Essentially, before you begin, you need:
- a company name, which can be almost any name that has not previously been registered.
- a Director
- a Company Secretary (which cannot be the sole director)
- (or you could have two directors, one of whom could also act as Company Secretary)
- a shareholder (which can be either the director or secretary)
- a memorandum of association
- articles of association
You can incorporate a company by filling in form 10 (which lists the first directors, company secretary and registered office) and form 12 (which is a declaration that needs to be witnessed by a commissioner for oaths, a notary public or a solicitor) and submitting your memorandum and articles of association (“standard” or generic versions can be obtained from legal stationers).
You can buy an “off the shelf” company, which has already been registered and is dormant. You then then rename the company, change the directors, company secretary and registered office.
Alternatively, you can use one of the many company formation services out there, who will form a new company for you (the advantage of this is that the company will have no “history”).
If all of this sounds like hard work, you can also ask your accountant to do it on your behalf.
The registered office of a limited company is the official address whereby all statutory documents from Companies House will be sent. This address will be accessible to the general public.
If you work from home and do not wish to use your home address as your registered office, there are companies who provide “registered office services” whereby you use their address and they forward all mail to you.