Companies House say mandatory online filing on hold

Jordans were always slightly sceptical of the ambitious targets set by Government for the mandation of electronic services by Companies House.

Given the success of various Companies House electronic filing initiatives (which compares starkly to the dismal failures of other Government led IT projects) we feel Companies House are right to concentrate on the "80/20" rule. Jordans, for over a decade, have worked closely with Companies House and were the first organisation to file an electronic form, incorporate the first company electronically and spearhead the recent change to secure delivery via XML.

At a time of stringent economic cutbacks it would be pure folly to chase after the hundreds of paper forms that are only used infrequently. Jordans look forward to working with Companies House on a sensible, planned plan to increase the use of electronic filing where economically viable.

Companies House Electronic Services

Companies House made the following statement:

Companies House is one of the government organisations at the forefront of the digital by default agenda. Over 99% of all searches on the companies register are electronic and over 70% of all transactions are filed digitally either through our website or via third party software. Our aim is to become a fully digital registry as soon as possible and last November we announced the intention to mandate electronic delivery of most of our filing services by March 2013.

However, given our success in driving the take-up of our electronic services since November and the government’s absolute determination not to add new regulations that affect small business, we have now decided that we will not proceed with legislation to mandate electronic services by March 2013. Instead of focussing in the short term on the process to mandate, we will devote our resources to improving digital services for customers, including assisted digital services for businesses who need help using digital services, and make them the service of choice.

The biggest challenge is to drive the take-up for the electronic filing of company accounts. We are committed to using the iXBRL format for collecting accounts data, which is the same approach adopted by HMRC. We will work with the software industry to build on the work already done to meet the requirements of HMRC for submitting accounts electronically and in doing so make any change as simple as possible for companies and their agents. This will build on the success of the joint accounts filing service launched last year.

We remain focussed on our goal of being a fully electronic registry. Mandating electronic services is an issue which we will reconsider once the moratorium on new regulation for small businesses has ended in 2014.’

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