To register a company in India, a physical address is a mandatory requirement.
1. What Does the Indian Company Law Say?
As per the Indian Company Law, a company must provide a physical address for registration. Sections 12 of the Indian Companies Act, 2013 lay it down clearly as follows:
12. (1) A company shall, [within thirty days of its incorporation] and at all times thereafter, have a registered office capable of receiving and acknowledging all communications and notices as may be addressed to it.
(2) The company shall furnish to the Registrar verification of its registered office within a period of thirty days of its incorporation in such manner as may be prescribed.
(3) Every company shall—
(a) paint or affix its name, and the address of its registered office, and keep the same painted or affixed, on the outside of every office or place in which its business is carried on, in a conspicuous position, in legible letters, and if the characters employed therefore are not those of the language or of one of the languages in general use in that locality, also in the characters of that language or one of those languages;
(b) have its name engraved in legible characters on its seal; if any;
(c) get its name, address of its registered office and the Corporate Identity Number along with telephone number, fax number, if any, e-mail and website addresses, if any, printed in all its business letters, billheads, letter papers and in all its notices and other official publications; and
(d) have its name printed on hundies, promissory notes, bills of exchange and such other documents as may be prescribed:
A registered office is, therefore, a legal requirement for any individual that wishes to register a company. The sole purpose of the address is to provide for a place for the company to receive its official communication(s) from government bodies, with an official address for delivering legal notices and statutory mail.
It has to be a full, physical postal address within the same state where the company is registered. Both residential and non-residential addresses are acceptable, but commercial addresses are extensively used for the purpose of registration. The registered office doesn’t need to be within the same part of the county where the company conducts its main trading activities. It’s meant for receiving official mail and storing statutory records for the purposes of inspection.
2. What is a Virtual Office Address?
Today companies have a more scattered workforce; more and more companies are letting go of the physical offices and moving to a remote working model. Such companies have no real requirement of an office space apart from conducting business-related communication. Therefore, today a business can register itself on what is called a virtual office address. When we say virtual, it does not mean a space online; it simply refers to a professional address that can be used for all business correspondence and mails.
The vendors who maintain these spaces handle all business communications efficiently, they maintain mailing records and forward important communication to the business owners so that they can effectively conduct their business. These services can be availed without office lease, or utility payments, or any other additional cost that comes with actually renting out. Along with virtual address and phone numbers, the virtual office providers also offer personalized reception services, virtual fax and mail handling services. Virtual offices today are gaining popularity rapidly if a business chooses to have several office addresses in different parts of the country via virtual addresses, perfect for small companies looking to expand their reach in multiple states.
3. Services a Virtual Office Can Render
Here is a list of some the basic services provided by virtual offices, please note, different vendors may have other offerings separate from the ones mentioned below – the offering mentioned are representative of the basic services provided:
- Assistant – A dedicated professional will be provided to execute various tasks and operations assigned by the respective clients. If an organization chooses to, this assistant can act as representative in meetings on behalf of the company.
- Answering services – An executive will be appointed to receive calls on behalf of the organization availing the services.
- Office space – It gives you a chance to own a high profile reputed address in a city when you want to expand your business operations at a relatively low cost.
- Mailing address – They provide a PO box number where a business organization can accept, send and forward mail to.
- Meeting room services – It can be rented at short notice for varying periods.
4. Businesses Which Can Use a Virtual Office
The services concerning a virtual office can be availed by any individual or a registered business. All that is required are KYC (Know your customer) documents to the virtual office address provider.
5. Advantages of a Virtual Office
There are various advantages of operating a business from a virtual office. It is instrumental in helping budding entrepreneurs save money in the early stages of running your business. Since virtual offices function during regular business hours, it becomes easier to manage any business-related communication, and one doesn’t have to worry about missing the delivery.
You can schedule visits with your customers and know that your day-to-day business needs are taken care of. Since some customers are wary about working with businesses that operate out of residential offices, a commercial office will help to inspire confidence.
A virtual office provides access to a physical location where investors and customers can meet and conduct business with ease. Access to a meeting space is especially beneficial for small business as it helps cut unnecessary expenditure of meetings in hotels etc. Organizations in the nascent stage, therefore, focus on expanding their business.
A virtual office allows entrepreneurs to focus on running their business instead of spending their time dealing with administrative tasks. Nor does it free up time. Its cost-effectiveness makes it easier to turn a profit.
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