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So a way to manage these obligations which is simple and reliable is a major benefit. Inform Direct produces award-winning company secretarial software which currently helps 75,000 customers to meet their legal obligations in terms of managing statutory records and filing with Companies House. Henry Catchpole, CEO at Inform Direct, gives a beginner's guide to fulfilling your responsibilities in this area.

Who needs to do it?

If you are a UK company limited by shares, a company limited by guarantee, a community interest company (CIC), a limited liability partnership (LLP) or certain other types of specialist company registered at Companies House, you need to meet these requirements. If you are a sole trader or an ordinary partnership you are exempt from company secretarial requirements.

What does it cover?

You need to maintain up to date information covering the following areas: the company's registered office address and primary business activities; officers of the company (usually directors and secretaries); owners of the company (shareholders or members); ownership structure (shares); and details of people with significant control over the company (PSCs), which became a legal requirement from April 2016.

What is needed?

Your responsibilities include maintaining statutory books available for inspection and filing changes of information and your annual confirmation statement with Companies House. There should be a record of meetings of the directors (board meetings) and shareholders (including annual general meetings), including details of any decisions taken.

When should you do this?

The most efficient way to meet these obligations is to keep everything up to date throughout the year. When you are running a business, there are many other competing priorities and it's always tempting to leave this until another day but before you know it, several months will have elapsed making it difficult to accurately record changes in your statutory books.

For many changes you are required to notify Companies House within 14 days and the directors of a company can face criminal conviction for failures to file on time, although this usually only happens in extreme cases. It's quite common, however, for Companies House to start the process of striking off a company if required submissions - particularly the annual confirmation statement - are not made in good time.

What are some of the changes that need filing?

There is a range of different events which will require filing with Companies House as and when they occur in the year. Some of these include: a director changing his or her residential address, director appointments and resignations, allotment of new shares or a change of registered office.

What is a confirmation statement?

Every year you are required to confirm that the information held on the public record at Companies House is correct and complete. This is done via the confirmation statement, which also allows you to report changes to the company's primary business activities and who the shareholders in the company are. 

The confirmation statement is required in addition to individual changes being reported to Companies House throughout the year.

It is worth pointing out that the confirmation statement is a different document from your annual accounts, both of which must be filed each year.

What if my company is dormant?

A dormant company is still required to submit a confirmation statement every year.

Should I check my company details regularly?

To help protect your company from the growing problem of corporate fraud, it's a good idea to check the details Companies House holds on a regular basis. By doing this, you can check that no fraudulent filings have taken place.

How can you maintain statutory books and file changes with Companies House?

You can pay your accountant or solicitor to do this on your behalf, or you can manage it yourself.

Nowadays 99% of Companies House filings are made electronically. You can use Companies House WebFiling service https://ewf.companieshouse.gov.uk/  or for a more comprehensive option which includes automatic update of your statutory books and the production of a range of other required documents you can use specialist company secretarial software such as Inform Direct https://www.informdirect.co.uk