Service deliveryDigital Customer ServiceDouble digital upgrade for Companies House

Double digital upgrade for Companies House

Company directors will receive productivity boost and consumers will be given increased protections from criminal activity through a dual digital upgrade

Companies House has launched a campaign to encourage company directors to ‘file online, file on time’, as part of a digital upgrade. According to the Companies House, their range of quick, simple and secure digital tools will help businesses stay on top of their filing since 8 out of 10 companies now file online.

In a separate press release, Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst on 5 May unveiled a substantial package of reforms for the Companies House that includes a major digital upgrade of the register. This upgrade aims at tackling misuse and ensuring its accuracy. As part of the reforms, business owners will benefit from new protections from fraud. The new package of measures will boost the reputation of the UK’s business environment and ensure the reliability of the UK’s company register.

Thumbs-up Dave

A lead character – affectionately called ‘Thumbs-up Dave’, will be giving businesses the thumbs-up or the thumbs-down depending on whether they’ve filed their accounts online and on time. He’ll also be promoting a range of digital tools that will help businesses to file their accounts online.

Louise Smyth, Chief Executive of Companies House and The Registrar of Companies for England and Wales explains: “It has never been easier for company directors to file online and stay on top of their filing. Despite this, many businesses are still choosing to file their accounts on paper, increasing the risk of incurring a late filing penalty.

“Our aim is to drive confidence in the UK economy, and help create and support an economy that boosts productivity and earning power throughout the UK. One of the ways we’re achieving this is by delivering brilliant services, making our register the most innovative, open and trusted in the world. This is why we’re urging businesses to use our digital tools to file online and file on time.”

Online walkthroughs will guide company directors through the process of filing online, and the email reminder service will tell company directors when accounts are due, to help avoid late filing penalties. According to the news story, the digital toolkit is not just to help company directors avoid late filing penalties. The digital upgrade actually offers much more to businesses.

Back in 2016, Companies House had confirmed it aims to become a 100 per cent digital organisation by 2019.

Tackling economic crime through digital upgrade

Companies will be better protected from fraud, under new Companies House reforms that will do more to safeguard the personal data of business owners and ensure the accuracy of the register.

Digital reforms will contribute to the UK efforts to tackle economic crime by increasing the traceability of company ownership and management while offering business owners and businesses greater protection from fraud.

The proposed reforms will help increase the accuracy and usefulness of the information available on the companies register, which last year was accessed 6.5 billion times and, as of March 2018, included over 4 million limited companies. This means the company information is under constant scrutiny.

In the last three years, there have been almost 10,000 complaints to Companies House from people concerned about their personal details, with worries including fraud and use of personal details topping the list.

Most open and transparent company registers

The UK has one of the highest ratings for cracking down on anonymous companies, and the government’s proposed measures build on Britain’s world-leading anti-corruption activity. In 2016, the UK became the first country in the G20 to introduce a public register of company ownership, while new protections against identity fraud for company directors were introduced in 2018.

The proposed digital upgrade will be underpinned by a major transformation programme to upgrade digital services at Companies House alongside a complete review of its staffing and skills requirement. This package of proposals, if brought forward would be the largest change to the system of setting up and operating companies since the register was created in 1844.

The UK has worked to improve transparency and tackle money laundering through making the company register freely accessible online in 2015, establishing it as one of the most open and transparent company registers in the world, along with other measures.

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