How do I name my company?

When you’re setting up a company in Ireland, you need to choose a company name so you can put it on your legal documents and branding materials. Your company name will help your clients recognise you. A good company name gives your business brand identity.

Choosing your company name is an exciting step when you’re starting a business and it can be easy to spend too much time thinking about the perfect name. We’re here to help you choose the right name for your company, keeping the statutory guidelines from the Companies Registration Office (CRO) in mind.

When you set up a company with Accountant Online, we offer free company name checks with the CRO so you don’t have to worry about not meeting their guidelines – we’ll let you know if your name is likely to be accepted or not!

1. Keep your customer in mind

Before you start your business you should create a customer persona for your target consumer. You should then choose a company name that will help attract potential customers to your business.

If, for example, you’re selling a professional service your name should be simple, serious, and easy to remember. Always remember to keep the target consumer for your market in mind.

2. Help describe your business with the name

Choose a company name that conveys the identity of your brand. A great example of a descriptive company name is Amazon, named after earth’s largest rainforest. When they launched in 1995 they had the tagline “Earth’s largest bookstore”.

It might be worth having a think about a catchy tagline as well. Many great company names have a memorable tagline to go with them. For example, the brand L’Oreal has the well-known tagline “Because you’re worth it”.

3. Choose a name that will help you grow

When choosing your company name always think about the possible expansion of your business. This means you shouldn’t refer to geographic locations when naming your company. Local place names may also clash with another company in the same area.

A name like “Digital Marketing Dublin Limited” may work well at the start, but it limits itself when it comes to expanding the company outside of Dublin.

4. Think of distinguishable words

There are certain words that the CRO deems too commonly used. They don’t count these as separate words in a company name. Words that are not considered distinguishing, which should be avoided include: services, Ireland, EU, Europe, Co., Company, and, &, Numbers (either in numeric form or spelled out), technologies, solutions, system, universal, global, enterprises, international, holding, group, or any other generic descriptive word. Industry-specific words can help distinguish your business. For example, John Smith Ltd is less distinctive than John Smith Manufacturing Ltd.

5. Ask for help

Once you’ve created a list of proposed names, bounce your ideas off your close colleagues, friends, and family. Getting another person’s opinion will give you an entirely new perspective on your shortlist.

Putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience can help you come up with a good name that potential customers will remember.

6. Check with the Companies Registration Office (CRO)

When you submit your company registration application to the Companies Registration Office (CRO), they will check your proposed company name against all other company names registered in Ireland – including those that have been shut down in the last 20 years! We offer free company name-checks to ensure that your company registration application will be accepted the first time. Although the CRO can’t always guarantee that a company name will be accepted, it is usually a safe bet if you follow their guidance.

Company name registration vs business name registration

Company names

When you set up a Limited Company in Ireland, you need to submit an application to the Companies Registration Office (CRO) called a Form A1. One of the first things they will ask for is your company name.

The company name is registered during the incorporation process, however, you can change your Limited Company name later if your circumstances change. This can be a costly and timely process, so we advise that you follow our tips to get it the right first time!

Once you have chosen your new company name and have been successfully registered by the CRO, your name will be protected from being copied. The CRO will reject all company formation applications that have a proposed name that is too similar to your company’s name.

Business name / “trading as” name

Registering a business name in Ireland is a different process than setting up a Limited Company. To register a business name, you need to complete a form RBN1 and submit it to the CRO. Both Sole Traders and Limited Companies can follow this process and it is different from setting up a business.

When is a business name registration required?

Any Sole Trader that wants to trade under any name that isn’t their own true name, must register their business name with the CRO. This is a separate process from registering as a Sole Trader, so be sure not to confuse the requirements.

Limited Companies and Partnerships may also want to register a business name if they want to trade under a different name to their company name. For example, our business name is Lizdan Business Services Limited, but the business name that we trade under is Accountant Online. This is useful if the company name you really want to use is already in use.

The CRO does not protect a business name. This means there are no restrictions for any other individuals or companies who want to use your business name. If you’re interested in registering a business name, take a look at our guide for more information on how to register your business name with the CRO.

What happens if your company name is rejected?

You’ll need to think of a new name if you have chosen a company name that the CRO deems unacceptable or too similar to other names. Updating your company formation paperwork can be a time-consuming process and it can provide unnecessary stress to come up with a new name on short notice.

We can check the proposed name beforehand to see if it is likely to be accepted. We ask our clients to come up with three company names they would like to use. This means you have other options readily available if your first choice is not accepted.

It’s also worth noting that the CRO may allow a company name, through inadvertence or otherwise, and the public can make an objection to your company name on grounds of similarity. Objections can be made in writing to the Registrar of Companies within six months of the incorporation of your company. If this happens, you could be directed by the Registrar to change the company name. This change must take place within six weeks of the date of the Registrar’s direction.

Reserving a company name

You can reserve a company name if you are nervous someone may take your name but you are not ready to set up your company. New companies or existing companies that want to change their name can avail of this service.

However, you can only reserve the name for 28 days at a time. The CRO charges a fee of €25 for the reservation of a company name. This €25 can be offset against your new company formation application (form A1).

If you want to reserve your company name for longer than 28 days, you need to submit a new application on the 28th day and pay an additional €25. Your second or any subsequent reservations cannot be offset against your company formation application.

The name you wish to reserve follows the same guidelines as other company names. So make sure you always check your company name on the CRO’s company search facility to ensure it is unique.

What documentation do I need to register my company name?

Your company name is chosen upon company registration, therefore choosing your company name and registering your company goes hand in hand. As part of our Company Formation Service, we can register your company name within a couple of days.

We will also run a check of your proposed name with the registrar to ensure that your company name has the best chance of being accepted. All you have to do is provide us with a shortlist of names you are happy with.

If you need help setting up a company in Ireland, we are more than happy to help. We offer a wide range of services to get your company started in Ireland.