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What is a Company Registration Number?

September 16, 2022
Starting your own business comes with a lot of responsibility — and a lot of numbers.From the get-go, you can expect to be inundated with important company details, such as your company registration number. To find out what exactly a company registration number is and how you use it, read on.

What is a Company Registration Number?

A company registration number — or CRN — is a unique, eight-character sequence. It’s used to identify a UK company and verify that it’s a legal entity.Company registration numbers are assigned to new companies as soon as they’re incorporated. Company incorporation is the process of registering your business with Companies House, an online space that stores important company information on every limited company and company director in the UK.
You’ll only have one if your business is registered as a limited company or a limited liability partnership (LLP). When registering as a sole trader, or starting out as a freelancer, you’ll be assigned a Unique Taxpayer Reference number (UTR) instead.

Read on to discover the process of getting a company registration number, how to find yours, and where you’ll need to use it.

How to get a Company Registration Number

When you incorporate your business at Companies House, you’re automatically assigned a company registration number. You don’t need to follow a separate process.
If you want to set up a limited company, Ember’s here to help. After you’ve checked to see if your chosen name is available, you can register your business for free — we’ll even cover the £12 incorporation cost for you. Then, we’ll send you the important documents as soon as they’ve been approved by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Easy.

Once you’ve incorporated your business, you’ll receive a certificate of incorporation. On this document, you’ll find your unique company registration number.

Where to find your Company Registration Number

Misplaced your company registration number? Not to worry — you can easily find it on the Companies House records. It’ll be displayed on the left-hand side, beneath your company name.

You’ll also be able to find it on:
    Your company’s certificate of incorporation, issued by Companies HouseThe initial documents sent to you by your company formation agent or accountantAny official correspondence with Companies House, such as letters or emails

What is the format of a Company Registration Number?

Company registration numbers consist of 8 numbers (or 2 letters, followed by 6 numbers). Your number will remain the same for the entire lifetime of your company, despite any changes to your business name, activities or directors and shareholders.Since company registration numbers are auto-generated, you can’t choose or change your company registration number. Your number is based on your country of incorporation, and the type of company you have set up:
8 digitsOC prefix followed by 6 digits
Business structureLocationCRN format
Limited companyEngland and Wales
ScotlandSC prefix followed by 6 digits
Northern IrelandNI prefix followed by 6 digits
Limited partnerships (LLPs)England and Wales
ScotlandSO prefix followed by 6 digits
Northern IrelandNC prefix followed by 6 digits

When is a Company Registration Number needed?

As well as providing your company registration number to Companies House and HMRC, you’ll also need it to be visible to your clients and customers.Your company registration number must be displayed on all business stationery, correspondence and promotional materials. That includes: letters, faxes, emails, compliment slips, order forms, invoices, receipts, leaflets, adverts and your website.It doesn’t have to be displayed on every page, but it must be easy to find. Put it alongside your business name, registered address, VAT number and details of any trade unions you’re a member of. You might be fined if you fail to display the required information in the right places, so it’s best to make sure.As a rule of thumb, make sure you have your company registration number at the ready when:
    Changing your company name Changing your office or registered office address or SAIL address Appointing, removing or changing the details of company secretaries and directors Filing annual accounts or confirmation statements Registering for business taxes Paying Corporation Tax Filing Company Tax Returns Increasing share capital Registering with HMRC for Corporation Tax and VAT Applying for a company bank account, loan or lease Issuing dividend vouchers or share certificates Changing your accounting reference date Dissolving the company
Remembering to put your company registration number on Every. Single. Invoice. Can be a challenge. We get that.
That’s why we’ve made it easy. With Ember, you can generate invoices in just a few clicks. All the important details? They’re already there.

So, the next time you need to send an invoice, you’ll just need to select your client and the service you provided. No need to assign invoice numbers, or calculate prices and VAT. We’ll do it all for you.
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