8 Apr 2004

Who is it for?
Company directors and owner-managers.

What makes it worth a visit?
The Companies Registration Office (CRO) website, www.cro.ie, has a new look. According to the CRO, which is responsible for incorporating new companies and registering business names in the State, the website is one of the most visited the country with over 685,000 hits per month and also one of the largest, providing access to a database of 150,000 companies.

What information will I find there?
Forms (over 100 of them) and information leaflets. The main feature of the redesigned site is that the major sections have been reordered to follow the normal life cycle of a company registered with the CRO, beginning with Business Registration and ending with Business Termination. Other sections include Online Services, where users can submit forms electronically and request duplicate certificates via email, What’s New, which contains news items about the CRO and its services and Downloads, where users go to retrieve forms, publications and payment fact sheets. Above the main menu bar is a Tools bar consisting of company and site search facilities and a late-filing penalty calculator.

Research suggests that many of the site’s users print the information they find and read it later. To make this easier, a printable version of each page is available stamped with the time of the last update so the user can be sure of having the latest version.

Other features include a text only version of the site for visually impaired users and for those with low download speeds. A site map has also been introduced to aid navigation.

Best feature?
The late filing penalty calculator – find out how much you are in hock to the Government with a couple of clicks.

What does it look like?
Very civil service – staid and unfussy.

The verdict?
A well-organised and laid out site, which puts all the information needed by directors in one place. Its efforts to cater for disabled and those with slow web access deserve credit.

By Brian Skelly