Guidance

Being a company director

Understanding your role as a company director and your responsibilities to Companies House.

Being a company director

Your responsibilities to Companies House

As a director, you’re legally responsible for running the company and making sure information is sent to us on time.

This includes:

You can hire other people to manage some of these things day-to-day (for example, an accountant) but you’re still legally responsible for your company’s records, accounts and performance.

General duties of a director

As a director, you must perform a set of 7 duties under the Companies Act 2006. These still apply if:

  • you’re not active in your role as director
  • someone else tells you what to do
  • you act as a director but have not been formally appointed
  • you control a board of directors without being on it

Company’s constitution

You must follow the company’s constitution and its articles of association. These are written rules about running the company, agreed by the members, directors and the company secretary.

The constitution sets out what powers you’re granted as a director, and the purpose of those powers.

Promote the success of the company

You must act in the company’s best interests to promote its success. You must consider the:

  • consequences of decisions, including the long term
  • interests of its employees
  • need to support business relationships with suppliers, customers and others
  • impact of its operations on the community and environment
  • company’s reputation for high standards of business conduct
  • need to act fairly to all members of the company

If the company becomes insolvent, your responsibilities as director will apply towards the creditors, instead of the company. A creditor is anyone owed money by the company.

Independent judgement

You must not allow other people to control your powers as a director. You can accept advice, but you must use your own independent judgement to make final decisions.

Exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence

You must perform to the best of your ability. The more qualified or experienced you are, the greater the standard expected of you.

You must use any relevant knowledge, skill or experience you have (for example, if you’re a qualified accountant).

Avoid conflicts of interest

You must avoid situations where your loyalties might be divided. You should consider the positions and interests of your family, to avoid possible conflicts.

You should tell other directors and members about any possible conflict of interest, and follow any process set out in the company’s articles of association.

This duty continues to apply if you’re no longer a director. You must not take advantage of any property, information or opportunity you became aware of as a director.

Third party benefits

You must not accept benefits from a third party that are offered to you because you’re a director. This could cause a conflict of interest.

The company may allow you to accept benefits like reasonable corporate hospitality, if it’s clear there’s no conflict of interest.

Interests in a transaction

You must tell the other directors and members if you might personally benefit from a transaction the company makes. For example, if the company plans to enter a contract with a business owned by a member of your family.

Other duties

Other duties you must perform as a company director include:

  • not misusing the company’s property
  • applying confidentiality about the company’s affairs

Contact your professional adviser or trade association to find out more.

Directors’ toolkit

Here are some useful links and digital tools to help you understand more about your role and responsibilities as a company director.

This guidance does not replace independent legal or other professional advice.

Online tools

Our interactive learning tools can guide you through everything you need to know about your responsibilities to Companies House. They’re free to use, work on any device and can be completed in 25 minutes.

‘How to’ video demos

Watch our ‘How to’ videos on YouTube. These are instructional guides that show you how to file your Companies House information online.

How to register for online filing

Email reminders

Register for email reminders from Companies House. This service tells you when your company’s accounts and confirmation statements are due by sending you an email.

The service is free, and you can:

  • choose up to 4 people to receive a reminder (including an agent)
  • file your document immediately from a link within the reminder
  • receive reminders more conveniently
  • avoid late filing penalties by filing your accounts on time

We’re no longer sending paper reminders by post. Analysis shows email reminders are more successful than paper reminders and users are more likely to file on time.

Registering for email updates

Register for email updates and stay up to date with the latest information and news from Companies House.

You can subscribe for alerts on a variety of topics, including:

  • latest news
  • Companies House blog
  • events
  • legislative updates

Over 500,000 people have already signed up. If you change your mind, you can easily unsubscribe at any time.

This is not the same as our email reminders for accounts and confirmation statement.

Webinars

Our webinars provide you with quick and useful guidance on a range of topics, including:

  • starting a limited company
  • directors’ responsibilities
  • how to submit a successful application for a community interest company (CIC)

If you missed the live presentation, you can watch a recording of our latest webinars.

Watch a recording of our bite-size webinar series

Published 29 October 2018
Last updated 31 March 2021 + show all updates
  1. Added directors' toolkit with links to more online guidance.

  2. Being a company director video added.

  3. First published.