3

How can I get the 'annual report and accounts' from the top 500 listed (public) companies in the UK? (They are valuable data, despite them being PDFs.)

We looked at scraping annualreports.com but it didn't seem to have the latest year's report for many of the companies. In addition some companies' reports are locked until someone pays them.

We're resorting to automated Google searches, but surely there's a better way?

  • May be you don't see the latest year, as the financial year in the UK is not equal to the calendar year. A company's accounts are usually made to the date of incorporation or / and any significant delay - like companies can file their first account after 18 months, and postpone by 6 every fifth year. – marfi Oct 4 '17 at 12:46
3

You're probably having difficulty finding a service for this because there's no money in running one since Companies House announced and then launched the public beta of this wonderful free API

https://developer.companieshouse.gov.uk/api/docs/

I couldn't see any way of querying the service by any kind of ranking so if you dont already have a way of getting the list of companies you want to check for then you might need an additional step first.

If you have the name of the company you want the document for, you can use the main api search to get a list you can select the company from, that return includes the company registration number

The Company number will let you use the filings api , to get a listing of all the filed documents, which includes a UID number for each document that can be used with the documents api to get the actual document as a pdf. They mentioned at the api launch that they see all of these documents being filed online in the future and then the information will be available through the api as JSON rather than or as well as the pdf, some filed documents might either be data or a file so the documents api can also return document metadata which returns a mime type for the document so you can check that your call will return what you expect.

If you dont have the names, one way o finding them might be to use the two data download services which let you get big chunks of data

The Companies service lives here and gives you all the data for live companies on the register, updated once a month:

http://download.companieshouse.gov.uk/en_output.html

And the Accounts one is here, this lets you grab all of the activity day by day, as well as historic data from last year:

http://download.companieshouse.gov.uk/en_accountsdata.html

Additionally, the accounts data in the download is in some kind of xml so that might be more useful to you.

  • Thanks for the info. Some important data here, on officers and accounts, but I'm also interested in the rest of the report. At least this will tell me if annualreports.com is giving me the latest report. – D Read Oct 30 '17 at 14:47
  • 1
    @DRead Updated answer to give a more comprehensive picture of how you might use it to get the documents you're after – Jamie Oct 31 '17 at 19:40
  • Sadly this API only provides PDFs of scanned images, not the original PDFs. Lots of them in a really bad state (e.g. pages upside down, barcode stickers obscuring parts of the document etc). The original PDFs would be much more valuable. – D Read Nov 1 '17 at 11:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.