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Choosing Your Company Name – Characters and Symbols


Updated on 18/08/2014

Stressing the importance of a company name is pointless – let’s just leave it at “it matters”. So in this series of blogs we’re going to touch on the restrictions imposed by Companies House in regards to what you can and what can’t call your company. So before we wade into the sticky topic of “restricted words” (blog to follow) let us start with a slightly easier subject – Characters and Symbols.

So let’s get straight to it. Below are all the characters and symbols allowed by Companies House:

The Alphabet

A a B b C c D d E e F f G g H h I i J j K k L l M m N n O o P p Q q R r S s T t U u
V v W w X x Y y Z z


0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9



& @ £ $ * = # % + ‘’ ( ) [ ] { } < > € ¥ ! ‘ “ ” ? \ / « » . – _ : ;

Please note that you can’t use symbols in the first three characters of the company name.

The most notable exception when dealing with symbols is an accent, for example “café”. In these situations we would recommend simply using the word “café” without the accent and simply trade with the accent post-formation.


Company Formation Sector Reluctant to Apply for finance


Throughout the recession, the majority of feedback from the small business and company formation sector, has been that limited access to finance is the main challenge faced by enterprise in the current economic climate

However, a recent report conducted by the Forum of Private Enterprise, claims that in a survey of over five hundred small business owners, over sixty per cent have been reluctant to borrow money off banks in the last quarter.

Laura Innes, spokesperson for the FPE, comments: “ Largely the perception of SME’s throughout the recession has been that of a sector desperate for additional Finance and while that may be true for a proportion of small businesses, many still feel anxious and the thought of borrowing from banks and are now looking into different routes of funding.


The Impact of Pension Reform on Company Formation


When the coalition government first came into power, David Cameron promised an ‘enterprise led recovery’.

Consequently, in its ‘Emergency Budget’ the coalition made certain concessions to the SME and company formation sector to help small business and support company formation, namely the reduction in corporation tax and certain improvement in National Insurance.

However, since the Emergency Budget has been announced the government has also made a number of contentious decisions which many company owners feel could not only put them under more pressure, but also compromise the countries broader economic recovery.

One of the main areas of concern is the government’s plans to auto enrol small businesses and recently formed companies into its pension reform scheme.


Company Formation on the Up in the Capital


While the media has been saturated with stories of how small businesses in the north are finding it much tougher than businesses in the south, a report last week discredited the claims and claimed that more research needed to be done in the light of the increasing anxiety surrounding the governments cuts in public spending .

But what about the difference in the number of people considering company formation in the North and the South? According to a recent report, conducted by business insurance experts Simply Business, the number of people considering company formation is much higher in the South than the North.

The report also found that the number of students planning on starting a business as soon as the leave university had increased by over fifty per cent in two years. Setting up an IT company was what over twenty per cent of those interested in company formation, were planning.

Ian Haines, spokesperson for Simply Business, comments; “The job market has suffered extensively throughout the recession, therefore it is extremely positive to think that the next generation are considering enterprise. It also shows how important it is for the government to continue to support existing small businesses and emerging entrepreneurs.”


Lack of Finance is Universal say Company Formation Report


The findings of a recent survey found that while finance is limited throughout the country the situation is much worse for small business owners situated up north than it is for their southern counterparts. However, today the findings of this report have been questioned by The Forum of Finance and Funding.

The body conducted its own research into the apparent north south funding divide and its findings were completely different from the initial research.

Indeed, the FFF research found that there is actually more public sector funding available in the North than in the south.
Stephen Morris, spokesperson of the Forum of Finance and Funding, comments on the reports; “While we don’t entirely dispute previous research it is clear that contrasting finding of our survey reveals the need for more research to be done into the North South finance divide.”


What the Spending Review Means for Company Formation


As business owners up and down the country anxiously wait to see what impact the government’s spending cuts will have on their businesses, the Confederation of British Industry has come out in force to urge the government not to cut spending in areas which will help support enterprise.

In their statement, the CBI says it appreciates the fact that the government must make cuts in order to sustain the UK’s fragile economic recovery. However, it clearly states that the government must not be short sighted in their approach, making sure that it protects investment in vital areas such as research and development.

Speaking about the government’s planned cuts in spending, Matthew Worsely, from the Forum of Small Business, comments; “Obviously, we are aware that a tough economy means that tough decisions must be made. However, the government promised that recovery would be enterprise led. Making spending cuts in areas which stimulate and support business would be shortsighted and ill-advised.”


Is Funding for Company Formation Tougher to get in the North


It is a well documented fact that the majority of small businesses have found gaining access to additional finance increasingly difficult throughout the recession. Indeed, despite poor market conditions and an overall decrease in consumer confidence, many small business owners and entrepreneurs who have recently completed the company formation process, have stated that not being able to get funding has been the biggest challenge they face. But is it an issue which affects all areas of the country equally?

Well according to recent research, completed by market research company ‘F.A Research’, funding is much harder to access in the North than it is in the south.

The survey, which included over two hundred business owners, found that companies situated in the North are much more concerned about finance than their counterparts down south.

Stephen Howls, director of private enterprise firm ‘Howls Investment’ comments ; “ In the context in which businesses are waiting to see exactly what impact the government’s cuts in public spending will have on their business, this research is extremely worrying. It also prompts the question of whether the government’s plans to cut back on local enterprise support is a little short sighted.”


Small Companies hit Hardest by Finance Slump


According to the most recent statistics released by the Bank of England, the amount of finance given to small businesses has dropped by over twenty seven pillion pounds since the credit crunch began.

While banks are increasingly directing significant resource into trying to win the business bank accounts of small businesses, via a number of targeted marketing campaigns, it appears that they are still reluctant to lend to recently formed companies and small businesses.

James Morris, managing director of business consultancy firm ‘Morris Consultancy Ltd’, comments; “

“Despite the government’s recent attempts to support small business and enterprise in the UK, by reducing corporation tax and a number of new initiatives, they have as yet failed to address the main challenge facing the SME sector – limited access to finance. Until they do so, the country’s economic recovery is still under threat.”


Forming A Dormant Company – Don’t Be Fooled


Last Updated: 26/08/2014

Let’s keep this one brief. Forming a dormant company is exactly the same as forming a trading company. You still need a company name, you still need a company director and you still need a shareholder. The formation process is not one iota different.

What’s important with a dormant company (other than to not start trading!) is that you file the correct documentation post formation. A few weeks after the incorporation of the company HMRC will send a letter , the “CT41G”. Simply write to HMRC at the address provided at the top of the letter – telling them that your company is unlikely to start any business activity in the near future. When the company starts trading, you must then notify HMRC within three months of starting your first accounting period. It is possible HMRC will also mail a letter in regards to Corporation Tax. This can be countered with a short letter explaining that the company is dormant.

The next maintenance step for your dormant company is to prepare the Annual Return (due once a year). The Annual Return is a snapshot of the appointments in the company and does not really deal with the trading status of the company. The only part of the Return that touches on this is the “UK Standard Industrial Classification Code”, more commonly known as the “Sic Code”. All you need to remember is that the Sic Code for a dormant company is 99999.

The final step is preparing the Dormant Company Accounts. As the name suggests, Accounts deal with the finances of your company. The first set of Accounts are due 21 months after incorporation (this is the deadline, it is recommended to prepare these before this date), they are then due yearly after this. It’s very important to make a note of your due dates as a fine is imposed for late filing. If your company were trading you would need to submit the standard Accounts, because it is Dormant you simply submit Dormant Company Accounts.

As long as these steps are adhered to you’ll have no problem in maintaining you dormant company.

Click here for our Company Registration Packages
Click here for our Annual Return Service
Click here for our Dormant Company Accounts


Free Company Secretarial System – Too Good To Be True? No


At the beginning of August we launched our innovative and simple to use Company Secretarial System. Aimed primarily at accountants (but by no means restricted to them) the free system allows users to manage all their Limited Companies from one centralised, user friendly system. Perhaps the main benefit of using this system (apart from receiving discounted rates on a number of our services including new Company Formations) is the opportunity to carry out various managerial tasks for each company.

Via the system you can:

  • Resign and Appoint Directors & Secretaries
  • Edit information for existing Directors & Secretaries
  • Change Registered Office information
  • Increase the amount of shares in the company
  • All of these tasks, if done directly through Companies House via their paper forms, can take up to 10 days to be accepted and then that’s only if the forms were completed correctly. Via our free and simple to use system, the changes are often accepted within just 3 hours. Can the same activities be done via Companies House WebFiling? Yes, but every time you want to make a change you have to enter 4 pieces of information:

    1. Company/LLP
    2. Company Type
    3. Company Number
    4. Authentication Code

    If you want to make a change to another company, you have to enter all 4 pieces of information again! Now imagine how frustrating that would be if you have several companies to manage. Using our free company secretarial system all you have to do is login with your email address and password and you can make as many changes to as many different companies on your account as you like. And let’s not forget – it’s totally free to use.

    There are also a couple of features you can use via our system (for free) that Companies House doesn’t have:

  • Record dividends and produce dividend vouchers
  • Receive annual return and account alert reminders via email
  • Since we launched the system in August we’ve received a few calls from people that whilst interested in the system, ask; “What’s the catch?”. There simply isn’t one. If you want to use the system simply to group together your companies and carry out admin such as the bullet points above there is no charge.

    The only charges on the system are for the following services:

  • To form a limited company from just £25 including Companies House fees
  • To file an annual return (we only charge £5.88 on top of the standard Companies House £15 filing fee)
  • To view a demo of the system along with a detailed tutorial and to sign up click here.