As a fundamental source of information for companies, financial institutions or lawyers, the commercial register fulfills an important task as a data source.
Since August 1, 2022, all "register content from the commercial, cooperative, association and partnership registers as well as electronically available documents via the Joint Register Portal" have been available on the Handelsregister.de website without registration and free of charge.
Find out here how this change has affected the commercial register and what impact it has on the efficiency of business processes.
In this article the German commercial register as an example.
(If you are looking for a commercial register from another country, other sources, such as the Commercial Register Online recommended).
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The most important facts about the commercial register in brief
The commercial register is a public database containing information on companies, associations and cooperatives. It documents legally relevant facts such as the legal form, management, registered office and capital structure of companies.
It is used by various interest groups, including:
- Company (for business partner verification and transparency)
- Financial institutions (for lending and investments)
- Lawyers (for due diligence in the case of corporate takeovers or insolvency audits)
- Authorities and regulatory bodies (to monitor the legal compliance of companies)
- Notaries (for identity checks or the preparation of notarial deeds)
Entries in the commercial register are made in two sections:
- Companies, in particular sole traders and commercial partnerships (with the exception of the GbR), are included in the Division A (HRA) registered
- Corporations in the Division B (HRB)
The HRA provides the following information on sole traders and commercial partnerships:
- Legal form
- Owner or personally liable partner of the commercial partnership
- Change of owners or shareholders
- Location of the branch
- Amount of the limited partner's contribution
- Opening of insolvency proceedings
- Deletion of the company
The HRB, on the other hand, provides information about corporations:
- Company, legal form
- Location of the branch
- Managing Director
- Share capital of a GmbH or share capital of a stock corporation (AG)
- Object of the company
- Opening of insolvency proceedings
- Deletion of the company
The legal relationships and facts to be entered in these sections are extremely diverse. For this reason, the commercial register only differentiates between facts that must be entered, facts that can be entered and facts that cannot be entered.
In contrast, the scope of relevant legal relationships in all other registers is so limited that such a distinction is not necessary.
This structure varies by country, and the commercial register may also have specific sections for balance sheets, annual reports and other legally relevant documents.
Retrieve information free of charge from the German commercial register - how it works
Since August 1, 2022, all information from the commercial, cooperative, association and partnership registers as well as the electronically available documents have been available free of charge and without prior registration via the joint register portal on the Website Handelsregister.de available.
This innovation was introduced when the Act Implementing the Digitization Directive (DiRUG) came into force.
If you want to receive an extract from the commercial register online immediately, proceed as follows:
Online portal of the commercial register
Visit the official website of the commercial register.
Use search function
Use the portal's search function to search for the company whose information you wish to view. Enter the company name, commercial register number, registered office or other information.
It is important that you include all keywords in the search, as shown in the image. It is also advisable to enter further details such as the branch office in order to narrow down the search results.
After you have carried out the search, the results will be displayed. Select the relevant company from the list.
You can then view information from the commercial register on the company's details page. This may include information on the legal form, management, registered office and other legally relevant facts.
You can see the different data highlighted in color on the picture:
AD (Current imprint)
Significance: The current printout provides an up-to-date overview of a company's registered information.
Documents: Contains current information such as commercial register entry, company headquarters, managing director, etc.
CD (Chronological print)
Significance: The chronological reprint shows the development and historical changes in the commercial register.
Documents: Includes all historical entries and changes over time.
HD (Historical print)
Significance: The historical print provides a detailed overview of past entries and changes.
Documents: Contains all relevant historical documents in the commercial register.
DK (document view)
Significance: The document view enables access to specific documents related to a company.
Documents: Contains specific contracts, agreements and other official company documents.
UT (company owner)
Significance: The company carrier shows the basic information and legal structures of a company.
Documents: Contains basic information about the company, such as legal form, managing director, etc.
Significance: Publications provide information on all company data published in the Federal Gazette.
Documents: Includes published documents such as financial statements and other official communications.
SI (Structured register content)
Significance: The structured register content presents the relevant information in an organized and systematic form.
Documents: Shows the structured presentation of the information available in the commercial register.
Access to the documents
If you now click on DK, you can access the stored documents.
In this screen you can now see which documents you can access, for example.
Once you have decided on an area, you can now access the shareholder agreements, for example, and download them in the desired format.
To download the document, you must now click on "Download" again.
If you now want to access various data from the commercial register, these are, for example, the following:
- Company and the company name
- Registered office, branches and branch offices of the company with details of the corresponding addresses
- Corporate purpose
- Authorized representatives and their powers of representation
- Legal form
- Amount of share capital and nominal capital
If you want to view the list of shareholders, the document looks like this, for example:
Challenges in using the commercial register
The processing of the commercial register is comprehensive and characterized by constant changes.
This applies in particular to those whose work is closely linked to the commercial register, including, for example:
- Managing Director
They face the following challenges:
Company: Coping with data complexity
The complexity of data in the commercial register can be a challenge for companies.
For example, if a company wants to do business with another company or a customer, it can find out about the respective company in the commercial register in advance.
Depending on the structure and amount of data, this process can take a long time.
Lawyers: Effective processing of various data
Lawyers are often faced with the task of compiling client files from the commercial register. Depending on the case, this process can be automated and improved.
For example, lawyers supporting an M&A transaction need comprehensive information about the companies involved. Compiling clients' files on the freely available contents of the commercial register makes effective processing of this data crucial to the success of such legal processes.
Authorities and regulatory bodies: Adaptation to legal changes
Authorities must prepare for legal changes and adapt their processes accordingly.
One example is the introduction of new reporting requirements for companies as a result of a change in the law. The authorities must ensure that the commercial register records this information correctly and in good time.
Notaries: Ensuring data quality and consistency
Ensuring data quality and consistency in the commercial register is of crucial importance for notaries.
One example of this is the notarization of contracts in the context of founding a company. The notary must ensure that the information available in the commercial register is correct and consistent in order to guarantee legal clarity and reliability.
The last point mainly concerns notaries, who play an important role in reporting to the commercial register, as every entry in the register must be made by a notary. When making an entry in the commercial register, notaries can nowadays use software (such as RA-MICRO) are supported.
If personal data needs to be redacted due to the unrestricted public nature of the commercial register, the notary is also responsible for this task. In the long term, this should be possible digitally, but currently the deletion of personal data is still the responsibility of notaries and registry courts (as of 11/23).
Commercial register with AI - use cases and advantages
The large volume of data coupled with the constant changes makes processing commercial register documents tedious and error-prone for many regular users, including companies, financial institutions, lawyers and notaries.
At this point, an AI like Konfuzio into play.
Konfuzio is an AI platform that specializes in intelligent document processing. The platform enables the automated extraction, processing and analysis of information from unstructured documents, e.g. for companies, financial institutions, lawyers, authorities and regulatory bodies.
The Marketplace from Konfuzio offers a function for processing commercial register extracts.
Before we go into more detail, below you will find the advantages of processing such documents with AI:
- Efficiency improvement: AI enables the automated processing of large volumes of data in the commercial register. This speeds up the process considerably compared to manual methods.
- Accuracy and precision: AI models extract information with high accuracy and precision. This minimizes errors and improves data quality.
- Automated updates: AI-supported systems automatically monitor changes in the commercial register and process updates efficiently. This ensures that the data is always up to date.
- Flexibility and adaptability: AI models are customizable and can be adapted to changing legal requirements and structures in the commercial register.
- Scalability: AI systems are scalable and can handle a growing volume of data. This is particularly important as the commercial register comprises a large number of companies.
- Support for digitization efforts: The use of AI supports the Transition to digital workflows and promotes the digital transformation of companies in the handling of commercial register data.
In summary, the use of AI enables more efficient, accurate and flexible processing of the commercial register. This leads to improved data quality, faster work processes and better use of company information.
Use case - Automated credit risk assessment
Banks can use AI to efficiently search the commercial register and extract relevant information about potential borrowers.
Thanks to the automated analysis of company structures, managing directors and key financial figures, banks can carry out well-founded credit risk assessments and make informed decisions on loan applications more quickly.
More about how Banks through KYC Process customer data efficiently, here.
Use case - Due diligence for company takeovers
Lawyers conducting due diligence for company acquisitions can use AI to search the commercial register and gather relevant legal information.
The automated extraction of data on company structures, contracts and legal obligations makes it easier to assess risks and prepare for company takeovers.
Find out more about how to OCR for legal documents can use, here.
Use Case - Compliance Management
Companies can use AI to ensure that their business partners and suppliers comply with the necessary legal requirements, including entries in the commercial register and the transparency register, which contains information on beneficial owners.
The transparency register is an officially maintained register that contains information on the beneficial owners of companies and legal entities. It serves to disclose ownership structures and supports the fight against money laundering as well as compliance with legal transparency requirements.
By automatically monitoring changes in the commercial register, companies ensure that their partners continue to meet compliance requirements and react proactively to any risks.
How to use the Business Logic You can find out how to avoid weak points in the linked article.
Use case for notaries: Real estate transactions
Notaries play a crucial role in real estate transactions and the commercial register is of great importance in this context. When a property is sold, the notary checks the commercial register to ensure that the selling party - be it a company or an individual - has the legal authority to enter into the transaction.
The notary confirms the ownership structure as part of the notarization and monitors the correct transfer in the commercial register. This ensures legal certainty for all parties involved and the transaction is completed in accordance with the applicable regulations.
Functions of the AI model for use in the commercial register
In the following section, you can find out more about the functions of the pre-trained "Commercial register" model.
If lawyers have to carry out a due diligence review, for example, it is extremely important to correctly evaluate the data in the commercial register. By extracting the OCR software, you receive a clear list of the labels and values.
This can look as follows, for example:
|Shareholder - Legal representative
|The partners (in the case of OHG and KG) are the natural or legal persons who are members of these companies. The person or persons (e.g. managing director, owner) who are authorized to legally represent the company and conclude contracts on its behalf. The exact designation and number of legal representatives may vary depending on the legal form and the legal provisions of the respective country.
|Names of those to be undertaken
|Number of the company, which contains both the numbers and the letters.
|The legal structure or form under which a company or firm is operated. The legal form of a company determines how it is legally organized, what rights and obligations the owners and managers have and how it is treated for tax purposes.
|The legal or official registered office of the company. This is the place where the company has its head office or principal place of business. The company's registered office is an important entry in the commercial register as it provides information on where the company is legally registered and where its legal affairs are managed.
|Hamburg Business address: Bracht 13, 52002 Viersen
|In the case of corporations, the amount of equity that the partners or shareholders contribute to the company in order to establish or finance it. The share capital can vary depending on the legal form of the company.
The AI offer of evaluating an extract from the commercial register is only available in German for the test. However, a corresponding model can be individually trained and adapted for any other language.
Konfuzio's REST API allows us to seamlessly integrate pre- and post-processed documents into any workflow. This enables automatic uploading of documents received by email as well as editing in spreadsheet software such as Excel or Google Sheets with specific triggers.
How to use the AI model commercial register
The best way to get to know the AI model commercial register is to try it out. You can do this by registering on the Konfuzio Marketplace free of charge to see how the model works and how it can support you.
Conclusion - How artificial intelligence is redefining the commercial register
The commercial register plays a crucial role in the business context and is a source of comprehensive information about companies. Digitalization and the introduction of artificial intelligence, such as Konfuzio, are also changing the way commercial registers are processed.
Automated processes, precise data extraction and efficient updates are becoming the new standard. Banks benefit from accelerated credit risk assessments, lawyers benefit from AI-supported due diligence for company takeovers and companies strengthen their compliance management.
The future prospects are promising, as the continuous development of technologies such as Konfuzio will further optimize commercial register processing. Digitization will play a central role in how companies, financial institutions and lawyers use the information in the commercial register and thus achieve more accurate results with a lower error rate.
Do you have questions about how you can use commercial register AI in practice? Then send us a message and an expert will get back to you as soon as possible