The limitations of publicly available company data and how mnAI can overcome them

Going beyond companies house and public company data

There are many reasons why you might wish to search for company information.  For investors, a thorough company check is an important part of the due diligence process; C-Suite directors, managers and company owners are also likely to want insight  – perhaps to get information about a company which may be a potential new partner, acquisition, client or supplier. Universities and other educational institutions too often seek UK company data in order to support their business engagement activities and to inform study and research There are several well-known and publicly available ways of carrying out a UK company search. The three main ones are:
  • Companies House
  • The Gazette
  • HRMC Land Registry
All three services are official sources of company information in the UK, so you can be confident that the data you obtain is genuine and can be trusted. As the official registrar of incorporated UK companies, Companies House is kept up-to-date and the information is accurate. However, they do have their limitations, as we will see.

What is Companies house?

The first port of call for company information is often Companies House which is the UK’s official registrar of company information.

Through Companies House, you can access some details about a company for free, including:

  • registered address and date of incorporation
  • current and resigned officers, allowing you to do a superficial company director check
  • previous company names
  • accounts and annual returns

For regular updates, registering for the Companies House data product provides a free monthly snapshot of information about companies on the public register. This information includes:

  • basic information including company type and registered office address
  • the nature of business or standard industrial classification (SIC)
  • company status, such as ‘live’ or ‘dissolved’
  • date of last accounts or confirmation statement filed
  • date of next accounts or confirmation statement due
  • previous company names


In addition
, Companies House API is still in development but eventually will let you retrieve data on companies live and in real-time.

Much of the Companies House data is free, though some services have a small charge, or you may need to create a Companies House log-in.

Find out more: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/search-the-companies-house-register

The problem is that the information provided by Companies House is very limited. The SIC codes used to categorise companies are imprecise, so if you are searching for a particular type of company within a sector, it won’t always be easily identifiable. 

In addition, although you can find financial data, do a director search or check shareholders, the data you get isn’t always presented in a user-friendly way, especially if you are undertaking a UK-wide company search and looking at a large number of businesses or people.

Analysing and understanding the data from a company search is a time consuming, manual process and most probably won’t deliver all the possible insights.

What is The Gazette and HMRC land registry?

The Gazette is one of the UK’s official Government journals of public record and, amongst other statutory notices, is an authorised source of UK company information including insolvency and deceased estates data. The Gazette provides a number of different data sets – but the service is not free. Find out about the Gazette data you can access here. You might also use HMRC land registry to search for information about all registered land and property in England and Wales. Both the Gazette and HMRC land registry, though, present similar problems to Companies House. The data available isn’t particular detailed, and you can’t search with any great level of detail. The need to manually analyse data is resource-intensive, and limits the potential insights to be gleaned. So what’s the answer?

mnAI offers a new way to check UK company information

Through mnAI’s award-winning, cutting-edge AI technology, what has previously taken months of manual research can be converted into easily accessible visual data within minutes. The mnAI platform is the UK’s largest and most comprehensive source of company data with billions of data points (and 100m+ added every week) allowing real-time insights. AI technology delivers uniquely accessible insight and analysis across industries, sectors and geographies, making it a vital tool for governments, investors, companies, advisors, marketers and educators when carrying out company analysis and research. Let’s look at five key ways in which mnAI’s industry-disrupting technology goes beyond other data sources to deliver valuable UK company insights:

1. Generating geographic maps of every UK industry

mnAI can collate all sources of company data for specific areas and locations to create visual maps of every UK industry. Searches are performed using our proprietary keyword search technology instead of the standard SIC metric from Companies House, allowing more accurate searches at a granular level. 

This visual dashboard presentation helps you to, for example, identify hotspots for growing/declining businesses, as well as all sorts of other UK sector and company information by geography such as financials and male vs female board comparisons. All this information is presented in moments.

Click here to learn more about our industry mapping technology

Industry insight going beyond companies house

2. Identifying companies fast

Using Companies House to learn about individual businesses can be useful, but it cannot filter for lists of companies that meet certain parameters. 

mnAI’s unique company identification CRM allows you to search for businesses using customisable criteria, with results produced in seconds. This sophisticated search capability replaces what was previously a largely manual search process, generating significant savings in terms of time and resources. 

Click here to learn more about our company search technology

3. Visualising the networks of every UK company and the people behind them

If you are carrying out a company director search in the UK, Companies House will provide you with basic information, largely limited to the identity of the directors. mnAI goes well beyond this by providing information about directors and shareholders, their connections and relationships via other companies, all presented visually.  This allows you to instantly uncover complex relationships, instead of relying on guesswork from scrutinising multiple PDFs, Google searches and spreadsheets.
Company data networks

4. Proprietary Algorithms provide unique industry insights

mnAI’s proprietary algorithms allow you access to data sets which were previously unobtainable except in a very limited way. If you wanted to find out whether a particular company, or list of companies such as investments, customers or suppliers, were founded by women or run by a majority male or female board, you would previously have relied on manually curated research.  mnAI has automated the process by mapping every UK company director and shareholder by gender so you can generate powerful insights on male vs female-run companies in the UK. Find out more about mnAI’s gender identification AI technology.
Company house data

5. Perform due diligence faster

Company data presented visually through interactive maps, charts and networks on the mnAI platform helps teams in different industries perform due diligence faster, more easily and more accurately. mnAI’s user-friendly dashboard presents all the relevant information in moments, eliminating the need for a time-consuming manual trawl through Companies House PDFs to obtain and analyze information on a business.
going beyond Company house data balance sheet

Read more articles like this

Access unrivalled insight into millions of UK companies

Receive a personalised 30-minute demo of the mnAI platform by filling out our form, alternatively give us a call on 020 3151 6624 or message the team at sales@mnai.tech