Tag Archives: Company Check

Free UK company information: Company Director Check

Company Director Check (http://company-director-check.co.uk/) is a sister database to Company Check (http://companycheck.co.uk/), which I reviewed earlier this year (http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/2011/01/10/free-uk-company-information/). It provides free access to information on current and past directors of UK companies that until now has only been available for a fee. Director searches can unearth links between apparently unrelated companies and help you identify “families” or groups of companies. It can also bring to light interesting patterns of behaviour. For example, I carried out a search on a director whose business activities had aroused my suspicions. I knew he had run companies in the past that had been dissolved and his most recent venture had gone into liquidation. Looking at the list of companies of which he had been director it became clear that 6-8 weeks before a company was dissolved or went under he would set up a completely new company. This had happened so often that it was not just me who had begun to smell a rather large rodent. I understand that he is “currently under investigation”!

If you are viewing a company in Company Check click on the director’s name and you are taken straight to their record in Director Check. Alternatively just run a search on the person’s name in Director Check. A list of possible matches will be presented to you, which you can refine by entering a postcode. Alternatively just work through the list until you are certain that you have found the correct person. Do not be surprised if you find a director has multiple IDs. There is nothing “dodgy” about this, it just reflects the way the system has evolved over the years. Companies House have carried out a massive exercise to try and fix this but there are still some multiple IDs in the database.

The information that is provided includes full name, short name, month and year of birth, address and past and present directorships.

Director Check

The status of each directorship – active, dissolved, resigned – is displayed followed by a summary of each of the companies. More detailed information on the individual companies can be found on the Company Check web site.

Now that so much directorship information is freely available it will be interesting to see if more directors make use of the option to provide a service rather than their home address for the public record.

Definitely one to add to your business research toolkit.

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

Free UK company information

One of the most frequently asked questions that land in my inbox is “Where can I find information on [insert company name of your choice]”. The enquiry is often about a UK company and comes from ordinary Joe or Josephine Bloggs who knows nothing about sources of business information. Those of you who, like me, have these resources at our fingertips may roll your eyes heavenwards but let’s heave a huge sigh of relief that these people are bothering to ask about checking up on a company. On further investigation, many of my correspondents admit that they have been approached over the phone regarding a “once only opportunity” involving the company concerned and are suspicious of the offer. Unfortunately, I also receive emails from people wanting to find out about a company after they have parted with their money.

The first port of call for official information on UK companies is Companies House (http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/). Not every form of company or organisation is required to register at Companies House: for example, in the UK I am a sole trader and therefore do not have to register or file accounts. I have noticed an increasing number of comments on the web and social media from small businesses who have decided to de-register because of  the bureaucracy. The absence of a registration at Companies House is not necessarily cause for concern but then most of us do not cold call people with an “exclusive investment opportunity”! An easy way to check if there is a problem with a company of any sort is to search for them on Google and include scam or hoax in your search. That may seem obvious but so many victims who contact me never considered that strategy.

So if you have been approached by the likes of Trotters Independent Traders ltd. plc go to Companies House and use the free Web Check option which is in the centre panel on the home page.

Companies House

You can search for currently or recently dissolved names, dissolved names, previous names or proposed names. Free information includes name, registered number and address, status (for example active, liquidation), nature of business, date of last accounts. Further information and documents such as accounts and certificate of incorporation are priced at GBP 1 each.

Several other services re-package and sell information from Companies House and in some cases provide some of the additional priced Companies House information free of charge.

Company Check (http://www.companycheck.co.uk/) are part of  UK Data (http://ukdata.com/), which re-sells Companies House documents and provides credit reports. The latter include current and historical credit risk information, director details, ownership and group structure, CCJ information and up to five years of accounting figures including turnover and a profit and loss account if filed. All documents cost GBP 18, which is far more than that charged by Companies House but the credit report may be the better option if you need a detailed report and assessment of the company.

The Company Check free information includes name, registered address and number, telephone number, activity, status, thumbnail of the web site and cash at bank for the last five years. There is also a graph showing the number of website visitors from Compete (http://www.compete.com/), but this information may not be available for smaller companies.

Company Check

Another source of free company information is the SME Hub Company Accounts Information (http://www.thesmehub.com/benefit/accounts). This is available to SME members only but registration is free. The company address is not displayed but there is a link that takes you to Companies House where you have to re-enter the company name to access the data. There is also a link to Credit Safe for credit reports (http://www.creditsafe.com/).

SME Hub Company Accounts

There is a very useful graph showing trends for the company in net worth, cash and total liabilities. The most recent accounts plus a downloadable PDF are also free of charge.

I had problems with the SME Hub when looking at companies that had recently gone into liquidation. Company Check gives its standard information plus the status as “Liquidation” but the SME Hub leaves you guessing by presenting you with an empty template.

Company Check and the SME Hub are quick and easy ways to access the free and some of the priced Companies House information. Company Check offers the Companies House free registration data and five years of cash at bank: the SME Hub provides a trends graph of net worth, cash and liabilities plus latest accounts but no basic contact or status information. Both can alert you to potential problems with a company but, ultimately, Companies House is the place to go for the original data.