Choosing a suitable address as a registered office is one the first decisions you will make when setting up a UK limited company. Some people use their accountant’s address as a registered office. However, there are a number of reasons why this is not the best choice, which we discuss below.
Why you should not use your accountant for your registered office
Using your accountant’s address as a registered office may seem like a good choice, given that important tax notices and filing reminders from HMRC will be delivered to this address. However, your accountant is not the one who is legally responsible for the statutory filing and reporting requirements of your company. It is you, the company director, who is wholly responsible and liable.
By using your accountant for your registered office, a number of disadvantages and risks present themselves:
- Loss of control: You lose control over access to your government mail. This important statutory correspondence from Companies House, HMRC, and other government agencies will be delivered and opened by your accountant or one of their employees. You will not get to view this mail yourself, so you won’t know what is delivered and when. As the company director, you must retain control. This includes having full access to all statutory company mail.
- Not mail handlers: Accountants are not professional mail handlers. Receiving your company’s statutory mail is not your accountant’s main focus, which means that mistakes may be made – and these mistakes can be costly to you and your company.
- Not relevant to accountants: Not all statutory mail delivered to your company’s registered office will be relevant to the work that your accountant carries out on your behalf. There is, therefore, a risk that important forms of communication will be overlooked. This could lead to missed filing deadlines, legal notices, and important compliance news, which could have severe consequences for you and your company.
- Relying on a third party: It is incredibly risky to rely on your accountant to notify or remind you of filing deadlines, reporting obligations, or any other duties that fall upon you as a director. The buck stops with you, so you need to minimise the risk of vital information and responsibilities slipping your mind.
- Lack of independence: If you decide to change your accountant at some point, you will also have to change your registered office address at Companies House. Additionally, you will need to update your registered office details on your website and all of your business stationery, which can be time-consuming and costly.
- It is not free: Regardless of what your accountant suggests, using their address as your registered office is not a free service. Accountants charge high hourly rates for their professional services and valuable expertise – they do not work for free, and nor should they be expected to. Therefore, the cost of handling your mail will be hidden in their fees.
Benefits of using a modern digital mail service
Using a professional registered office and service address means that you will enjoy the benefits of a modern digital mail service. At 1st Formations, our London Registered Office and London Service Address provide a number of advantages to limited companies registered in England and Wales:
- Professional service: All statutory company mail delivered to your registered office or service address is handled by a dedicated, professional team whose sole focus is to receive, process, scan, and forward clients’ important mail.
- Immediate access: Your official government mail is made available to you online via your secure customer portal, which you can access at any time, from anywhere. Every item of official mail from HMRC, Companies House, and other government agencies is delivered to you by email on the same day that it is received at our London office.
- Retain control: You retain control of your statutory correspondence and, therefore, remove the risk of penalties, fines, and reputational damage resulting from government mail being overlooked by your accountant or one of their employees. There is no reliance on your accountant to properly handle or inform you about important matters requiring your attention.
- Independence: You maintain professional boundaries and practical independence from your accountant. If you want to use a different accountant or decide to do your own bookkeeping and accounting in the future, there is no need to change your registered office and service address or update your company stationery and business cards.
- Cost: You will only pay accountancy fees for specialist accountancy work and advice, not mail-handling duties. The cost of our prestigious Registered Office Service in Covent Garden, London is only £39.00 (+ VAT) per year, which is a fraction of the cost that an accountant will include in their fees for providing registered office and mail-handling services. Our London Service Address is available for just £26.00 per year.
- Corporate image: You will enjoy the prestige and professional credibility that a recognisable, central London address affords, even if you and your business are located elsewhere. Linking your company to a prominent address enables you to present a superior corporate image to customers, business partners, suppliers, and other professional associates. Your registered office address and service address, both of which are publicly available on the Companies House public register and easily searchable on Google, are not restricted to wherever your accountant’s office is situated.
- Continuity: You can use the same London address as your registered office, director’s service address, and business address, ensuring that all mail is delivered to one place, handled by a dedicated mail team, and available to view in a single online portal.
As a limited company director, you alone are responsible for complying with government notices and reminders, not your accountant.
If your accountant does not fulfil a statutory obligation on your behalf, or fails to inform you about mail requiring your attention, you have no recourse. It is your legal responsibility to read every piece of government mail that is delivered to you or your company, so you must retain control and ensure that you always have immediate and unlimited access to this important correspondence.