Company registration number (CRN) – What is a company registration number?
A company registration number is a unique eight-character code assigned to incorporated businesses in the UK.
It's not always clear whether an invoice should show a company registration number. Find out more about putting company registration numbers on your invoices.
A company registration number is often abbreviated to CRN; it might also be referred to as a Companies House number, although this is much less common.
Who needs a CRN?
Not every business needs a company registration number, and you’ll only be assigned a CRN if you incorporate. This means that you will only have a company registration number if your business is registered as a limited company or a limited liability partnership (LLP).
Sole traders and freelancers registered as other types of businesses aren’t assigned CRNs, but they may have other types of registration numbers, such as a Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) or VAT number (VRN).
Why do I need a company registration number?
The main purpose of a company registration number is to confirm that a business has been incorporated. You will need to use your CRN number when you:
- Get in touch with Companies House
- Register for Corporation Tax
- File your annual accounts and submit yearly tax returns
- Make any changes to your company details.
When to display your CRN
As well as providing your company registration number to Companies House and HMRC when dealing with registration and taxes, you also need to make sure that you display your CRN in a number of different places, including your invoices, receipts, emails, and website.
Your CRN needs to be displayed along with your business name, your registered address, your VAT number, and details of any trade unions you’re a member of. According to the Companies Act (2006), you could be fined if you fail to display this information in all of the required places.
Format of a company registration number
In the UK, CRNs are always eight characters long, but the specific format of your company registration number will depend on which business structure your company follows and which country you incorporated in.
Format of CRNs for limited companies
If you register a limited company in either England or Wales, your company registration number will consist of eight numbers.
In Scotland and Northern Ireland, company registration numbers start with two letters, followed by six numbers. Scottish limited companies have CRNs starting with ‘SC’, while limited companies registered in Northern Ireland have CRNs starting with ‘NI’.
Format of CRNs for LLPs
Every LLP in the UK has a company registration number consisting of two letters and six numbers, but the letters vary from country to country. LLPs in England and Wales have CRNs started with ‘OC’, Scottish LLPs have CRNs starting with ‘SO’, and LLPs in Northern Ireland start with ‘NC’.
How to get a company registration number
Company registration numbers are assigned automatically when businesses incorporate, which means that you don’t need to follow a separate process in order to get your CRN.
If you want to set up a limited company, you can either register your company online , apply via post, or use and agent or third-party software.
If you want to set up a limited liability partnership, you send an application via post or use an agent or third-party software.
After incorporating, you will receive a certificate of incorporation, which shows your company registration number, the date your business incorporated, the type of company you’ve set up, and whether your business is registered in England, Wales, Scotland, or Northern Ireland.
How to find out your company registration number
Businesses can have a number of different codes and registration numbers, so it’s easy to forget your CRN or get it mixed up with another number. If you want to check or confirm your company registration number, you can find it:
- On your certificate of incorporation
- On letters you’ve received from Companies House since incorporating
- On Companies House’s official register of incorporated businesses.
If you’ve changed the name of your business since incorporating, you’ll also find your CRN on the certificate you received from Companies House confirming this change.
Company registration numbers in Debitoor
If you run an incorporated business, you need to make sure that every invoice you issue contains your company registration number.
When you create an account with Debitoor invoicing software, you’re asked to enter your company details, including your CRN. These details then appear on all of your future quotes and invoices, so there’s no need to manually add your CRN every time you invoice a client.