Are you looking for a new job? Do you have interviews lined up and are you preparing for them? If so then you might find this article interesting.
All UK companies have to file their accounts each year with the Government department known as companies house, the records are used for a variety of purposes including working out how much corporation tax each company is due to pay, but the records contain a great deal more useful information.
What sort of information is useful for interviews?
Well each Annual report and accounts contains a section called a Directors report, this is a general overview of the company, how it has traded during the year or period in question and comments about things the Directors feel important, reading this can give you some interesting insights into what the company has been doing recently.
Profit and Loss
The financial statement can give you a lot of data, what is the companies turnover, is it profitable or loss making, what sort of scale of operation is the business.
This contains information about how much cash or overdraft the business has, which again gives you an idea of how strong or weak that companies position maybe. You might find that your prospective employer is heavily indebted and loss making, which may not bode well for a long-term career with them!
The notes to the Accounts
These can be a bit slow going to read! But they contain some great data, for example the highest paid director and a list of directors, how many employees the company has and if the company is part of a larger group of companies or is a standalone business in its own right.
If there are significant legal actions involving the company, then these will likely be disclosed here also giving you the potential edge over other candidates.
How to use the data
Make notes of what you consider to be interesting and key facts from the accounts, make sure that during your interview you mention that you have obtained the companies latest report and accounts and refer to one or two of the things you noted, this will likely give a good impression during the interview.
Be careful in how you discuss the data you note as if it is negative the company may not be keen on that information being more widely available to future colleagues.
Whilst company data is freely available not many people know where to find the data, I can recommend a website called Reporting Accounts and it contains information on more than 4 million UK Companies together with data drawn from around 17 other sources so you can find out a huge amount of data all from a single website.
You can use the free information available on UK companies to your advantage during your interview process. It also can work in reverse if you are interviewing candidates you can use the same approach to dig deeper into the history of your potential recruits.
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