When it comes to paperwork, it can be tricky for small business owners to know exactly what corporate documents they need to keep, and for how long. Although it may be tempting to bury your head in the sand, the longer you neglect your record-keeping obligations, the higher the risk of penalties and adverse consequences for you and your business.
What do you need to do?
You are required by law to keep a range of documents, registers and records available for inspection at your registered office (or at an alternative location if you have chosen one – see Where to keep company records for further guidance). In most cases, failure to keep proper records (or allow them to be inspected) is a criminal offence, punishable by a fine, committed by your company and any officer at fault.
Beyond legal penalties, deficiencies in your record-keeping will also make a poor impression on anybody carrying out due diligence on your business. Potential lenders, investors or buyers may be put off if you don’t have your house in order.
How do you get your house in order?
Easy – simply go through the checklist below and follow the links for further guidance and templates. .
Remember, even if you have ticked off every item on the checklist, you will still need to keep them updated.
Harry is General Counsel and Company Secretary of FromCounsel, the specialist corporate legal resource trusted by top global law firms and FTSE 100 companies. Before joining FromCounsel in 2021, Harry was a member of Sparqa’s editorial team for over 4 years, having previously practised as a corporate solicitor for 6 years at Farrer & Co. Harry regularly contributes his expertise to the blog, focusing on corporate and commercial law.