Registering a company in South Africa is not a straightforward process that can be easily done online. The South African government has made laws to take away the bottlenecks and make registering a company easier and faster.
How to Register a Company Online in South Africa
If you have the entire required information, you can complete the entire process in minutes from the comfort of your home or office. If you’re looking to leverage this opportunity, here’s how to register a company online in South Africa.
Step 1: Register as a customer
Before you can begin any process with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC), you must register on its website and create a virtual account. The process is simple as you will be required to create a customer code and password, and then fill in the required fields.
If all the details are correct, your account will be successfully created and your CIPC code will be sent to your cell phone and email. You can change your password and update your details after the registration; however, you can only be registered once, so keep your keep your customer code and password secure.
Step 2: Get your information ready
At this stage, you will need to prepare all the information that’s required for the registration process. Here are some of the key things you will need:
- Company name: The company needs a unique name for identification which you must use on all official documents like legal agreements and invoice. The name must also not be the language translation of another company which already exists.
- Business Address: Your company must have a physical address where all the day-to-day activities can be carried out. If you don’t have an address, you can use your home address.
- Company directors: Every company is required to have a board of directors who are in charge of the daily affairs of the company and share in the responsibilities as well as profits of the business. The following important details will be required: name, email address, mobile number, street address and certified ID document.
- Financial year end: Every business must have a financial year that signifies the start and end of the calendar of its operations. The standard practice is for the financial year to begin in March and end in February of the following year as this is the period when SARS requires businesses to submit tax returns.
- Identification: A copy of a certified ID or passport of the authorised representative will also be required.
- Authorised shares: Shares to indicate ownership of the company must be allotted to current and future shareholders and will reflect on the initial company memorandum of incorporation.
Step 3: Search to see if the company name is available
Sometimes, your preferred company name may be unavailable if someone has already used the name and in such situations, registering your company will suffer a setback. Thankfully, you can carry out a name search on the website from the comfort of your home to check if the name is available. Just go to this page and type your desired business name in the search bar at the left-hand side of the page.
When you type in the name, if no result pops-up, it’s an indication that the name is yet to be taken. However, if the search produces a result, you might have to search using another name as CIPC doesn’t accept names that are not unique.
Step 4: Register the company name
After you have searched and confirmed that your preferred name is available, it doesn’t mean the name now belongs to you because it’s possible someone else has that name. This why there’s an option for you to reserve your company name before you apply for the company registration.
Simply go to the website and login using your customer code and password, then click on the Name Reservations/Proposed Names and then fill in four desired names in a preferential order and then click on the submit button.
If the process was successful, the next screen will display a message that the names have been reserved while also displaying a reservation number. A confirmation email and SMS will be sent to you alongside the reference number of the reservation. Kindly note that the process might take up to 5 days which is the standard duration, but not later than that.
Step 5: Register the company
Registering the company is one of the important step towards making your business a legal entity. The process is simple and straightforward and can easily be completed in minutes.
To get started, log on to the website of CIPC using your customer code and password. Click on “Register a new company” and you will be required to enter the details of the director of the company. After you have filled in the details of the director, click on “Save” to move on.
On the screen, you will find the link captioned “continue”, click on it to fill in the company’s details which include its financial year end, authorised shares, email address, physical and postal address, and website address.
If you’re yet to apply for name at this stage, you will be given the option to apply for a name which will be added to the registration queue pending when it will be approved as available. The problem with this stage is that if the name is unavailable, the registration will be processed using the company’s enterprise number until a new name is submitted. To update the new name after it’s been approved, you will have to follow a company name change process.
Moving further, if everything looks good up to this stage, click on “Lodge a Private Company” from the drop down menu and all the details of the company you have provided will be displayed. Crosscheck everything and modify where there are errors. If you’re sure of the correctness of the information, click on “Lodge Company” to complete this stage of the registration. After this, you will receive an email requesting for the following documents:
- Certified ID copy of applicant
- Certified identity copies of the directors and incorporators. A passport is allowed only for foreigners but citizens must use a green bar-coded/smart ID copy
- The name confirmation certificate
- The certified ID copy of the company’s authorised representative for the process
Once the documents have scanned and sent to the given email address, the process will be finalized in three working days from the date of submission.