You’ve probably heard of them before but you’re not sure if your company needs a DUNS or UEI number. The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number is a 9-digit number used to identify individual business entities, assigned by Dun and Bradstreet, Inc. (D&B). The Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) is a non-proprietary identifier provided by the System for Award Management (SAM.gov). What are these numbers and does your company need them?
The DUNS numbers are considered proprietary information protected by trademark. D&B can provide access to these numbers and control their use, primarily for identification purposes. In fact, the DUNS number was designed to be shared publicly. Unlike your company Employer Identification Number (EIN), which shouldn’t normally be shared, the DUNS number is regularly shared with other companies. These numbers are also searchable via the D&B website. As of Aprill, 2022, the DUNS number was phased out as the official identifier for doing business with the federal government.
The UEI is a 12-character alphanumeric ID that replaced the use of a DUNS Number with the federal government in April 2022. The UEI number, like the DUNS Number, may include corporate information associated with an entity. This information can include contact information, industry classification, if the entity is part of a hierarchy, etc. A UEI and its entity info is also searchable via the SAM.gov website.
Which number does your company need? If you will be contracting with the government, you will most likely need a UEI number. Whether you need a DUNS number for your Nevada or Arizona company will depend on what type of industry category your business falls under and which local agency you will be working with. Some state departments may still need a DUNS number for specific registration processes, as of 2023. Keep in mind, with the phasing out of the DUNS number at the federal level, it may not be necessary for future state department or local agency contracting and may be replaced with UEIs as well. That being said, some financial institutions may still encourage you to apply for a DUNS number as it can still be used to asses a business’ credit history. Some international organizations still recognize DUNS numbers and may require them as well.
Registering for both numbers is straightforward. Each website has respective checklists for their registration process. If you are unsure whether your Nevada or Arizona company needs a UEI or DUNS number, it would be best to speak with an experienced business attorney that can advise you on your business needs.