2 Registries, explained

A company registry records and updates information on new and existing companies in its jurisdiction. It allows registered companies to comply with their obligations under the current regulatory framework, including those related to company laws.1

The registry incorporates legal entities, providing them with a unique identification, and de-registers insolvent firms.

Other services provided by a registry include:

  • Conducting company name searches
  • Reserving company names
  • Processing applications for business licenses

Registries enable the government to:

  • Measure tax compliance or avoidance in the formal sector
  • Gain business statistics by sector
  • Determine which entities are eligible to participate in public tenders and bids
  • Promote consumer protection in “high risk” industries such as pharmaceuticals and food preparation by ensuring they meet the required health, safety, and environmental standards

What makes a business registry efficient

A registry is considered to be efficient if it is either a comprehensive electronic database, a one-stop shop, or an increasingly popular online registration platform.

An electronic database

An effective electronic database maintains up-to-date information and documents on newly registered and existing companies. Electronic databases make information easier to access online or on-site at a registry’s office.

Historically registry records were kept in a paper-based format, but increasingly registries are stored and maintained electronically. This has reduced errors in updating business information and sped up searches. Electronic record keeping also makes it easier to access statistics.

A one-stop shop

A one-stop shop provides a single service point for completing several business registration processes. It might be a series of offices occupied by representatives from different government agencies that start-up owners visit one after the other. Some one-stop shops give a single point of interaction between a business owner and all the government agencies involved in business registration. Here, the business owner gives all the documents necessary for registration to one contact, who will distribute the documents to the appropriate agencies for processing and approval.

One-stop shops are becoming more popular, with over 100 economies launching one-stop shops. Of this figure, 64 are located in low-or middle-income economies.