How to register a limited company (ltd)

Company Employees

Before you can begin trading as a limited company you need to register (or incorporate) with Companies House, either directly, through a formations agent. This guide will talk you through the process of company formation and outline the decisions and documentation you need to think about first.

How to register

There are several ways to register. You can do it quickly and easily online with Smarta, prices start from £9.99, and in 3 steps you can have your company details uploaded, and we'll file your documents to Companies House; we also provide access to a range of services essential for start-ups (incl. Business Banking). Alternatively, you can register yourself directly with Companies House for £12 and can complete the registration process yourself, or pay an accountant to take care of it for you.  Accountants, of course, are the costlier option as you're paying by the hour for professional advice.

Company officers

The law requires you have at least one company director, whose name and address is stated in the company's Articles of Association, and is a 'natural person' - rather than another company - over 16 years old.  When registering online you'll need to create digital signatures for all directors, by detailing three pieces of personal information, e.g. First three letters of mother's maiden name; Town of birth; First three letters of eye colour.

  • You must have 'natural person' director 16 years old or above
  • You must make a digital signature if registering online


All private companies are owned by shareholders and divided up into shares. The share capital is the number and nominal value of the shares. This can be any figure you wish and you don't have to issue all of the shares. For instance, if you have a share capital of 1,000 valued at £1 each you could divide that among shareholders based on their holding or, alternatively, issue one to yourself and keep 999 for issuing at a later date.

  • Share capital can be any figure you wish
  • Divide shares based on holding


If you're registering directly to Companies House you will need to fill in four forms: A Memorandum of Association, which explains the company's name, location and function; Articles of Association, which describe how it will be run; form 10, or the Statement of the First Directors, Secretary and Registered Office, which say where the company's registered office is and gives details of directors and their addresses, and form 12, or the Declaration of Compliance with the Requirements of the Companies Act , which shows the company meets all the legal requirements. If you register online or with Smarta you'll still be submitting these forms but it'll be done for you.

Register your company with Smarta

As a Formations agent, we're committed to making the process of incorporating your company as simple and quick as possible. The benefits of forming your company with us are:

  • Smarta simplicity - we offer you clear packages to get your company formed from £9.99.
  • Smarta savings - once your company is formed , you can get up to £50 cashback when you open up a Business Bank Account through Smarta Formations.
  • Smarta speed - your application to register only takes a matter of moments via Smarta Formations; you can be incorporated in up to 24 hours, or if you choose our express service you could be trading within 3 hours.
  • Smarta service - we pride ourselves on the support we will provide you as and where necessary. We're available online or contact us directly on +44 (0)330 335 1573. Once your company is formed your dedicated support agent will offer useful guidance on what to expect after you've registered.
  • Smarta safekeeping - through our control centre, we will keep all your official documentation and tools relating to your business in one place via the Smarta Formations dashboard.

Smarta Formations is the quickest and easiest way for you to register your limited company. All the hard work is handled for you. 

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