Appoint directors and a company secretary

Your company must have at least one director. Directors are legally responsible for running the company and making sure company accounts and reports are properly prepared.

A director must be 16 or over and not be disqualified from being a director.

Directors do not have to live in the UK but companies must have a UK registered office address.

Directors’ names and personal information are publicly available from Companies House.

Directors must provide a service address (or ‘correspondence’ address), which will also be publicly available. If they use their home address, they can ask Companies House to remove it from the register.

Company secretaries

You do not need a company secretary for a private limited company. Some companies use them to take on some of the director’s responsibilities.

The company secretary can be a director but cannot be:

  • the company’s auditor
  • an ‘undischarged bankrupt’ - unless they have permission from the court

The restrictions placed on a person when they’re made bankrupt usually end when they’re free from their debts (known as ‘discharged’). You can check if someone has been discharged using the Insolvency Register.

Even if you have a company secretary, the directors are legally responsible for the company.

  1. Step 1 Check if setting up a limited company is right for you

    1. Check what a private limited company is

    How you set up your business depends on what sort of work you do. It can also affect the way you pay tax and get funding.

    Check if you should set up as one of the following instead:

    1. Get help deciding how to set up your business
  2. Step 2 Choose a name

  3. Step 3 Choose directors and a company secretary

    You must appoint a director but you do not have to appoint a company secretary.

    1. Find out what directors are responsible for
    2. You are currently viewing: Check who can be a director or company secretary
  4. Step 4 Decide who the shareholders or guarantors are

  5. and Identify people with significant control (PSC) over your company

    For example, anyone with voting rights or more than 25% of the shares.

    1. Find out what counts as a PSC
  6. Step 5 Prepare documents agreeing how to run your company

    You need to prepare a 'memorandum of association' and 'articles of association'.

    1. Find out how to create a memorandum and articles of association
  7. Step 6 Check what records you'll need to keep

  8. Step 7 Register your company

    You'll need to register an official address and choose a SIC code - this identifies what your company does.

    1. Check the rules for company addresses
    2. Check what your SIC code is
    3. Register your company with Companies House

    Most people can register for Corporation Tax at the same time as registering with Companies House.

    If you cannot, register separately with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) after you’ve registered your company with Companies House.

    1. Register with HMRC for Corporation Tax