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Let's get digital: software-only filings at Companies House

Let's get digital: software-only filings at Companies House
Let's get digital: software-only filings at Companies House

Last updated: 18 April 2024

Each year, every UK company files a set of accounts with Companies House. But if your company is not in the 65% already using software to do that, keep reading!

Soon enough, all companies will use software to file their accounts. That means no more paper filings or even filing via a web browser.

So, why the push? The goal is to fully digitise reporting, increase transparency and minimise errors. But how does it all work, and what do you need to know about software-only filings at Companies House? 

Navigating the software shift

Okay, let's map out exactly what is shifting and how to ride the wave towards compulsory digital documents. First up, what needs switching to a software-only process?

  • Annual accounts and reports
  • Confirmation statements
  • Incorporations
  • Dissolutions
  • Other vital company records, such as changes in the company’s structure.

If you deal with any of the above, then you need to know what's coming. Whether it's a solo-run business, a rapidly expanding startup or a scaling SME, digitisation applies across the board. 

The deadline depends on each organisation's structure and filing schedule, but expect the pressure to ramp up in 2024, with all companies conforming by 2026.

Why the change?

In all honesty, most accounts at Companies House are already filed using software. The transition to software-only filing is seen as a way to improve efficiency, transparency and accuracy in financial reporting.

The move is linked to the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill. The bill has passed and received Royal Assent, which means Companies House can now mandate how businesses file their accounts. This aligns with their vision to create a single, sustainable, secure, transparent and traceable way of filing accounts. 

What are the current filing options?

At the moment, companies can file their accounts via web-based systems (WebFiling and Find and Update Company Information service) and the joint filing service with HMRC (Company Accounts and Tax Online).

A small number of users also still file on paper. Once the new changes come into effect, businesses will no longer be able to use web-based systems or file manually. 

What are the benefits?

Software filing adds several benefits beyond basic compliance:

  • Efficiency: Software reduces the manual work of putting reporting documents together. Automating this saves teams serious time.
  • Accuracy: Software eliminates human error in reports, giving reliability to financial documents.
  • Transparency. Digital formats make company data easier to assess for investors and regulators.
  • Adaptability: With software, adjusting reports to meet new laws is simpler. Changing requirements can be updated with ease.
  • Fraud detection: Standardised digital documents better expose suspicious filing patterns.
  • Sustainability: Paperless reporting conserves resources and reduces waste over physical archives.

We're big advocates for 'doing things digitally' for these reasons, so we welcome the move.

What software-only filings mean for small businesses

For startups and SMEs, moving to software-based filings may seem like just another hassle demanding precious time.

However, once integrated into workflows, the right tools should save considerable time and effort compared to previous reporting routines involving paper and web-browsing systems.

The shift aims to lift some of the monotony of paperwork off your already full plate, crucially, freeing up your time so you can tick off more items on the to-do list. And improving both efficiency and transparency within companies, particularly those with complicated accounts.

Choosing the best software

Adapting to digital reporting isn't just about clearing a compliance bar; it's strategically selecting systems tailored to how you operate and grow, so shop around.

For company admin and equity-related filing requirements, Vestd can help.

Vestd is the first and only equity management platform fully synced to Companies House (and FCA-regulated). And that's a serious advantage.

This two-way integration ensures a seamless transition with automated filings for anything from company changes to updates of People with Significant Control (PSCs). As a result, all customers can submit files to Companies House at the click of a button. 

Update Companies House details, file confirmation statements and more on Vestd.

What it also means is that you can maintain a 100% accurate digital cap table, view changes in real time and share that cap table with investors if desired. So long spreadsheets!

Get ahead

While deadlines still allow for some adjustment runway, setting digital change in motion will maximise your flexibility and help you get ahead of the curve. And it starts by conducting assessments that determine the appropriate software tools for your structure and objectives. 

Rather than just chasing compliance, pick platforms that accelerate structured growth to prevent those hiccups which may impede progress later when regulations fully kick in.

View modernised filing requirements as an opportunity, not an obstacle.

And remember, the move to software-only filings isn't designed to trip you up but to make your life easier in the long run. 

See how Vestd makes Companies House filings a breeze.

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