June 6, 2021
by: Tomislav Bošnjaković

Digital onboarding is currently a buzzword among businesses, especially with the current situation of pandemic crisis when many companies are rethinking their way of doing business. Yet, when someone mentions the term “digital onboarding”, the first thought for most people is that it refers to the digital onboarding of a natural person. For example, name, address, social security number, ID document number, and document expiration date are the information that is usually required in the process of online onboarding a natural person becoming a new customer. All of us had to provide such information when buying an airline ticket, booking a hotel room, or create a buyer’s account at a web shop. 

Onboarding process in Croatia

But – what if your clients are not (only) natural persons? What are your options if you are providing a B2B service and you want to digitally onboard a company? The answer depends on the company’s type and the country of registration. Unlike natural persons, where each individual has an ID document of some type for his/her identification (some governments also provide some sort of online ID database for cross-referencing ID data, which is highly beneficial to the resulting user experience), companies do not possess ID cards. Companies do have a government-issued unique ID number, but there is no authentication baseline data (i.e. a set of credentials issued to the company’s current legal representative) which would enable you to positively identify a company (by identifying a person claiming to represent it). All countries have some kind of government register that you can use as a liable source of such information, however, the smoothness and sexiness of the register search process varies a lot from country to country. 

Let’s assume that you are a company providing an online B2B service to other companies in Croatia, and you want to get credible basic information about the company onboarding for your service, and at the same time you also want to check if a person going through your actual B2B onboarding process does indeed have the legal power to do so (is she a valid company’s legal representative).

Problems you will encounter

Firstly, in Croatia, there is no single trustworthy source where you can get information about all types of organizations and information about their legal representatives. You can use the Court register which does actually have nice API exposed, but – there is a catch. A Court register does not include information about crafts, self-employed persons, artists, etc. – it only enlists limited liability companies. For these, you can use the crafts register, but this register does not have an API. In both cases, you can search the database manually, and you can get excerpts from the Court register in a form of a PDF file with all the relevant data included.

Secondly, you can’t get the personal ID number (called OIB in Croatia) of a company’s legal representatives  through the before mentioned API, so people named “Ivan Horvat” (the Croatian version of. “John Smith”) should never really be appointed as CEO’s because of logistic issues. Just kidding of course, but – verifying a person’s right to represent herself as a legal representative of a company is a real problem if you want to do it remotely.

Filling the gaps

So far, there are two ways to identify a company in Croatia. „By foot” or by using an excerpt PDF file from the Court register or through buying a subscription to services that offer relevant information about the companies and their financial data. In both cases, you still need to identify responsible person(s).

To fill this gap on Croatian market, Identyum has developed „Company Linker”, an extension to Identyum’s digital identity platform. Company Linker is an Identyum add-on functionality aimed at CEO’s, which enables them to digitally represent the companies they are legally responsible for: making sure that they are indeed legal representatives of the company, while at the same time removing the friction of having to enter all of the company data by hand.

Company Linker in essence enables a CEO to link all companies and crafts she legally represents to her digital identity, which can then in turn be used to onboard to any online B2B service in a matter of seconds. Combined with Cloud Digital Signing functionalities, it can also be used as a general document signing platform.

So – if you are a CEO – wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t have to manually enter all of your company data next time you are signing on for a B2B service? With Company Linker, all you need to do is – authenticate yourself (and choose which company you want to represent, if you are a CEO of more than one company) and – that’s it!

Isn’t that a great save of your precious time?