Are you and your fellow RMC directors drowning in paperwork?

Inform Direct may have the answer you've been looking for.

Inform Direct has been so skilfully thought through that even to a technophobe, novice or bureaucracy-hater, everything just falls into place and works.(source: Henry Catchpole, an RMC Director who uses Inform Direct)

If you are an RMC director the fact that running your management company involves a lot of paperwork won't have passed you by. Aside from the minutes of meetings and dealing with tenders from contractors and other correspondence, there is also the statutory paperwork required as a result of being a registered company to contend with. Your responsibilities in this area include:

  • Maintaining statutory books
  • Filing relevant changes with Companies House
  • Filing an Annual Return
  • Dealing with service charge accounts or delegating this task to an accountant, depending on the size and complexity of your block

Not only do these tasks have to be undertaken on a regular basis and up-to-date records of all relevant RMC activities kept on file but it is also vital to ensure that the information you submit is accurate. It is important to get it right for several reasons. First, there can be fines associated with failure to keep correct records and to file accurate returns punctually - the company can even be struck off. When there's a new leaseholder in your block, they or their solicitor will often want to see evidence that the RMC is on top of its responsibilities and that all filing and statutory books are up to date. Existing tenants also have rights to inspect the statutory books and can report any failings that they come across.

One situation that can be particularly challenging for RMC directors is when the person who has managed the RMC records for a long while retires, moves or even dies and someone else then has to pick up the task of sorting everything out. The situation is frequently further complicated by the fact that blocks often contain many individual flats, each of which will usually have a share attached. Therefore RMCs and right to manage companies (which face a similar set of responsibilities) often have more shareholders (and directors) than other types of small companies. It is also common to have joint shareholders, who need to be recorded accurately. In addition there is also the requirement to record transfers (and cancel old and issue new share certificates) every time a flat changes hands. In large blocks this happens on a regular basis as there is always someone moving on. With all these records to maintain, it is easy for paper records to become out of date and preparing an Annual Return can be really time consuming.

So what is the solution? RMC directors obviously need something that is simple to use and that's tailored to the particular needs of leaseholders. Now company formation agent Inform Direct may have the answer in the form of a free online service launched last year and which already boasts 1000 users. In response to the needs of directors, the company has developed a service that aims to make managing statutory company records quick and easy. The step-by-step software, accessed via the Inform Direct website, is simple to use and allows RMC directors to maintain accurate, up-to-date records of the company's officers and shareholders. Any changes that require notification to Companies House are automatically submitted electronically. This includes appointment of new officers, termination of officers, change of an officer's details, allotment of shares and hanges to company details such as registered office, accounting reference date and single alternative inspection location.

Filing Annual Returns

Each year companies are required to make an Annual Return to Companies House. Inform Direct makes this a simple process by using the records maintained in Inform Direct to prepare and file the Annual Return. In most cases, RMCs will be able just to confirm that the company information shown on screen is correct and the Annual Return will be automatically compiled and submitted. Anyone who has used Inform Direct for a while, will find that any changes made during the year will be automatically included – there's no need to enter any information again and if there are other changes to include, records can be easily updated by using the Annual Return wizard. Email reminders are sent to each company registered with Inform Direct so there is no danger of missing the Annual Return filing deadline. Also, the filing fee can be settled via the website so there's no need to set up an account with Companies House.

Maintaining accurate shareholder records

Inform Direct makes the upkeep of shareholder records easy with help available online if needed. When shares are issued or transferred between shareholders, company registers are automatically updated so the information only has to be entered once – this cuts out the need to maintain paper copies of a company's Register of Members, Register of Transfers or Register of Allotments. When shares are issued, the Return of Allotment of Shares (form SH01) is automatically sent to Companies House. All other changes to shareholders and shareholdings, are retained to populate the next Annual Return - so there is no need to enter them again. The system also allows directors to easily maintain shareholder contact details, view former shareholders and a history of share transactions and professional share certificates are easy to create and maintain.

To ensure RMC directors are complying with company law, Inform Direct keeps Companies House updated about who is serving as an officer of the company. When an RMC first registers, Inform Direct automatically imports details of all the existing company officers from Companies House and wizards then guide the user step by step through new appointments, making changes to existing officers and resignations.

Maintaining statutory registers

Inform Direct will produce the following company registers:

  • Register of Directors
  • Register of Directors' Residential Addresses
  • Register of SecretariesRegister of Members / Register of Shareholders
  • Register of Allotments of SharesRegister of Transfers of SharesRegister of Mortgages & Charges

Company data is automatically imported from Companies House when an RMC starts to use Inform Direct. As changes are made to officers, shareholders or company details, the software will automatically update the appropriate statutory registers.

The online tool is free for anyone to use 24/7 via their internet browser. However there are some features that must be paid for, such as submitting an Annual Return which costs £25 including VAT and the filing fee.

It also costs £25 to form a new company which can also be done via Inform Direct. Companies House approval enables Inform Direct to electronically exchange company data direct.

For more information, FAQs and to see the software in action, go to www.informdirect.co.uk