The different ways to set up a company

If you want to set up a company, you can form it yourself via Companies House, use a formations agent, or an accountant will typically be more than happy to take care of the incorporation process on your behalf.

Company Formation Methods

These are the four methods by which you can incorporate a new company:

1. Online formation via Companies House

2. Paper formation via Companies House

3. Incorporation via a Formations Agent

4. Incorporation via your accountant

In each case, the same details are submitted to Companies House, however you may prefer for a third party to take care of the administrative side of the formation process.

What information does Companies House require?

If all cases, to form a limited company, you must provide the following documents:

1. Form IN01, which contains details of the company’s shareholders, the directors and company secretary (if there is one). It also records details of the share capital, if your are setting up a limited company guaranteed by shares. If you are setting up a company via the web, you will not need to fill in a physical form, as all data is captured online.

2. Memorandum of Association, which includes the names and addresses of the subscribers who are forming the company.

3. Articles of Association, which outline how the company is to be run, and what powers the directors will have. Importantly, model articles can be used (which should suffice for the majority of formations), so you will not be required to submit your own articles unless you have been advised to do so.

Company Formation Costs

Company formation is not an expensive process. You will pay a £15 web incorporation fee if you use the Companies House direct service (see link below), and anything from around £30 to £120 if you use one of the leading company formations agents.

If you prefer to incorporate direct with Companies House, but use paper-based forms, the standard service costs £40 (and can take up to 10 days to get processed), and the same day service costs £100.

Accountants may charge an initial ‘set up’ fee if you want to start a new company. This will often cover the cost of registering your company for Corporation Tax, VAT, and other tasks, so make sure you check exactly how much you will be charged before signing up. In some cases, accountants will waive these set-up costs if you sign up to their firm if you hire them.

Further Information

  • Companies House – access the web incorporation service here if you want to form a company yourself.
  • You can also set up a company immediately via our long-term formations here.
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