Conducting business verification for Nigerian startups is an important aspect of owning a business in Nigeria either as a citizen or a foreigner. Even though the process and document requirements may be different for these two people. Nigerian startups must ensure that their new business is registered or verified preferably before they begin operations.

Thankfully, there is an easy way to register your startups or conduct a business verification in Nigeria as there is a body, the Corporate Affairs Commission responsible for that.

In this article, you will learn how to conduct business verification for Nigerian startups, and the significance of company verification for Nigerian startups amongst others.

 

Why Verify Your Nigerian Business as a Startup?

In a competitive landscape, establishing credibility is paramount. Business verification offers a multitude of benefits for Nigerian startups:

1. Enhanced Trust and Credibility

Verification serves as a badge of authenticity, informing potential investors, partners, and customers that the firm is a legitimate entity working within legal boundaries. This increases the likelihood of securing funding, creating strategic collaborations, and attracting a larger consumer base.

 

2. Improved Market Access

Many business prospects require confirmed corporate status, particularly those involving government contracts or overseas enterprises. Verification removes this barrier, allowing access to new markets and growth potential.

 

3. Streamlined Operations

Verification simplifies a variety of business operations. Banks, for example, are more inclined to open accounts for verified businesses, so easing financial transactions and expansion.

 

4. Reduced Fraud Risk

Verification aids in the prevention of fraudulent activity inside the ecosystem. By certifying firms, authorities can dissuade criminals and establish a safe environment for legitimate participants.

 

How to Verify Your Nigerian Startup Businesses

There are several approaches to verifying your Nigerian startup, each with its advantages and considerations:

1. CAC Registration

The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is Nigeria's primary regulatory authority for business registration. Registering your firm with the CAC is the initial step towards verification. The CAC issues a Certificate of Incorporation, which is a vital document certifying your company's legal existence.

To register your business, here is a step-by-step process for your business or company registration

To register your business name in Nigeria, follow this step-by-step guideline for business name registration

To register your incorporated trustees, follow this step-by-step procedure for registration of incorporated trustees

To know if a company is already registered in Nigeria, follow this procedure.

 

2. Tax Identification Number (TIN)

Getting a TIN from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is another important step. The TIN is a unique identifier used for tax purposes that demonstrates your startup's commitment to meeting its tax obligations. 

How to Check if You Already Have a TIN Number

Step 1: Visit www.fctirs.gov.ng

Step 2: Click on “Find TIN” on the e-service menu

Alternatively, you can also visit https://tin.jtb.gov.ng to verify your business TIN 

 

3. Bank Verification Statement (BVN)

Linking your company bank account to the BVN system provides an additional degree of verification. The BVN is a biometric identification system designed to combat financial fraud and money laundering. You can also learn how to perform bank verification online

 

4. Membership in Industry Associations

Joining relevant industry associations tailored to your startup's field can be advantageous. These organisations frequently have verification mechanisms that provide credibility to your field. Depending on your industry, consider joining organisations such as the Nigerian Fintech Association or the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

 

5. Third-Party Verification Services

Several Nigerian start-ups provide business verification services. These services often include document verification, background checks, and due diligence procedures, which result in a verification certificate issued by the service provider. Youverify and VerifyMe are two popular choices that use technology to streamline the verification process.

 

How to Choose the Right Business Verification Method for Nigerian Startups

The ideal  business verification method depends on several factors:

1. Business Stage

Early-stage firms may prioritise CAC registration and TIN acquisition because these are necessities. As the company grows, further strategies such as BVN connection or industry organisation membership can be pursued.

 

2. Industry Requirements

Certain sectors may have particular verification needs. It is critical to research these requirements before selecting a strategy. For example, financial organisations may have additional verification measures in place to ensure compliance.

 

3. Cost and Time Commitment

Different procedures have different costs and processing times. Consider your budget and timetable while making a decision. CAC registration and acquiring a TIN are often less expensive and faster than third-party verification services.

 

Tips for Effective Business Verification for Nigerian Startups

Here are some valuable tips to ensure a smooth business verification process in Nigeria:

1. Gather Necessary Documentation

Before beginning the verification process, make sure you have all of the necessary documents on hand. This contains firm registration documents, tax identification information, utility bills (proof of business address), identification documents for directors and owners, and any industry-specific requirements.

 

2. Maintain Accurate Records

Maintaining current corporate documents, such as financial statements and yearly reports, is critical. This simplifies the verification process and demonstrates appropriate company practices.

 

3. Comply with Regulations

Compliance with all applicable regulations, including tax and labour laws, is critical. This fosters trust and prevents any delays during verification.

 

4. Leveraging Technology

Use online platforms and digital tools provided by the CAC, FIRS, and other relevant government organisations to speed the verification process. Use online platforms to submit documents and track their status whenever possible.

 

5. Seek Professional Help

If you encounter any difficulties or require assistance throughout the verification procedure, consider talking with company lawyers or accountants who specialize in Nigerian rules. These professionals can be extremely helpful in interpreting legal requirements and assuring compliance.

 

How do I Perform Business Verification for Nigerian Startups?

There are key steps to performing bank verification for Nigerian Startups:

1. Gather Documents: 

Start by collecting legal documents, financial records, licenses, and permits. Ensure they're up-to-date, accurate, and complete.

 

2. Verify Licenses & Permits:  

Check the validity of licenses and permits claimed by the company through official government sources. Ensure they apply to the business's specific industry.

 

3. Assess Financial Health:  

Analyze the business's financial statements to gauge their financial stability. Look for signs like consistent profitability, healthy cash flow, and manageable debt.

 

4. Review Reputation:  

Research the business's reputation through customer reviews, industry publications, and social media. Be wary of negative publicity or unresolved customer complaints.
 

5. Background Checks:  

Conduct background checks on key individuals like business owners, executives, and directors to ensure their credibility.

 

6. Consider Third-Party Services: 

Utilize expert business verification services like Youverify to access extensive databases and uncover potential risks you might miss.

 

Beyond Verification: Building a Culture of Trust

Business verification is an important step in creating confidence, but it is only one piece of the puzzle. Building a solid foundation of trust extends beyond formality. Here are some other strategies to create trust among stakeholders:

1. Transparency and Open Communication

Maintain open communication with investors, partners, and customers. Share detailed information about your company's activities, financial performance, and future goals.

 

2. Ethical Conduct

Maintaining ethical corporate practices promotes trust. This includes fair treatment for employees, good environmental policies, and a dedication to data privacy.

 

Automate your Business Verification Process using YVOS

While company verification is an important step in creating credibility, it is only the first step towards building a solid foundation of trust. 

Youverify's operating system helps you automate your business verification while simplifying your customer due diligence process. Request for a demo to see how it works.