You've had your great idea, raided your money box to get started and incorporated your company.  Letters from Companies House start rolling in - where to begin?

This short article is the first in a weekly series of six intended to give entrepreneurs introductory information about compliance with Companies House requirements with particular reference to likely events in a company's life-cycle.

Every company incorporated in England and Wales has to complete certain administrative tasks to avoid penalties being levied by Companies House and, in the worst case, strike-off action.

Required tasks range from annual filing of the Confirmation Statement and Accounts to notifying the issue and allotment of shares when new investors come on board and filing new Articles of Association when the company's constitution changes, all of which can be an unwelcome distraction when you are working hard to launch your new business or grow an existing one.

A solution adopted by many companies is to outsource the company secretarial administration to a specialist provider or to their lawyers or accountants.  Most providers charge a reasonably priced annual fee which ensures the company's administrative records are kept at one, secure location and greatly reduces the risk that a required filing date will be overlooked.  

Next week's article will cover directors' responsibilities and mitigating risk, and will be followed by articles on:

- risks and penalties of defaulting on Companies House filings

- correcting information submitted to Companies House

- documenting an investment round

- sale of the company

The penalties for non-compliance with Companies House filing requirements can be draconian, so make sure you know what you need to do or speak to an adviser who can help.