Washington makes it relatively simple to look up business information through the Office of the Secretary of State’s Corporations and Charities Division. Below we’ll walk through the steps for doing this, and show you some additional resources you might not know about.
There are any number of reasons you might need this information. It’s absolutely critical when performing due diligence and Know Your Client (KYC) purposes. If you’re only performing these kinds of searches occasionally, Washington SOS portal allows you to find the data you’re looking for quickly and easily. If you’re searching records like these in high numbers, there are some tools you’ll want to know about, but we’ll come back to that in just a moment.
You can find Washington’s Corporation Search portal by clicking here. The landing page looks like this:
As you can see at the top of the screen, there are prompts to log in or create an account. An account is required to do some things, but not to perform searches. Scroll right past that to the middle of the screen and you’ll see the search interface.
The basic search function is quick and easy; you can type in all or part of the business name, and select ‘Begins With’, ‘Contains’, or ‘Exact Match’ for the term you’ve entered to filter the results.
But wait, there’s more. Washington’s Corporation Search also has extensive options for filtering your results further. You can find those by clicking ‘Advanced Search’. Let’s try searching for only active companies starting with ‘acme’.
The results are returned 25 at a time, in alphabetical order by default. Clicking on any of the headers will sort the data in that column A-Z; clicking the same header again resorts the data Z-A.
The information on the search results page is fairly generous, displaying the business name, UBI (Universal Business Identifier) number, the type of business, the company’s principal address and the name of the Registered Agent, and the status. In this case, they’re all active; a search without that filter will return companies that are dissolved, merged, delinquent in their filings, and more.
One nice feature on this page is at the very bottom at the right:
That small icon allows you to download all the search results (not just the single page; all of them) as a CSV file.
Clicking on any of the business names brings you to the details page for that company.
Here, you’ll find more information than on the search results page: important filing dates, additional addresses for the company and the Registered Agent, and names of the Principals at the bottom of the screen.
One tip: to return to your results page, don’t click ‘Return to Business Search’ at the bottom right. I did, and discovered that this clears the search entirely and takes you back to where you started. To return only to the previous page without losing what you’ve done, click the ‘Back’ button at the bottom left.
The ‘Print’ button at the bottom right prints all of the information you see on this page.
Also at the bottom right, you’ll find buttons which will allow you to view the Name History for the business (if they’ve changed names previously), and the Filing History, shown here:
Clicking ‘View Documents’ on that screen opens a window displaying a list of the documents related to each record, and allows you to download a copy of those documents if you wish.
Need More Information, More Quickly?
Washington offers a generous amount of business information at no cost, and with relatively advanced search functionality. If you need to search for hundreds – or even thousands – of these records each month, however, this would quickly consume a lot of time. Furthermore, Secretary of State data is different from one state to another, so combining and integrating data from multiple states is complex.
Cobalt Intelligence gives you the ability to quickly access Secretary of State business data from Washington and all other states via API. If you’re looking for a solution that your engineering team can implement, try it here and let us show you how we can help. If you’re technically minded, watch this short video to see the more advanced features in action.