Companies House has launched its Free Accounts Data Product. For the first time the public has access to statutory accounts in data format, allowing users greater opportunity and flexibility to manipulate accounts data.
Releasing the data free of charge will demonstrate the UK's commitment to leading the field in open data. Making this information available free of charge in data format will open up financial data on companies, increasing transparency and making data analysis more efficient.
Business Minister Michael Fallon said:
"The UK is at the forefront of a data revolution. Today's free release of company accounts data by Companies House is an excellent example of how we are increasing access to data and transparency.
Open company data can benefit everyone – whether it's entrepreneurs, taxpayers, businesses or the public sector. Better data efficiency encourages innovation, delivers better public services and stimulates growth through new revenue streams."
Chris Taggart, CEO of Open Corporates said:
"In publishing company accounts as open data Companies House is leading the world, and shows it understands the importance of public, free and reusable information for scrutiny, creating a good business environment, and also fostering innovation and growth."
As part of the Public Data Group (PDG), Companies House is committed to the UK government's open data agenda. The Free Accounts Data Product was developed with funding from the Public Sector Transparency Board.
Initial discussions with the market have provided evidence that there would be significant demand for a company accounts data, and issuing the product with no fee attached would remove any barriers to entry, providing an opportunity for innovation and entrepreneurship.
Open data supporters have argued that offering free data allows great opportunities for innovation and for the market to develop more effectively.
At 28% of all purchased company information, accounts are the most accessed set of information on the register of companies (after basic company details, which are also available free of charge). As a core piece of information, accounts underpin significant economic activity; from the credit reference industry to individual companies assessing the financial health of a potential client or customer.