer .pptx so you will need to include both in your search, for example.

filetype:ppt OR filetype:pptx

You will also need to include .xlsx if you are searching for Excel spreadsheets and .docx for Word documents.

7.  BUSLIB-L  – an email based discussion list that addresses all issues relating to the collection, storage, and dissemination of business information regardless of format. To join the list, go to http://list1.ucc.nau.edu/archives/buslib-l.html where there are also searchable archives.

8.  Bureau van Dijk’s M&A Portal http://www.mandaportal.com/ A gateway to news, events, research and analysis on mergers and acquisitions worldwide. Some of the information on the portal home page is free of charge and there is a free search option for tracking down deals and rumours contained in BvD’s Zephyr database. The deals can be sorted by value, date or status. Basic information is free but you can purchase the full details from the Zephyr database using a credit card. The cost of the reports varies depending on the amount and type of information available.

9. Mergers and Acquisitions Review (Thomson Reuters). This was recommended by one of the workshop participants. Free quarterly summaries and reviews of M&A activity, for example http://dmi.thomsonreuters.com/Content/Files/4Q11_MA_Legal_Advisory_Review.pdf and http://dmi.thomsonreuters.com/Content/Files/4Q11_MA_Financial_Advisory_Review.pdf

10. Official Company Registers. A first port of call for many of us when checking up on a company. Most registers’ sites will offer an English language interface for searching but the information is usually in the local language. To locate searchable online official registers try one of the following:




11. ISI Emerging Markets http://www.securities.com/ Provides news, company information, industry reports and M&A from over 100 emerging markets. Much of the content is unique to ISI Emerging Markets. This was another service that was highly recommended by one of the workshop participants.

Useful industry information guides from the British Library BIPC

Evaluated listings and subject guides from people who know the sectors are the quickest way to home in on good quality sources of information. The British Library Business and IP Centre (BIPC) has, for a long time, had a wiki at http://bl-business-essentials.wikispaces.com/Industries listing web-based resources on a number of industries. These have been expanded into a very useful series of 30 PDF guides at http://www.bl.uk/bipc/dbandpubs/Industry%20guides/industry.html highlighting relevant industry directories, databases, publications and websites.

 British Library Business & IP Centre Industry Guides

All of the guides show when they were last updated and the name of the person who has edited the guide. Not all of the resources are freely available on the web but you can access the information for free in the Business & IP Centre at the British Library, St Pancras. You will need a Reader Pass; details on how to obtain one can be found at http://www.bl.uk/bipc/visitus/howtouse/index.html.

The resources are split into Directories, Business Advice Sources, Market Research and Statistics, Trade Magazines and Newsletters, and Internet Resources. Even if you cannot make it to the BIPC to access the publications these guides are valuable pointers to the key sources of information on industry sectors. Highly recommended.

Official companies register for the Ukraine

The Ukrainian official companies register can be found at http://irc.gov.ua/ua/Poshuk-v-YeDR.html. The interface and information is in Ukrainian only but Google’s translation option does a good enough job to help you through the site. If you use Google Chrome as your browser you can enable its automatic translation prompt by going to Options, Under the Bonnet, and ticking the Translate box. Many thanks to Ladymyr Bondar for alerting me to the site.

Ukraine official companies register

Business Information: Top Ten Tips from Bristol

The University of the West of England (UWE) hosted the UKeiG 8th September workshop on business information. The list of participants included people from academic libraries, public libraries, the legal sector and freelance researchers. The day got off to an interesting start with one of the participants telling me that a colleague of theirs thought there wasn’t any quality business information on the web! I hope I proved them wrong. Some of the materials provided on the day can be found on my web site at http://www.rba.co.uk/bi/. Please note that SocialMention, which is mentioned in the latter part of the PowerPoint presentation, has been down for nearly five days and we have to assume that it is “no more”. [Update 10th September: after nearly a week offline SocialMention is now back online].

Those of you who have attended my Google, general search or business information workshops will know that towards the end of the afternoon I always ask the group to come up with a list of top ten tips. These can be useful sites that they have discovered during the day, essential services that they already use or commands that help focus the search. A combined list of tips from previous business information workshops is at http://www.rba.co.uk/bi/TopBusInfoSearchTips.pdf. Below, in no particular order, are the new tips from the 8th September workshop.

Top Business Search Tips UWE

1. Biznar http://www.biznar.com/ Biznar is a federated search engine that runs your search in real-time in about 80 resources. There is a list on the Advanced Search screen where you can deselect individual or groups of resources. Many of the workshop participants de-selected Google Groups, which seemed to their dominate results, and some went as far as to exclude the whole Blogs and Social Networks group. The results are combined into a single list and on the left hand side of the scree are organised into folders such as Topics, Authors, Publications, Publishers and Dates. These are computer generated but can help you narrow down your search.

2. Export.gov http://export.gov/“Helping U.S. companies export”. Information on markets and doing business outside of the US. As the strap line of the web site suggest this is aimed at US companies but the reports contain information that is relevant to anyone looking at external markets.

3. Guardian Data Store http://www.guardian.co.uk/data Visualizations and mashups of data relating to major stories in the news. Links to the original datasets are provided so that you can download the raw data.

4. Company Check http://www.companycheck.co.uk/and Company Director Check http://company-director-check.co.uk/. Both services use Companies House data. Company Check provides 6 years of figures and graphs for Cash at Bank, Net Worth, Total Liabilities and Total Current Liabilities free of charge and lists the directors of a company. Click on a director’s name and you are taken to the Company Directory Check – launched last week – where you can view other current and past directorships for that person.

5. Companies House http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/. The official registry for UK companies. Services such as Company Check and Bizzy (http://bizzy.co.uk/) may provide more information free of charge but it is always worth double checking with Companies House to see if there is more up to date information. The list of documents available for a company in combination with the free services may be enough for you to make a decision on whether or not to do business with that company. Use the free WebCHeck service to locate the company in the register and then click on “Order information for this company”. You will then see a list of available documents: titles such as “Struck off and dissolved” followed by “Application for administrative restoration” might suggest that you should run a mile!

6. Zanran http://zanran.com/ This was recommended for identifying charts, graphs and tables of data in PDFs and Excel spreadsheets. Run your search and Zanran comes up with PDF and spreadsheet files that match your criteria. Hover over the file icon in your results list and you will see a preview of the page that contains your data. We did come across a few oddities: my test search on gin vodka sales uk came up with the bar menu for the Time & Space Restaurant at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. The Zanran “About us” page tells you more about what they do (http://zanran.com/help/about_us)

7. Applegate directories http://www.applegate.co.uk/ A collection of business directories for electronics, engineering, plastics, rubber, chemical, oil, gas and recruitment services covering the UK. Recommended for generating lists of companies by location.

8. Kompass http://www.kompass.com/. Well established directory with world-wide coverage (some of us can remember the black, hard copy volumes!) Search is free and some results are free. Pay as you go options are reasonably priced and there is extensive country and industry coverage.

9. Public libraries’ databases and resources. A reminder from the public libraries contingent that you can access their resources free of charge for personal use from your desktop using the identification on your library card, for example NewsUK and the The Times Digital Archive. Some library authorities also provide access to business databases.

10. Google Advanced Search Use the advanced search screen or commands to help focus your search on statistics and market research. For example use the ‘filetype:’ command to search for spreadsheets containing statistics or PDFs of industry/government reports. Use ‘site:” to focus your search on academic or government sources, for example site:ac.uk.


Business Information Workshops – September

There is a lot happening in the UK business information sector at the moment. From two of my earlier postings on company information you will probably have gathered that competition between the providers is hotting up. And if you need statistics then the open data initiatives provide direct access to raw data – possibly.

If you are interested in business information and want to get up to speed with current developments I am running a UKeiG workshop on the topic on Thursday, 8th  September. It is being held in Bristol at the Frenchay Campus of the University of the West of England. Further details are on the UKeiG web site at http://www.ukeig.org.uk/trainingevent/keeping-good-company-quality-business-information-web-karen-blakeman. The emphasis will be on free and pay per view services. Please note that you do not have to be a member of UKeiG to attend, and the workshop will be relevant to all types of organisations.

If you are new to business information I am also running a workshop entitled “Introduction to Business Research” for TFPL on 15th September in London (http://www.tfpl.com/training/courses/coursedesc.cfm?id=TR1116&cid=rs)


Company Information: Company Check gives more UK data for free

I first reviewed Company Check (http://www.companycheck.co.uk/) earlier this year (Free UK company information http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/2011/01/10/free-uk-company-information/). Since then they have made more UK company information available free of charge. As well as Cash at Bank the service also shows 6 years of figures and graphs for Net Worth, Total Liabilities and Total Current Liabilities. Data is taken from official Companies House documents. Documents can be purchased through UK Data (http://ukdata.com/) but they are much more expensive than ordering direct from Companies House (http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/) or bizzy (http://bizzy.co.uk/). UK Data’s detailed credit reports are worth considering though if you want more in depth analysis. Although Company Check lists the company directors it does not show other directorships as does bizzy. (See my previous posting Company information: Bizzy for UK company data and credit ratings http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/2011/07/19/company-information-bizzy-for-uk-company-data-and-credit-ratings/). This is another very useful site that I recommend you add to your company information toolkit.

Company Check on Thorntons PLC