Company Jargon Explained


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These are the owners of a company. In a limited company they are limited in liability only to the amount of capital that they have invested in shares. They have no responsibility for running the limited company. The company is seen in law as a separate entity from the shareholder/s. 


These are the officers and executives of a company who are responsible to the shareholders, courts, tax authorities, etc, for running the limited company. The shareholder/s appoint them into office and can elect to remove them in accordance with law and their contract. Third parties including shareholders ,may sue directors in various circumstances as the directors have responsibility and authority over the limited company's administration and operations.

Company secretary

The company secretary is responsible for the administration of the company’s incorporation, its statutory records and all filing at Companies House. The company secretary deals with what can be complex company law and sees that it is complied with. For small and medium companies this is sometimes a family member or friend but accountants, solicitors, directors and, indeed, chartered company secretaries also do the work. A professional company secretary can be appointed.

Registered office

This is the official address of the company. This is a postal address where Companies House can deliver papers and know that you will receive them. This can be a home address or trading premises (whether yours or, for example, your accountants or whoever else you nominate). This is also, usually, the address to which any other legal notices or official documents will be delivered.


There are different types of shares. The limited company will be set up with ordinary shares to start with. This can be changed later. The share price is usually £1: this is the nominal value of the shares. The limited company has authorised share capital and issued share capital. The authorised shares are the maximum amount of shares that the limited company can issue. The issued shares are the amount that the company has issued. Not all the authorised shares need to be issued.

For example, if one person owns 100 shares and only 100 shares are issued then that person owns 100% of the company's share capital even if there are 1,000 authorised shares.

Statutory register

As the name suggests, this is statutory, which means that you must have one by law. A few may argue that a small company having the company formation documents at the registered office may suffice. We and our advisers do not agree and therefore will not sell you a company without the proper documentation. This can be in a paper or electronic format.

Accounting reference date

This is the end of the limited company's financial year. The accounting reference date defaults to the last day of the month you incorporated in the year after incorporation and thereafter, e.g. an incorporation date of 1 January 2007 would default to an accounting reference date of 31 January 2008. This can be changed with Companies House form 225.


Are the first people to be issued shares in a limited company. Their names will be in the Memorandum of Association when the company is first incorporated.

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