Companies House, the UK registrar of companies, is to introduce a substantial overhaul to its WebFiling system, to give businesses a more streamlined management experience.
This will bring more centralised filing and allow a business to authorise individuals to file on its behalf from within the service, as part of Companies House's goal to improve its internal services and give businesses the best user experience possible.
Currently, businesses signed up to the WebFiling service can file statements, account details, and key individual changes online, to reduce the need for physical forms. This is separate from a Companies House account, which is accessible through the organisation's website.
The new update will allow the two services to be linked, which Companies House claims is the first significant step towards its goal of having a single sign-on for all of its services, reducing work for both Companies House staff and the administrators of limited companies. In line with this, the overhaul will also allow owners of multiple businesses to file on behalf of them all from the same account.
Another benefit of the new accounts will be the introduction of multi-factor authentication (MFA), giving account holders peace of mind that their information is stored behind an extra layer of security. Given the aim for businesses to eventually have one Companies House account from which to manage all online servcies, MFA will also be key to prevent data breaches.
Companies House have also made reference to an email service that will come as part of the new account update, to "help you with the running of your company". How this will work has not been outlined at time of writing, and IT Pro has contacted Companies House it for clarification.
In December 2021, Companies House set out its corporate plan for the following year, which included the development of a new digital filing capability for insolvency transactions and digital services available 99.9% of the time.
The same report revealed that its register contained the details of over 4.6 million companies, and had been accessed more than 9.8 billion times for free in the previous year. Digital transformation of this vital corporate service will benefit both companies and the wider public, improving the ease of corporate transparency and ease of filing for administrators, the report claimed.
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Companies House has dedicated itself to a digital transition since its offices closed in 2020. It recently announced that its office in London and help desks in Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast would not be reopening, citing its focus on online services going forward.
Companies House is managed under the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. All registered limited companies are required to file annual financial statements to Companies House. Anyone can use the free online Companies House search service to access free information about a business, such as its type, registered office address and date of incorporation.
Its stated strategy for 2022 is to “drive confidence in the UK economy and to be the most innovative, open and trusted registry in the world, with brilliant services delivered by brilliant people".
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Rory Bathgate is Features and Multimedia Editor at ITPro, overseeing all in-depth content and case studies. He can also be found co-hosting the ITPro Podcast with Jane McCallion, swapping a keyboard for a microphone to discuss the latest learnings with thought leaders from across the tech sector.
In his free time, Rory enjoys photography, video editing, and good science fiction. After graduating from the University of Kent with a BA in English and American Literature, Rory undertook an MA in Eighteenth-Century Studies at King’s College London. He joined ITPro in 2022 as a graduate, following four years in student journalism. You can contact Rory at firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn.