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Getting Your SIC Code Right In 4 Easy Steps

1st November 2018

You’ve had a gem of a business idea, worked away through the night to come up with a foolproof business plan and that’s it, you’re ready to go. Not quite. Whilst marketing, funding, and long term strategic plans are often up there at the top of a new business owner’s list of priorities, SIC codes are all to easily left by the wayside.

Identifying what your SIC code in the UK might be doesn’t have to cause a headache. If you’re a little new to what a SIC code is, in very simple terms the Standard Industry Classification code is a five digit code assigned to your business. If its a definition you’re after, here is one from the National Office of Statistics:

The UK standard industrial classification of economic activities, abbreviated as UK SIC, is a 5-digit classification providing the framework for collecting and presenting a large range of statistical data according to economic activity.”

Registering at least one SIC code for your UK business is not an optional extra. It’s a required and very necessary part of setting up and registering a company. This is primarily because Companies House and other such bodies use SIC codes in the UK to keep track of what’s happening across the country in terms of economic development.

If you’re thinking about setting up a new business, before you register,  here are 5 steps to getting yourself set up with the right SIC code (or codes) for you:

  1. Identify Your Trade Activities
This is the first and possibly most crucial step to getting your business SIC code, and can actually take a little more time than you think. The easiest place to start is to pinpoint your trade, if you’re a hat shop that sells only hats, identifying your trade is probably no more than a 10 second job. If however, your hat shop that also serves as a men’s barbershop selling hot drinks at lunchtime, then your all-singing all-dancing business will require a little more time to specify the different trades involved. Whilst just having the one UK SIC code is normally sufficient, you are able to attach up to 4 SIC codes to your business, and it’s far better to have more than one if needed to avoid getting caught out.
  1. Find a UK SIC Code List
Once you have your list of trades to hand, it’s time to find and look through a SIC code list. A lot of people are stumped at where to find a SIC code for a company, and when it comes to the sheer number of them available in the UK, it’s well, huge. No matter how niche or unique your business might be, chances are there’s a SIC code for it.
There are a few options here, a condensed version of the very many SIC codes available can be found on the  Companies House SIC codes website. Here you will find 21 simple categories, which can make it easier to tackle the issue of searching for and finding the right code for you. Another option is to use the fully comprehensive and easily searchable database of all UK SIC codes created by PNG Formations. Having a full list at your fingertips makes it easier to quickly find the one you are after, especially handy if you already have a good idea of which one you need.
  1. Register
With your UK SIC codes sorted, you should be ready to register your new business and start the exciting journey ahead. Whether you’re a sole trader, limited company or partnership, officially registering your business is something that must be done. At its simplest you’ll need your National Insurance Number, register for self assessment with HMRC and choose a name under which you’ll trade. Of course our company formation packages can streamline the whole process for you and provide you with expert support should you need it.
  1. Keep it Updated
Businesses in today’s digital world are continuously moulding and shaping to meet the ever-changing competition out there, and it is the responsibility of the business owner to keep SIC codes updated. If you need to change your SIC code you’ll need to fill out a Confirmation Statement (the new and improved annual return) with Companies House. This is essentially your opportunity to check that all of the details held on about your business are correct to the dates shown, if there are any changes (you offer a dog walking service to your barber shop customers) you simply need to report them alongside your confirmation.

At PNG Formations we help assist our new clients select the right SIC codes for their business. For our already established business clients, we ensure to keep them up to date which any changes in the SIC code list and assist them in changing it. If you are due to file your annual confirmation statement or want to change your SIC code, you can contact one of our experts at PNG Formations here today.

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