If you are thinking of working with a particular director, it is worth carrying out a director search. So, how do you search for company directors, and what can you find out about them?
An easy way to find a UK company director is to conduct a Companies House director search. It simply requires that you know the company’s name to show you all the current and past directors the company has listed.
In Ireland, you can use a paid service like Solo Check. This service can provide reasonably accurate company searches, information on company directors and credit reports. You can also consult the CRO website.
Credit reports are a good way to find out more about directors
Many online credit report services offer a convenient and accurate way of finding information on a company director.
When running a credit report on a company, you can also lookup previous directors, which can hint if the company has been changing hands a lot (which can be a bad sign).
Credit reports are suitable for connecting the dots between the director and the company’s performance. It is also possible to determine how many companies (successful or failed) a director has experienced. You can also look at the entire financial history of the company to see if any changes have occurred since a particular director has been involved.
In a credit report, you find out all the essential information about the business, such as other board members and if the accounts are filed on time. A director’s performance can be assessed from this information. If you are considering doing business with someone, this is valuable information.
Don’t forget to look at LinkedIn
LinkedIn is often the place where you can learn more about the professional lives of directors and the employees of their company. You can learn interesting facts about the person, their background, and how other people view them.
A director’s “connections” on LinkedIn can show some of the other people they work with and provide more personal insights into their educational background. Their colleagues may also provide feedback on how they perform in a professional setting.
However, not everyone is on LinkedIn, and even if they are, it is often an idealised professional self-portrait, so use it as a barometer rather than a yardstick.
How do you search for company directors in more detail?
Companies and directors are inextricably linked. Small to medium-sized companies typically have between one and three directors, while larger corporations usually have a board of directors of nine or more people.
If a company deviates too far from the norm, you should be cautious. There is no doubt that more directors bring in more expertise, but too many directors in a small company can also slow down decision making.
In contrast, larger companies have more complexity, so they need a larger board to provide expertise and diverse experience.
How long has the director been a director?
When you search for a company directors, it’s good to find out how long the candidate has been at the company. A high turnover of directors may indicate something amiss within the company that may affect its performance in the future.
There could be disagreements among the directors or an unstable business plan? Perhaps the business is in trouble, the employees don’t agree with the leadership tactics, or the directors have too much on their plate?
There is always a reason for a company’s high turnover of directors. Look for patterns in the search that could indicate the cause.
Can you find out how a director performs? Are they any good?
You can follow the company’s performance during a person’s time as a director. For example, what was the company’s credit rating when certain directors joined? Did it go up or down?
How are the directors impacting the business? Is their influence positive or negative?
Other clues can be found in a company’s credit report. For example, make sure to check when and who directed the company when any bad debts were issued.
A director’s experience and level of commitment may be questioned if they have several current directorships. Ensure you know who you will be dealing with regularly and who runs the company’s operations and finances so you can form a relationship with them.
Look at a director’s previous appointments and watch out for disqualified directors
A director search will display all the past and current appointments of a director, including their other companies.
It is worth looking into a director’s previous directorships for clues about their abilities. Did anything go wrong? What went well? Directors with many companies that have failed should be viewed with caution. If, however, a director has a reputation for turning startups into great companies, this will also show in their report.
Using a director search can also reveal criminal activity or disqualifications. In addition to verifying your director’s identity through address and date of birth, their director search will show if they have been disqualified. It’s advisable not to work with directors who have been disqualified, so always check their credentials.
When vetting a potential new director or board member, it is crucial to understand the whole picture.