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Differences Between MOA and AOA


Last Updated on August 28, 2023 by Kanakkupillai


The MOA and AOA, although closely related, serve divergent purposes in shaping the trajectory of a business entity. These documents establish the groundwork for a company’s operations and navigate the intricate terrain of legal compliance and internal governance. As we delve into the intricacies of MOA and AOA, we aim to shed light on their distinctive characteristics, helping businesses and stakeholders gain a profound understanding of their roles and implications.

Memorandum of Association (MOA): Defining the Corporate Scope

The Memorandum of Association is a foundational document articulating the essential framework and scope of a company’s operations. It serves as a contractual agreement between the company and its members, elucidating the external limits within which the company can function. The MOA essentially delineates the company’s main objectives, authorized share capital, and relationship with the external world.

Key Components of MOA

  1. Name Clause: The MOA begins with the name clause, which states the company’s official name. This is a critical aspect as the company is legally identified by the name mentioned in this clause.
  2. Registered Office Clause: This clause specifies the official address of the company, which determines its jurisdiction and the place where official communications are received.
  3. Object Clause: The object clause outlines the primary and ancillary objectives that the company aims to achieve. This clause acts as a boundary that limits the activities the company can engage in.
  4. Liability Clause: The MOA mentions whether the company’s members have limited or unlimited liability. This has implications on the personal liability of members in case of company debts.
  5. Capital Clause: This clause states the company’s authorised share capital, which is the maximum value of shares that the company can issue.

Articles of Association (AOA): Governing Internal Affairs

The Articles of Association complements the MOA by providing an in-depth insight into the internal management and operations of the company. While the MOA sets the outer framework, the AOA focuses on the internal rules and regulations that govern the company’s day-to-day functioning.

Key Aspects of AOA

  1. Membership Rights and Duties: AOA outlines the rights, duties, and privileges of the members, including details about share transfers, voting rights, and membership qualifications.
  2. Directors’ Powers and Responsibilities: This section elaborates on the powers vested in the directors, their appointment, retirement, and decision-making processes.
  3. Board and General Meetings: AOA defines the procedures for convening board and general meetings, specifying the quorum, notice period, and voting procedures.
  4. Dividend Distribution and Reserves: AOA addresses the allocation of profits, dividend distribution, and the creation of reserve funds for the company’s financial stability.
  5. Alteration of Articles: Any changes to the AOA must be by company law and require shareholder approval. This ensures transparency and prevents arbitrary amendments.

MOA and AOA Difference

Aspect Memorandum of Association (MOA) Articles of Association (AOA)
Scope and Purpose Defines the company’s external objectives and limitations. Outlines the company’s internal regulations and governance structure.
Contents – Name of the company<br>- Registered office address<br>- Company’s main objectives<br>- Authorized share capital<br>- Members’ liability. – Membership rights and duties<br>- Powers of directors<br>- Procedures for meetings<br>- Dividend distribution.
Legal Standing Acts as a contract between the company and its members. Establishes the internal rules by which the company operates.
Amendments Changes require the approval of shareholders and compliance with company law. Amendments are made in line with company law and necessitate shareholder consent.
External Focus Primarily concerned with relations between the company and the external world. Centred on the company’s internal management and administration.
Internal Governance Focuses on the structure of the company’s administration and members’ roles. Establishes rules for decision-making, board meetings, and member participation.
Shareholders’ Rights Generally, it does not detail the specific rights of shareholders. Outlines voting rights, share transfers, and other privileges of shareholders.
Directors’ Powers and Duties Offers minimal information about directors’ roles and powers. Elaborates on directors’ appointments, duties, powers, and decision-making processes.
Resolutions May touch upon general guidelines for resolutions, if included. Specifies the process for passing resolutions, quorum requirements, and notice periods.
Financial Matters Typically, it does not delve into financial matters. Addresses dividend distribution, reserves, and financial management principles.
Binding Nature Binds both the company and its members to its provisions. Binding on members in their capacity as shareholders and company officers.


A solid understanding of the differences between the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association is imperative for any business entity. These documents provide the legal groundwork for a company’s operations and establish a clear structure for decision-making, member rights, and overall corporate governance.


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