A brainwave hits you while you’re out one evening with a group of friends, and your idea just pops out your mouth while you’re sipping your second G&T. As it happens, your friends think you’re a genius for coming up with such an innovative concept, and the next thing you know you’re all going into business together. The next morning you wake up with a sore head and a long list of to-do items scrawled on a paper napkin. Topping the list is the registration of a (Pty) Ltd. But do you know how to register a new company? Where on earth do you start? Traditionally you’d find a good accountant who could do it all for you. But the problem with start-ups is that while they’re full of good ideas, they’re generally empty in the finances department. The good news is that you don’t have to be an accountant to know how to register a new company. You can do it yourself online, at a far reduced fee than what an accountant would charge.
Here is the process to register a new company. A new company can be registered online, through the CIPC website (CIPC stands for Companies and Intellectual Property Commission).
Read on for 6 steps on how to register a new company.
Step 1: Register as a Customer
Your first step is to register as a customer, which you can do by going to Online Transacting and clicking on e-Services. Then, click on Customer Registration. You’ll need personal information such as your ID or passport number, address and contact details. A customer code will be sent to your cellphone and email address to verify your registration. You will then need to complete the security section to complete your registration.
Step 2: Deposit Funds
Deposit the registration fees into the CIPC bank account. Their ABSA bank account details are available on their website. At time of writing this amount was R125,00 for a company registration without a name reservation, and R175,00 for a company registration with a name reservation. You will need to use your customer code as a reference number on the deposit. If you’re paying from an ABSA account your deposit should reflect within an hour or so. But if you’re paying from any other bank you’ll need to allow 2 or 3 days for the money to reflect before you can continue with the process.
Step 3: Company Name (Decide which route to go)
- Register the company without a name. This is the fastest way to register a company, because the application will be immediately added to the company registration queue. The registration number becomes its name until you have successfully reserved a name. When you do eventually reserve a name, you will need to change your MOI to reflect the new name.
- Reserve the name first. You can apply for the company registration once you have successfully reserved a company name. The application will then be added to the company registration queue.
- Apply for a name simultaneously with your company registration. Your application for the registration of the company will only be added to the company registration queue after a name has been successfully reserved.
Step 4: Reserve a Name (only if you want to reserve your name before registering the company)
You will only be able to complete an application to reserve a company name if there are sufficient funds in your customer account.
From the CIPC home page, click on Register Your Business. Click on On-line Transacting. Then under e-Services select Name Reservations.
You’ll be prompted to login using your CIPC Customer login details.
Under Proposed Names you can choose up to four possible names for your business, listed in your order of preference. Be sure to spell the names correctly. If it transpires that your reserved name contains an error you will need to apply for a name change in order to correct it.
Once you’ve Submitted your Proposed Name, the next screen will indicate whether your name selection was successful. You can go Back to repeat the selection until one of your proposed names can be submitted. Once you find a suitable name that can be used you can select Lodge Name Reservation and receive a reference number.
You will be notified of the successful reservation of your name in due course. CIPIC’s publicised service turnaround is 5 days after submission of the name, but this would be dependent on any backlogs.
Step 5: Apply for Registration of your Company
You will only be able to complete an application to register a company if there are sufficient funds in your customer account.
From the CIPC home page, click on Register Your Business. Click on On-line Transacting. Then under e-Services select Company Registrations.
You’ll be prompted to login using your CIPC Customer login details.
Select the option to Register a Private Company with a Standard MOI. If you want to register a company with a customised MOI you will need to do so manually.
You will be prompted to enter the proposed company’s details. Make sure you have the names and IDs of the directors available, as well as company details such as email, physical and postal addresses.
You will need to select your company name choice (see step 3 above). If you’re applying for a name simultaneously with your company registration application you’ll be prompted through the process.
Select Lodge a Private Company to review the information you’ve captured. You can Modify information if required, and then Lodge Company.
Step 6: Upload Documents
You can upload all the completed supporting documents, in pdf format, through CIPC eServices, by clicking on the Transact button and selecting Document Upload. Keep your tracking number handy, as you’ll need to enter it before you can upload the documents. You will need:
- The completed company registration application form (Form CoR14.1) signed by all the directors and shareholders;
- (recommended) The Company’s notice of Initial Directors (Form CoR 14.1A);
- The Company’s Memorandum of Incorporation (Form CoR 15.1A);
- The name confirmation certificate, if a name has already been reserved;
- Certified copies of IDs of all South African directors and shareholders, and certified copies of passports of all non-South Africa directors and shareholders;
- If any shareholder is a trust or company you’ll need a resolution from the legal entity, as well as a certified copy of the ID/passport of the legal entity’s authorised representative;
- Certified copy of the ID of the customer code holder (the person who registered on CIPC as a customer in order to register the company). Or a certified copy of the passport if s/he is not South African.
Your application will join CIPC’s processing queue once all the documents have been uploaded
You will be notified of the successful registration of your company in due course. CIPC’s publicised service turnaround is 3 days after submission of all the supporting documents.
Now that you know how to register a new company, you can get going with the process. But knowing how to register a new company is only the start. While you’re waiting for the registration to be completed, you should give some thought to the other requirements in your business. For example:
- Do you have your Shareholders’ Agreement?
- Do you have a Buy & Sell Agreement to address the death or disability of one of the Shareholders?
- Do you have a template Company Resolution that you can use when your suppliers, customers, partners, financial institutions and the like ask you to provide a resolution?
- Do you have a Director’s Acknowledgement and Consent?
- Do you have a standard Non-Disclosure Agreement that you can use with contractors, business associates and the like? You’d be surprised how often this document can come in handy…
- If you’re planning on employing staff under your newly registered company, do you have your Employment Documents in place?
In any business venture, it is crucial to ensure that all your business dealings are recorded in writing. A well-drafted contract can save you time, sanity and money. Your business contracts don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg in legal fees. Not having them, however, could cost you dearly in the long run! We invite you to browse the agreements templates on Agreements Online for your agreement options.
And good luck with your new company!
This document is an elementary guide on how to register a new company, based on the general procedure as at the time of writing. It is not intended as a comprehensive process on registering a company, and you are further cautioned that the requirements on how to register a new company may change at any time. It is recommended that you research and confirm the latest requirements before progressing with your registration process. Agreements Online is not liable for any errors, omissions, ambiguities, or misrepresentations in this article, and will not be liable for any damages or loss suffered by any person.
Please note that this information is supplied for general information and does not constitute legal advice. It is advisable for you to contact a legal practitioner for guidance in respect of your unique requirements.