Article
Written by Will Aitkenhead
Posted on 04/06/2015

Don’t be caught out: incorporate a company registration number into your sales proces

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A Company Registration Number (CRN) is the only way of identifying and verifying the legal existence of a corporation. This number is the only UK data item that can never change; as a result it is an excellent tool when assessing the credentials of potential new clients.

When you’re searching for potential new customers and clients, an in-depth company checks is the best way to give you an accurate idea about a company’s financial status, credit rating and reliability. By doing this you’ll put yourself in the best possible position to avoid potential fraud as well as bad debt and late payment problems.
 

How to find the Company Registration Number

Something that you should incorporate during the search and sales process is the CRN. It is a basic requirement that all companies state their name in all forms of business correspondence, including letter headings, compliment slips and emails, so it should be easy enough to locate. If it isn’t visible, you can find it by contacting the HM Revenue & Customs Corporation Tax Office.
 

Be proactive

The key here is having the forethought to plan ahead and make sure you flag issues before they become a problem. Accurate foresight is critical and worth a lot to any organisation, especially smaller enterprises that may have cash flow problems.

Following the product knowledge stage of the sales process you will normally undertake a prospecting stage, where you can build a profile of the customers you hope to attract. When it gets to the approach stage, you need to make sure you carry out due diligence before committing yourself to a contract.
 

The cost of fraud

Corporate fraud cost the UK economy £52 billion in 2013, with one in every 635 companies affected across the country. There are several signs that should be detected that indicate fraud:

  • New company director
  • Sudden change of address
  • Filing new accounts quickly after year end
  • Increase in annual company performance

The one thing they can’t change though, is the CRN. So by checking this during the sales process you can make sure the company you are dealing with is legal and trustworthy.

As you can see, the Company Registration Number could turn out to be your most trustworthy ally when it comes to securing sales. If you don’t include it in your processes right from the outset you could end up in trouble much further down the line - when it’s much too late to rescue the situation. Most risk management processes will include the CRN as second nature when they consider the financial status and circumstances of potential clients, but if you are a small business you need to take extra care.