Presented by Company Partners

A free start-up checklist tool for company registration and compliance in South Africa

By Company Partners, a leader in fast-tracked administration for South African entrepreneurs, and have assisted over 60,000 entrepreneurs throughout South Africa with more than 120 business services.

Figuring out and keeping track of the documents you need to start a new company in South Africa, can be complex.

There are multiple legal requirements from the CIPC, the Labour Department, SARS, COIDA and a wide range of industry-specific organisations like the NHBRC.

In uncertain economic times like these, start-up paperwork can be overwhelming. You need all your energy to focus on your day-to-day business and to manage unexpected changes.

How can you minimise your company administration, without falling behind on the paperwork you need to apply for tenders, loans and financing opportunities?

You use the digital tools at your disposal

If you need a quick reference of specific documents right now, you can find a list of the general documents most start-ups need, at the bottom of this page.

Over the last 5 years Company Partners, South Africa’s leader in company registration and compliance services, has developed an online tool that helps local entrepreneurs manage their paperwork in a simpler, faster way.

You can download a PDF version of your tailored Legal File and you can customise it further with the assistance of a dedicated business consultant.

This tool is called The Legal File. It is a free start-up checklist tool that gives your business a suggested roadmap, that you can follow with an easy step-by-step guide to get your business tender-ready or industry-compliant.

More importantly, it helps you create a customised start-up checklist. The checklist updates as you complete specific steps and as your business grows.

You can download a PDF version of your tailored Legal File and you can customise it further with the assistance of a dedicated business consultant.

Additionally, the tool allows you to order, manage and store all your company administration within one virtual platform.

Here is how to sign up for this tool and see your tailored start-up checklist:

Step 1: Create an Online User Profile with Company Partners

The registration process takes a few minutes and you can do it by clicking here.

  1. First, you’ll be asked to fill out your details. Click Proceed.
  2. Secondly, you’ll be prompted to fill out your email address and your business name. Click Proceed again.
  3. The third screen will be a login screen. Here you will have to use the password that a dedicated consultant will email to the email address you submitted.

Here’s what the first screen would look like:

If you struggle with any part of the process, a business consultant can set you up for the start-up checklist too. Just call this toll-free number: 0800 007 269.

Step 2: Go to “My Legal File”

Once you have logged in, you will notice there are various sections on a Dashboard on your left-hand side. You can make use of any of these services, however, to access the Legal File tool for your start-up checklist, click on “My Legal File”.

You will find it here.

At this point, your start-up checklist is a general checklist. To tailor it to your company, and its needs, you will need to answer the quick questions in step 3.

Step 3: Answer a few Quick Questions

The next step in the process is answering the easy questions above your Legal File. These questions will automatically appear and automatically customise your checklist after you’ve answered them. This is what it should look like:

Step 4: Check out your customised Legal file

 Once you’ve answered the questions, your Legal File should change into a start-up checklist that suits your business needs specifically.

You’ll notice your legal file is divided into 4 phases: Start Trading, Get Opportunities, Get on the Map and Be Protected. These sections guide you through 4 different stages of business growth. 

The first stage helps you get what you need to trade legally within your industry, to register a company and more. The second stage helps you take advantage of significant growth opportunities for your company. The third stage guides you through marketing techniques and the final stage helps you ensure the long-term legal security of your business.

You can use this tool to execute one compliance requirement at a time in chronological order. You can also do multiple services at once. There are also various packages that qualify you for discounted pricing.

Once you have ordered a compliance service or marked it as complete, you’ll see what’s next on the agenda.

You can also contact a Consultant to tailor your online step-by-step guide further.

If you’d like to do more research on any particular service, for example registering a company, simply click on the service name. This connects you to a description page. You can also learn more by talking to a specialist.

Here is an example of the Legal File of a Business that has executed some services, but is not trading yet:

Here is an example of the Legal File of a construction Company which is already trading:


If you have specific questions about company registration documents or how you can leverage this free Legal File tool to establish and grow your business, Company Partners offers free business consultations on 0800 007 269.That’s it. It’s a simplified business administration solution that helps you work towards complete company compliance in South Africa.

Next, we’ll look at 5 questions that’ll help you understand why it’s important for you to tailor your start-up checklist according to your unique business.

At the bottom of this page, you’ll find a general list of the paperwork most start-ups in South Africa need.

5 Helpful questions to help you figure out which regulations apply to your new business

If you use the Company Partners Legal File, you don’t need to worry about answering these questions now. They are all included in the Legal File tool and your answers will generate automatic suggestions for you.

Nevertheless, let’s dive into why these questions are important to your new company checklist.

1. Is your Business already trading?

If your business is already trading there are a few things you need to keep in mind. For example:

  • Has your business reached the threshold for mandatory VAT registration or would you like to register voluntarily for VAT for specific tender opportunities?
  • If you’re already trading, you are also required to submit Annual Returns each year, to comply with CIPC’s company regulations.
  • It is also important to ensure you’re submitting your Tax return accurately to avoid any admin penalty fees SARS may implement for late or incorrect submissions.

2. In which industry will your Company be trading in?

Specific industries, like the security, cleaning and construction industries need to adhere to specific South African laws.

These legal requirements protect South African consumers from fly-by-night companies who aren’t up to certain standards, for example, safety standards.

The industry which you choose to operate in will affect the suggested compliance documents for your new business.

3. Do you want to apply for Tenders, contracts, RFQs or financing opportunities?

This question also ties in closely with your industry of trade.

Although every Tender may have a different set of requirements, there’s usually a fixed list of must-haves. If it’s a public tender you usually need a Company Registration Number, a B-BBEE Affidavit / BEE Certificate, a Tax Clearance Certificate and a Letter of Good Standing.

If you’re applying for a government contract, you also need CSD Registration.

Your specific industry will then also add or deduct multiple documents to your compliance checklist.

4. Do you need to fast-track your company registration process?

Company Partners can register most South African companies within 1 working day. There are some exemptions where it can take longer, and it may then be better to buy a shelf company where you can obtain your registration number immediately. Other extras are also included with certain Shelf Companies, for example: a Tax Verification Number, a Tax Clearance Certificate, COID registration, an Import / Export number etc.

Other industry-specific registrations like NHBRC Registration may take a few weeks.

5. How many people are part of your Company and what are their roles?

Although it’s likely you’re a director, an employee and a shareholder in your own business, all these descriptions are legally very different. It’s important to issue a shareholder’s certificate; to establish who the directors of your business are and; to register as an employer at SARS as soon as anyone (including yourself) draws a monthly salary from the business.

As an employer, you’re also required to register with COID and possibly UIF and SDL.

A general checklist list of documents you need to register and start a new company in South Africa (not tailored)

Here is a quick list of the most common general and industry-specific documents most start-up companies in South Africa need.

Keep in mind, some company documents are dependent on others; you may need one specific document in order to get another. The Legal File can be helpful for this purpose; it prioritises your list of must-have documents in order of priority.

A business with no employees, trading locally, is different from a business that ships internationally and has one or more employees. Your compliance needs will also change as your business grows and you explore more opportunities and industries.

Nevertheless, here’s an overview.

6 Registration Documents most new South African Companies need

  1. Register a Company (CIPC) – CoR14.3, CoR14.1, CoR14.1A and MOI (CoR15.1A).
  2. Tax Verification (SARS) and Tax Clearance Certificate from SARS
  3. A BEE Affidavit or BEE Certificate
  4. UIF Registration
  5. COID Registration and a Letter of Good Standing from COIDA
  6. A Business Bank Account

5 Common industry-specific documents

  1. PSIRA Registration (Security Industry)
  2. NHBRC Registration  (Building & Construction Industry)
  3. CIDB Registration  (Construction Industry)
  4. NCCA Registration  (Cleaning Industry)
  5. A Health and Safety Plan or File  (Various Industries)

You can learn more about the above company services here.

Please note the content on this page does not replace legal advice. It is designed to share an overview of our experience as a fast-tracked company registration service provider in South Africa.

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This article was published in partnership with Company Partners.

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A free start-up checklist tool for company registration and compliance in South Africa