Once your company is incorporated and registered with the Companies House, you can change the name of your company if you wish so. The need to change the name of your company may crop up because of various reasons such as if you have dropped the previous market or product which you have earlier started with. In this case, if your existing name is not in synchronization with your new interests, you have the option to change the same. Companies House gives you the option to change the name of your company either by paper or electronically i.e. online. While the former one requires you to fill Form NM01 and send it to the Companies House, later one is easier and faster as well. However, before you proceed with the process, you need to take care of certain things in order to save yourself from any problem later on.
Point to remember before changing name of the company:
- Trade Mark Search: This is an important step because last thing you want is to find your name of your company registered as a trademark for someone else. Such situation will not only attract lot of hassles, but will also attract legal action and applicable fine.
- Updating Your Statutory Registers: In case you are a limited company, timely update of statutory registers is an important part because you do not want to upset the concerned authorities. Non-updated statutory registers attract legal actions as well as heavy fine up to £5,000.
- Inform HMRC: It goes without saying that you need to inform the taxman i.e. HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) regarding the change of name for your company.
- Change Company Domain Name: Your client base connects with you mostly with domain name of your company. Normally, name of your company and its domain name goes hand in hand so it becomes important for you to change the domain name in synchronization with new name of your company.
- Change Company Logo: A company logo is something one cannot do without in business world because it is the logo which makes you stand out in the world of competition. Normally, the logo has either full or a part of the name of the company so once the name has undergone change, it is important to change the logo as well.
- Update Company Website: A company name change means either a complete or partial overhauling of the website. You need to update the outdated content, incorrect company details, marketing material related to old name of your company, as per the new name and interests of your company. An updated website will also gives new energy and outlook to your business both on professional and search engine level, because the later one loves new content and will be more than happy to improve your ranking and thus a new updated website will give an edge to your business.
- Update Your Bank: Once you get Certificate of Incorporation of Change from the Companies House, you have to update your bank to change the same in their records. This step is an indispensable step because without as a limited company, you need a proper business banking system to operate smoothly.
- Update Articles of Association and Memorandum: Once you change the name of your company, lot of re-structuring is required and out of those, updating the Articles of Association and Memorandum tops the list because these contain important information such as type of business you wish to undertake, shareholders details, role and responsibility of directors etc.
- Update Your Client Base, Customers and Suppliers: Once you have done the required updates internally, now it is the time to update your clients, customers and suppliers regarding the same. Because your customers need to feel comfortable with the new name and perhaps because of this, it becomes one of most important point before you start considering new name for your business. There are instances where companies have tried re-branding of their business and it has backfired on them.
- Use of Sensitive Words: You should be very careful while selecting new name for your company because new name should not fall under “Sensitive Names” i.e. the words or phrases, prescribed by the law in the use of a company name.
How to Change the Name of Your Company Electronically?
To change the name of your company, you need to follow pre-defined set of instructions, such as:
- Passing A Special Resolution: Once you have decided to change the name of your company, first step would be to take approval of the shareholders on the new name. You can do the same either by conducting a general meeting or by a written resolution. For a special resolution to be passed, you need to have at least 75% majority in favour of it.
- Provisions in the Articles of Association: You can opt for this step in case your company has been incorporated with bespoke articles of association. In this case you can check the articles for any special provision which enables the directors to change the name of the company without seeking approval from the shareholders.
Once you have the idea of how to go about changing the name for your company, you can go ahead with the process online rather than opting for the paper one. Because firstly online process are much quicker and more reliable as compared to posting the paper forms to the Companies House. In this case, you will get the approval from the Companies House within 3-5 hours of submitting the request. Moreover, you just need special resolution to go ahead with the electronic method.
To change the name of your company online, you would need to do the following :
- Login on the WebFiling section on the Companies House website.
- Enter the authentication code sent to you by the Companies House at the time of incorporation of your company.
The process can be summarized in three steps:
- Check the new name of your company: You can check if the desired name is available or not by clicking on the “Change Company Name” button on the “Company” tab. Once there, you need to enter the desired name into the name checking field.
- You need to tell the Companies House about how the new name has been approved i.e. whether it is by passing a special resolution or by provision in the articles and in former case, you would also need to confirm if the special resolution has been passed by having a shareholder meeting or by circulating the written resolution. In case of a special resolution, date on which it was passed need to be mentioned as well.
- Check and Confirm the Details: Once you have entered the asked details, you would need to confirm if the entered details are correct before you press “Confirm” button.
Once you click on the “Confirm” button, your form will be submitted with the Companies House for their approval. Once it is approved by it, you will receive a Certificate of Incorporation of Change with the date from which the change of name is in effect. After you have received the same, you can go ahead and confirm the concerned parties regarding the new name.