How to name a company
When setting up a Limited Company in Ireland, the first step is to apply to the Companies Registration Office (CRO) using Form A1. One of the initial requirements is to provide your company name. Your company name will help your clients recognise you and give your business a brand identity.
If your circumstances change, you can change your Limited Company name later. It is important to note that this process can be costly and time-consuming. Therefore, we recommend following our tips to ensure you get it right the first time.
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 will likely be accepted!
6 tips for choosing your company name
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, which was named after Earth’s largest rainforest. When they launched in 1995, they had the tagline “Earth’s largest bookstore”.
It might be worth thinking of a catchy tagline as well. Many great company names have a memorable tagline to go with them. For example, 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 initially, but it limits itself when 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. The CRO considers the following terms “not distinguishing enough”, and you should avoid them in your company name: services, Ireland, EU, Europe, Co., Company, and, &, Numbers (either in numeric form or spelt 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, share your ideas with your close colleagues, friends, and family. Getting another person’s opinion will give you a new perspective on your shortlist.
Putting yourself in your target audience’s shoes can help you develop 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.
What is the difference between a company name and a business name?
- Company name – The legal name of your business. No other company in Ireland can use this name.
- Business name – A registered name for your business. Other companies can use this name, too.
Company name registration vs business name registration
When you set up a Limited Company in Ireland, you must apply 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, but keep in mind it 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 successfully registered by the CRO, your name will be protected from being copied. The CRO will reject all company formation applications with a proposed name too similar to your company’s name. Note that this differs from a trademark; you should speak to a legal professional for more advice on obtaining a trademark.
Business name / “trading as” name
Registering a business name in Ireland differs from setting up a Limited Company. To register a business name, complete an RBN1 form and submit it to the CRO. Both Sole Traders and Limited Companies can follow this process. It’s important to note that registering a business name does not constitute setting up a business. If you want to set up as a Sole Trader, talk to our team about your situation; we are happy to help.
What happens if the CRO rejects your company name?
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 take time, 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 the CRO will likely accept it. We ask our clients to come up with three company names they would like to use. This means you have other options 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 the 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.
How to reserve 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 or existing companies that want to change their name can avail of this service.
However, you can only reserve the name for 28 days. The CRO charges a fee of €25 for reserving a company name, which 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 must submit a new application on the 28th day and pay an additional €25. Your second or 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, always check your company name on the CRO’s search facility to ensure it is unique or outsource to a company formation service that will take care of it for you.
What documentation do I need to register my company name?
Our company name is chosen upon company registration. Therefore, choosing your company name and registering your company go hand in hand. As part of our Company Formation Service, we can register your name within a few days.
We will also check your proposed name with the registrar to ensure your company name has the best chance of acceptance. All you have to do is provide a shortlist of names you are happy with.
If you need help setting up a company in Ireland, we are happy to help. We offer many services to get your company started in Ireland.
Rachel is a certified company secretary from The Law Society College Dublin and currently leads the Company Secretarial Team at Accountant Online. Areas of expertise include Company Formation in Ireland and the UK, Company Secretarial procedures and regulations, and the Companies Act 2014 relating to small business and company directors.