If you have forgotten the SIC code you used when setting up your company or updating your business activities on a previous confirmation statement, there is no need to worry. It’s not something that you use very often, but it’s easy to find when you know where to look.
Below, we explain the various places where you can locate your company’s SIC code. We also share some other useful bits of information on this topic, including the purpose of these codes, how to change them or add more, and the situations where you will need to provide your SIC code.
If you formed a company with 1st Formations
If you formed your company through 1st Formations, you will have a client account on our Online Company Manager facility. You can access your Customer Dashboard via our website to view all of your important company details.
The ‘Company Overview’ section of your account holds all your basic company information. To access your account, follow these four steps:
- Visit the Client Login page on our website and sign in with your username and password
- Select ‘My Companies’
- Select the ‘View’ button
- You will find your SIC code in the ‘Company Particulars’ section
You can also use this facility to update company details, report changes to Companies House, and file confirmation statements online.
Register a free account with us
If you didn’t form a company through 1st Formations, you can still use our Online Company Manager. Simply register an account online and import your existing company onto our system. It’s free of charge and you’ll enjoy all of the same benefits as our existing company formation customers.
If you formed a company elsewhere
Whether you set up a company directly at Companies House or through another agent – do not worry, we won’t hold that against you. You can still find your SIC code in a few easy steps:
- Visit Companies House service
- Enter your company name and click on the magnifying glass icon in the search bar
- Select your company from the list of results
- You will find your SIC code at the bottom of the ‘Overview’ tab, under ‘Nature of business (SIC)’
The information you see on-screen can also be viewed by the general public. If any of your company details are incorrect or out of date, you should update this information at Companies House when it’s time to file your next confirmation statement, or earlier if you prefer. This will ensure that your company record is kept up to date at all times.
What is a SIC code?
‘SIC’ code is an abbreviation of ‘standard industrial classification’. It is a 5-digit number accompanied by a trade description or nature of business activity. For example, ‘10320 – Manufacture of fruit and vegetable juice’.
The purpose of these codes is to give Companies House an indication of the industries in which registered businesses operate. This data is commonly used by government agencies and bodies, academics and researchers, and other organisations for statistical analyses of economic activity in the UK.
Some companies make use of SIC codes to classify their commercial customers and identify competitors. SIC codes can also provide valuable insights for marketing departments when they’re creating targeted campaigns.
When will I be asked to provide a SIC code?
You will need to provide a SIC code when you apply to register a company. During the online company formation process with 1st Formations, you will be presented with the condensed list of SIC codes. Simply pick the code that is most appropriate for your main business activity.
The list is extensive, with over 600 different SIC codes to choose from. Some are very specific, but others are rather vague or broad in nature. As a result, it is sometimes difficult to find one that describes what your company does, so you may have to spend some time scrolling through the list.
If your products or services are complex or varied, you might have to provide more than one code – you can use up to four.
Companies House will also require your SIC code if you request the removal of a standard industrial classification that no longer applies to your business. You must complete such requests in a supplementary section (Part 1) of the confirmation statement.
Other organisations who may ask you for a SIC code
Banks, building societies, mortgage lenders, insurance companies, service providers, and suppliers may request your SIC code when you apply to enter into a contract with them or use their services. Financial providers and creditors often use this information to determine if you operate in a high-risk industry.
Similarly, you will need your code when engaging in government contracts and applying for loans or grants. This is because certain projects and funding are limited to specific industries or businesses of a particular size.
Some local councils and commercial waste management companies will ask you to provide your company’s SIC code. This helps them to decide which type of trade waste service you require.
Which types of companies have to provide standard industrial classifications?
Public limited companies (PLCs), private companies limited by shares or guarantee, unlimited companies, and limited liability partnerships (LLPs) must provide SIC codes when they register with Companies House.
You do not have to provide a standard industrial classification code if you register as a sole trader business, general partnership, or limited partnership (LP). Instead, you will just describe what your business does in your own words.
How do I find the right SIC code for my business activities?
To find the right SIC code for your business activities, you will need to search the condensed list of standard industrial classifications provided by Companies House.
There is a SIC search facility on the Companies House website, which allows you to enter a search term related to your business activity. However, this often fails to provide any matches, so you may have to manually scroll through the list.
Can I use more than one standard industrial classification code?
You can choose up to four standard industrial classifications if a single code does not fully describe the activities of your company. Whilst many companies find that one SIC code covers what they do, it’s not uncommon for businesses to provide more to ensure that all of their activities are recorded.
How do I change a SIC code at Companies House?
If you need to change a SIC code, add extra classifications, or remove an incorrect or out-of-date code, you will have to file a confirmation statement with Companies House. You can do this online or by post.
SIC codes are updated on a supplementary section – Part 1 Standard industrial classification (SIC) code change – of the confirmation statement.
You can wait until your next confirmation statement is due, or you can file one early if you’d like to update your SIC code as soon as possible.
So, there you have it…
We’ve explained what to do if you’ve forgotten the SIC code for your limited company, unlimited company, or LLP. Thankfully, locating your code is a straightforward process that does not require a great deal of effort.
We hope this post has been helpful and left you with a greater knowledge of the purpose of standard industrial classification codes in the UK.
If you have any questions about this topic – or limited companies in general – please leave a comment below or contact our company formation team.