Registered office outsourcing

Wanting to offer registered office to clients

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Hi all,

When i started my practice some 8 years ago i offered a registered office adress service at my home address. I only offered this to clients i knew very well. But do realise the downsides. 

I'll soon be upsising, and think it is a chance to make a break from having them registeted at my home address. 

Does anybody know of a registered office service provided to accountancy practices. So i could effectively outsource the service?

The idea would be that i can tell my clients they can either move to their own privider of choice or i offer one. 

Thanks in advance (even to all those who are going to criticise me for offering the service to start with)

Replies (14)

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By zebaa
12th May 2024 18:44

This has come up before, so I suggest you search for the topic. As I recall the general feeling was it’s a bad idea, but maybe you can manage the problems.

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Replying to zebaa:
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By harpsong
12th May 2024 18:57

I found lots about offering your home address being a bad idea. Not anything i could see about outsourcing it to an actual registered office provider. But will check again

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By FactChecker
12th May 2024 19:04

"Does anybody know of a registered office service provided to accountancy practices. So i could effectively outsource the service?"

Not aware of, let alone encountered, any provider of such a service.
But I don't find that surprising since, despite the potential dangers/pitfalls, the margins are fairly tiny if any actual service is being provided ... so I can't see the provider willing to share their fees with you.

Wouldn't it be better to admit to affected clients that you no longer wish to offer this (non-core) service and so are giving them notice to find an alternative provider?

One or two might take umbrage, but if you know them well and explain nicely then most will understand. And of course you could do the research for them - by looking for a local (if that's pertinent) supplier and approaching them to see if they'd like you to put their offering in front of your affected clients?

Thanks (3)
Replying to FactChecker:
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By FactChecker
12th May 2024 19:08

Just make sure that any 'recommended' provider is fully up-to-date with the recent company law changes (including increased obligations relating to the registered office details maintained at CH):

https://companieshouse.blog.gov.uk/2024/01/22/get-ready-for-changes-to-u...

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By johnthegood
13th May 2024 05:32

Lots of providers out there eg https://thelondonoffice.com

We are not based in London so offered a "London office" via the above to some clients but tbh it became too much hassle, so now they get our office for free or they arrange it themselves elsewhere.

These are also very popular with clients that come to us having set up their own company https://www.rapidformations.co.uk

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By Paul Crowley
13th May 2024 10:59

Most company formation agents offer the service.

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By towat
14th May 2024 10:16

We decided not to offer that service many years ago, nor do we do company registrations, as at the time it would have taken us into a higher tier of money laundering registration, we explain this to clients and they are happy with it, we "assist" them when forming a new company but they pay the formation agent direct.

Some serviced office providers offer a registered office service.

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Kitten
By Hazel Accounts
14th May 2024 10:34

I have an arragement with a local branch of The Workstation. They scan and email all the post to me.
Clients could do it directly if you prefer.

Other serviced offices provide virtual offices eg Regus - you'd just need to look and see what's local to you and what they do.

I WFH and never offered my home address and most of my client's are happy to use their own addresses.

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By ianthetaxman
14th May 2024 11:11

I think a lot will depend on what 'service' you are actually selling to the clients, and how easily this would translate if you, for example, took on a serviced office space where all mail was sent.

We offer a registered office service using our office address, so that anonymity is maintained, the client doesn't have to face the junk mail and we get our hands on any 'important' paperwork as it arrives.

As others have mentioned, some formation agents offer to be the registered office, although I took on a new client last year who was in this position i.e the formation agent was the registered office, but the client wasn't aware this was the case.

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By Charlie Carne
14th May 2024 13:02

I use The London Office. Their service is pretty good at £49.99 pa for a registered office plus director service addresses for all directors of the company. For that, they will scan every 'official' letter they receive and email you to let you know that it's available to download in their portal.

My main complaint about them is that they don't treat debt collectors' letters as official registered office mail. The only letters that are passed on within the £49.99 annual fee are those sent directly from HMRC, Companies House or the Courts. They require an upgrade to their Virtual Business Plus package at £199.99 pa if your client were ever to pay any tax late, as HMRC tend to outsource their tax collection letters, so just one late payment would require an additional fee of £150 pa to The London Office in order to receive a letter sent indirectly from HMRC when they had passed the debt on to an agency for collection! Last year, a client had to pay £150 extra just to get one letter telling them that they'd under-paid one of their PAYE months by £10! I nearly lost the client because of that.

I fully accept that £199.99 is a decent fee if you truly use their office for general business mail, but I strongly believe that any mail that is required by law to be sent to the registered office (which includes debt demands and notices that the debt will passed to the court if not paid) should be covered by their standard registered office service.

Their billing systems are also antiquated and totally manual, so you cannot auto-renew monthly or annually by card or direct debit. But other than these two hugely frustrating issues, their basic service is excellent.

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Replying to charliecarne:
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By johnthegood
14th May 2024 14:14

charliecarne wrote:

I use The London Office. Their service is pretty good at £49.99 pa for a registered office plus director service addresses for all directors of the company. For that, they will scan every 'official' letter they receive and email you to let you know that it's available to download in their portal.

I wonder how this basic service stacks up with the new regulations for registered offices?

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Replying to johnthegood:
By Charlie Carne
14th May 2024 21:11

The relevant aspect of the new rules is that "companies must have an ‘appropriate address’ as their registered office at all times. An appropriate address is one where: any documents sent to the registered office should be expected to come to the attention of a person acting on behalf of the company; and any documents sent to that address can be recorded by an acknowledgement of delivery".

I don't know how these rules impact mail sent from parties other than HMRC and Companies House and whether they are allowed to ignore other mail if the directors don't pay the extra £150.

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Replying to charliecarne:
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By johnthegood
15th May 2024 07:58

charliecarne wrote:

The relevant aspect of the new rules is that "companies must have an ‘appropriate address’ as their registered office at all times. An appropriate address is one where: any documents sent to the registered office should be expected to come to the attention of a person acting on behalf of the company; and any documents sent to that address can be recorded by an acknowledgement of delivery".

I don't know how these rules impact mail sent from parties other than HMRC and Companies House and whether they are allowed to ignore other mail if the directors don't pay the extra £150.

Not sure, would have to check what exactly they do with mail you have not paid for I guess, when we used them they would send us an email to say they had mail that they would return unless we coughed up the extra, so I guess if they accept it and sign for it, even if they return it they are compliant (in a way)

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By CardiffAccountant
16th May 2024 04:52

Been offering a registered office facility for years. Never had an issue.

Maybe one or two ex-clients have gone through and we have the occasional chasing letter - probably legacy address on the creditor’s systems. Just throw the letters away.

As there seems to be a lot saying it’s not a good idea, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m missing something.

Am I missing something?

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