Tag Archives: official company information

UK company information now free of charge

A year ago Companies House announced that they were going to make all of their company information available free of charge to everyone. The press release was short on detail and many of us wondered what format the data would be in and how easy it would be to use. Daily files containing accounts data registered on the previous day were already available but these are huge zip files that, when unpacked, contain files with meaningless names. (http://download.companieshouse.gov.uk/en_accountsdata.html). Unless you have software that can manage and search the data it is impossible to identify which files contain information on the company you are researching. Companies-House-Free-1


For most of us the files are useless.  Was this to be the format of the free service? Thankfully, no.

A new beta service at http://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/ now enables you to search for companies by name or number and obtain free of charge:

  • Company overviews
  • Current and resigned officers
  • Document images
  • Mortgage charge data
  • Previous company names
  • Insolvency data


For the officers you can see what other companies they are involved with. What you cannot do at the moment is search by director name from the start. That is a “planned feature” as are disqualified directors search, company monitoring, company name availability, dissolved companies and overseas data. For those options you have to revert to the old WebCHeck service at http://wck2.companieshouse.gov.uk/.

The new beta service is easy to use and at last we have access to UK company documents and accounts free of charge. So, does this mean the end of services such as Company Check (http://companycheck.co.uk/) and DueDil (http://www.duedil.com/)? Not necessarily. Company Check, for example, already has an option for searching by director name and there are also useful charting, monitoring and structure options as well as access to some European companies. They also offer access to risk scores, credit reports and County Court Judgments (all priced). All of these services only allow you to search for companies one at a time: there is no multi-criteria search that you can use to find companies by turnover, number of employees, industry sector for example. Neither can you compare companies or conduct a detailed peer group analysis. For that you still have to use priced services such as BvD (http://www.bvdinfo.com/)

Overall, a move in the right direction and ideal if your needs are simple, for example accounts and director information for a live company. But look carefully at what features are available before you cancel your subscription service.


Company Check: free UK company and director information

Company Check (http://companycheck.co.uk/) and its sister website Company Director Check are two of the more popular services on my business and search workshops. They repackage official information from Companies House and provide much of it free of charge. I first reviewed them in 2011 (http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/2011/07/20/company-information-company-check-gives-more-uk-data-for-free/ and http://www.rba.co.uk/wordpress/2011/11/14/free-uk-company-information-company-director-check/) and since then there have been many updates and additions. A recent change is that company and director information have been pulled together on the Company Check website making it easier to flip between companies and directors. Data on companies in Ireland is also now available.

Companies and directors can be searched from the same search box. You then select the appropriate entry from a list of possible matches. The company summary is free of charge and includes a business overview, data on its status and business activities, and a list of trading addresses.



Also free of charge are the accounts and list of directors but you have to register (free of charge) to view the information. There are options for logging in with your Facebook, Twitter or Google account but if you prefer you can register a user name and password.

Five years of key financials (cash at bank, net worth, total current liabilities and total current assets) are shown as graphs and more detailed information is displayed in the Company Accounts Table.



The financial statements submitted to Companies House can be downloaded free of charge as PDFs. Other documents lodged at Companies House such as “Change of director’s details” or “Allotment of securities” are listed under the Documents tab and are £2 each.

The Credit Risk information (risk score, credit limit, payment data and key factors) and Charges (mortgages and County Court Judgments) are priced. For a single company the price is £4.99 + VAT, which gives you 30 days unlimited access to all premium credit data on that company for 30 days. If you are likely to be researching more than four companies on a regular basis it is worth upgrading to the All Companies options costing £20 + VAT. This gives you 30 days unlimited access to credit data across every company and director.

Current directors and secretaries for a company are listed free of charge. Previous directors and secretaries are part of the subscription service. The free director profile includes an overview, their registered details and a summary of the companies of which they are or have been a director. This can be more informative as a way of identifying connections between companies and other directors than looking at the company records in isolation. The full director report reports are £8.99 and include credit risk, CCJs, mortgages and charges, and a summary for each current appointment with key information taken from the associated company report.


For both companies and directors you can set up free alerts and add them to a dashboard. This is an easy way to compare results for companies, with negative and positive changes in key financials shown as red or green arrows pointing up or down.


Company Check is not the only service providing free access to some of UK Companies House and Ireland company data. DueDil (http://www.duedil.com/) and Bizzy (http://bizzy.co.uk) are two others that are worth looking at. I understand, though, that Company Check  is working on additional services that are due for launch in the next few months. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

Information on companies in Israel

All companies in Israel must register with The Registrar of Companies at the Ministry of Justice (http://www.justice.gov.il/MOJEng/) and the tax authorities. The register can be searched at http://havarot.justice.gov.il/ using part or all of a company name in English or Hebrew, or by entering the company number.

Israel - Register of Companies

The search interface and the results are in Hebrew but if you are using Google Chrome the built-in translator does a reasonable job of translating the text into English.

Israel Company Register search  translated

Free information on a company includes type of company, address, legal status and purpose of the company.

Israel Company Register free information

Additional information such as details of directors, total authorized capital, division of share capital, shareholders, charges and liabilities is priced. It is at this point that the Google translation starts to fail, so if you need more than just confirmation that the company exists it is best to use a commercial service that can run your search and translate the documents. One such company is IsraelBizReg (http://www.israelbizreg.com/).

IsraelBizReg is a division of KYC Israel, an Israeli due diligence firm. They offer English translated company reports in three formats: basic, detailed, and a full company file. You can search the database free of charge to see if your company is in the register. If you cannot find it IsraelBizReg will perform a company search free of charge. The basic report costs $50, detailed is $100 and the full company file is $150.


Another company that provides similar services is UK based 7Side (http://www.7side.co.uk/). Like IsraelBizReg it is pay as you go and they offer a translation service.

7Side International Data and Documents
7Side International Data and Documents

A summary of what is available and the costs involved for International Registry Documents and Reports all available in 1 hour is at http://www.7side.co.uk/moreinfo/International_Registry_and_Documents_Service.pdf.

The price list for English translated International company overviews is at http://www.7side.co.uk/moreinfo/marksales/7Side_ICO_Reports.pdf.

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

Company Searches in the British Virgin Islands

If you have ever tried to explain to a client why they will not find detailed financial accounts for companies registered in the British Virgin Islands, just thrust a copy of Guiding You Through… Company Searches In The British Virgin Islands – Withers LLP into their mitts! It very neatly summarises the registration, filing and disclosure requirements. The key sentence for researchers is:

“A company is not required to file its register of directors, register of members, register of charges or an annual return1 with the BVI Registrar of Corporate Affairs.”

So there you have it. Many thanks to Hazel Edmunds of ADSET (http://www.adsetsinformationweblog.blogspot.com/) for the link.

Company registers: Slovenia and Croatia

I have added two more company registers – Slovenia and Croatia – to my Official Company Registers page at http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/registers.htm.


AJPES – Agency of the Republic of Slovenia for Public Legal Records and Related Services (http://www.ajpes.si/)
AJPES provides access to the Slovenian Business Register online (ePRS), and Annual Reports of companies, cooperatives and sole proprietors (JOLP) free of charge. ePRS currently has around 211,000 entries and includes companies (partnerships and corporations), sole proprietors, legal entities governed by private law, societies, natural persons performing registered or regulated activities, subsidiaries and other divisions of business entities and main offices of foreign business entities.

You can search on a range of criteria: name, identification number, tax number, address, activity, sector and legal form. The amount of information available on each business entity varies depending on its legal form but typically includes identification number, company name, tax number, details of representatives and founders, etc. Credit rating reports (eS.BON) are also available for a fee. The interface to the site is available in English, Slovene, German and Italian. The information is available in English and Slovene. Free registration is required to view the free documents.


Biznet (http://www.biznet.hr/) is maintained by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce and provides information and statistics on the Croatian economy, and access to the Register of Business Entities. The Biznet home page is in Croation and the link to the Register is under Registar poslovnih subjekata. You can view data for a single company or a selected set of companies grouped according to certain criteria for example industry, company size. Available information includes identification number, short and long name, county, municipality, address, phone, fax, E-mail, company size, main activity, legal form, number of employees, membership of professional associations. The Register is available in both Croatian and English and is free of charge.

Many thanks to Tomaz Lajovic for the information on both services.

Although much of the data on both sites is available in English some of the detailed reports and guides are in the local languages. Google’s Chrome automatically offers to translate texts and the Google toolbar for both Internet Explorer and Firefox has a translate option. If you are not allowed to install the toolbar then you can copy and paste the text or the URL of the page you wish to translate into Google’s translation tools at http://www.google.co.uk/language_tools. The quality of Google’s translations has improved significantly but you should still treat the results with caution. If the information is mission critical then find someone who is fluent in the language concerned to double check Google’s effort.

Malta Registry of Companies

The Malta Financial Services Authority Registry of Companies (http://rocsupport.mfsa.com.mt/pages/Default.aspx) has been added to my Official Company Registers page at  http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/registers.htm. The registry provides free basic company details including registered address and company ID/number. You can browse the companies alphabetically or search by name or company ID/number. There is also a list of companies that have registered over the last 15 days.