BDO: New confirmation statement not saving time

Sarah Elms of BDO.

Sarah Elms of BDO. - Credit: Archant

The new confirmation statement, which replaces the annual return filing at Companies House, has been in operation since July.

But the main issue, we have observed, is there needs to be an equivalent document to the annual return which can be downloaded and reviewed by banks, credit reference agencies, auditors and company secretarial departments.

To date no such document is produced by Companies House and this is causing confusion. Company secretarial software providers have also been slow on the uptake. There are major providers that still lack the facility to create a single comprehensive document that includes all of the information on an annual return and the information on the People with Significant Control (PSC) register. The confirmation statement itself simply lists the share capital and any PSC registrable person, rather than detailing all of the information on a company. To find information on the shareholders, you will need to have access to a company's web filing account to order a copy of the current information by email.

The confirmation statement was intended to simplify filings, saving time for small companies. In our opinion, the time potentially saved is insignificant, and the problems now being faced by anyone trying to confirm information on a company far outweigh the few minutes a year saved by each small incorporated business.

Businesses of a reasonable size generally wish to check their company details filed on the public record every year, and to have a document they can save in their own records.

We recommend seeking advice.