Companies House offers free accounts data

Companies House is allowing the public to have free access to statutory accounts in data format for the first time ever.

Companies House launched its Free Accounts Data product last week, which allows anyone to download accounts information free of charge in a ZIP file.

Data is only available on electronically filed accounts, and Companies House said the tool will “open up financial data on companies, increasing transparency and making data analysis more efficient.”

Companies House is part of the public data group and said it is committed to the UK’s 'open data' agenda.

The tool was developed with funding from the Public Sector Transparency Board.

A new file will be added daily over a five day period of Tuesday to Sunday and will only contain the accounts data registered on the previous day.

The data will be available in one of two formats - either inline iXBRL or XBRL format. Each file will be available to download for 60 calendar days, after which it will be removed, but remain available via the previous years’ monthly files.

AccountingWEB associate editor Jennifer Adams said...

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Comments
johngroganjga's picture

A lot of data here but how do

johngroganjga | | Permalink

A lot of data here but how do you find within that mass of data the accounts of the particular company that will be of interest in any given case?  What am I missing?  It sounds as though it may be worth continuing to pay £1 to go direct to what you need.

If the tool is indeed free

andreas.christo... | | Permalink

If the tool is indeed free then it would be possible to build a simple tool that allows a business to scrape the issued data for information. That way a business could get information about submitted accounts from anyone they were interested in (suppliers? customers? competitors?) the day after filing, if they were filed electronically.

A relatively simple activity could be scheduled five times a week which would pull "today's" items, unzip them on a server somewhere and check for any information necessary.

I presume someone will set up some sort of service which permits them to index the files if Companies House permits this. Any indexing service would be very simple to program and woudl require a comparatively small amount of disc space. Even if the files averaged to 50MB/day compressed, then this would only be 20GB/year so would be within the realms of web hosting costing approx. £5-10/month.

However, if Companies House doesn't permit any indexing or third party implementation of their data this might not be of interest to anyone without a handy and bored computer programmer in their organisation.

daveforbes's picture

it is big    1 thanks

daveforbes | | Permalink

The data set is indeed free. It is about 100Gb uncompressed and contains 1.26 million sets of accounts. It took our computers around 3 days to process and index.

It is also about 15% xbrl which needs to be transformed to html.

How much indexing did you do

andreas.christo... | | Permalink

How much indexing did you do that it took three days to process 100GB of uncompressed text?

daveforbes's picture

Lots !    1 thanks

daveforbes | | Permalink

Lots !

However I can list and view the accounts of companies incorporated on a Tuesday with intangible assets of over £5000 in the HP2 postcode area.

I just need to decide why that would be useful.

 

Wow, that seems brilliant.

andreas.christo... | | Permalink

Wow, that seems brilliant. Are there tools for managing that or just a languages native xml parser, regex and an sql server?

(Which is what I was thinking. Python plus sql.)

daveforbes's picture

Getting bit geeky    1 thanks

daveforbes | | Permalink

Getting a bit geeky for an accountancy forum. Feel free to PM me.

Tom 7000's picture

@dave

Tom 7000 | | Permalink

 

However I can list and view the accounts of companies incorporated on a Tuesday with intangible assets of over £5000 in the HP2 postcode area.

I just need to decide why that would be useful. 

 

Because you can write to them all in a mail merge and ask if the accountant has claimed tax on R and D expenses or correctly treated the amortisation of goodwill ( from tax or FRS 102 viewpoint) and would a free 1 hr review be of any use as it may save you some tax or being prosecuted by FRC.

....and now you have 50 new clients.( assuming you have the time to pop in and chat with them)

 

Or you can sell similar info to me in GU postcode ;o)

Tom

Ps

It always amused me that Epson printers are based in the HP post code area! Gotta be gutted your rivals name is on all the post

That reminds me ...    1 thanks

B Roberts | | Permalink

Tom 7000 wrote:

It always amused me that Epson printers are based in the HP post code area! Gotta be gutted your rivals name is on all the post

When the "Liverpool 1" shopping centre opened, Everton Football Club opened up a souvenir shop and called it "Everton 2".

The address is therefore : Everton 2, Liverpool 1