Monday 23 April 2018

CRO on track to clear backlog of 600,000 company filings by 2014

John Mulligan

John Mulligan

A massive 10-year backlog of 600,000 unprocessed documents at the Companies Registration Office (CRO) could be all but cleared by next year, the Irish Independent has learned.

A decade ago, the office – the statutory body that deals with company filings – had some 600,000 unprocessed documents in its files that had been received from companies.

But while they had been received and scanned by the office so they were available for public inspection, they hadn't actually been reviewed and formally registered by CRO staff to ensure they were correctly completed.

With the new Companies Act due to come into force next year, there has been a push on by the CRO to purge the huge backlog of documents in its system.

It is understood that the backlog has now dipped below 100,000 documents.

There is now an expectation that this backlog will be effectively eliminated by next year.

When it comes into force, the Companies Act will result in new forms and layouts, so the CRO has been keen to deal with the legacy documentation before that happens.

The CRO typically receives between 350,000 and 450,000 documents a year from companies in the State.

All the documents are meant to be checked in order to verify they have been properly completed.

Included in that yearly document tally are about 170,000 annual returns that are received by the CRO.

Despite the decline in the economy in the past five years, the number of documents processed by the CRO isn't believed to have declined.

It has dedicated teams of staff to deal with specific filings, such as annual returns, liquidation and other filings.

There was a spike in business failures in the past five years, as the economy nosedived.

Sectors such as the construction industry, retail and the motor trade were among those hardest hit.

But figures last week showed that the pace of business collapses has eased this year.

In the first nine months of 2013, 1,025 companies in Ireland were deemed insolvent – a 20pc fall compared with the first nine months of 2012, according to figures from Insolvencyjournal.ie.

In the construction sector, there were 17pc fewer corporate insolvencies recorded in the first nine months of this year, at 256, compared with the first nine months of 2012.

However, that is also likely to reflect the fact that so many construction businesses have gone under in the past five years that the ones remaining are better able to see out the abating economic storm.

The new Companies Bill 2012 is due to come into force next year but there will be an 18-month transition period.

There has also been speculation that the bill's introduction could be delayed beyond 2014.

Included in the bill are new regulations that will make company directors more culpable for compliance and corporate governance issues.

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