As with all companies, small companies are required to submit their year-end accounts to Companies House which means that whatever is submitted appears on public record for anyone to view. There is no longer a requirement to have a subscription with Companies House or pay any fees to view these documents, they are simply available for the public to view and download if they wish.
As a result of this when preparing annual accounts we are often asked the question as to what will be shown at Companies House.
The majority of UK companies prepare their year-end accounts under accounting standards known as FRS 102 (The Financial Reporting Standard applicable in the UK and Republic of Ireland).
Since the introduction of FRS 102 the answer to this question is anything that you disclose in your accounts to the shareholders, with a slight tweak as detailed below.
A set of small company accounts consists of some mandatory elements and some optional elements, the points below set out the more common elements of a set of year-end accounts and what these include:
Click on the below to expand the elements gain further insights.
For a small company this is reasonably limited with the points included being the names of the directors and a statement to say that the directors have taken advantage of small company exemptions when preparing the accounts.
It may be worthwhile pointing out at this stage that the obligation to prepare the accounts in line with all relevant laws and regulations is that of the directors, not the accountant nor the shareholders.
In the report the directors can take the option to disclose a number of other elements about the business including current and future expected performance, key performance indicators and any other comment they so wish to make, so long as these are accurate and not misleading. Typically these contain simply the reduced disclosures as required as detailed above.
This report is signed either by a director of the company or the company secretary.
This is an optional element to the accounts as there is no requirement for the accounts to include an accountants report. This does however add some gravitas to the accounts and provide an element of comfort that these have been prepared according to appropriate standards.
At Menzies we would almost always include our report on a set of year-end accounts we help our clients to prepare. This however does not always appear on the version of the accounts which appears at Companies House.
There are a few optional layouts for this. There could be either:
- Income Statement, accompanied by the Statement of Comprehensive Income;
- Statement of Comprehensive Income;
- Statement of Income and Retained Earnings;
The income Statement, traditionally known as the Profit and Loss account, sets out the income and expenditure for the entity for the period being shown in the accounts which is typically a year.
The choice as to which format should be used depends on the types of income received, if there are gains or losses outside of the traditional profit and loss account then the Statement of Comprehensive income may be required.
Sometime this choice simply comes down to personal preference and what information is needed for the users of the accounts to obtain enough information regarding the financial performance for the period.
Statement of Financial Position
Traditionally called the Balance Sheet this statement sets out all in the assets and liabilities of the company at the period end date.
This statement also contains some statements made by the directors in respect of the accounts stating:
- The accounts have been prepared taking small company exemptions, if applicable, and that they have not been required to obtain an audit;
- The directors acknowledge there responsibilities for complying with the requirements of the Companies Act in preparing the accounts;
- The accounts have been prepared in accordance with the required accounting standard.
Notes to the Financial Statements
Following the main financial summaries are a series of notes which set out some of the detail supporting the main statements. The following is a list of the key disclosures included:
- Accounting policies – this is a series of descriptions which explain how the figures in the accounts have been calculated;
- Employee numbers – it is now an obligation to note the average number of staff working for an entity during the period.
- Intangible assets – this note will set out the key elements of the intangible assets held by the company and breaks them down in to various categories. For each category the movement between the opining position and the closing position is stated.
- Tangible fixed assets – as for Intangible assets this note states the key elements of the assets held at the period end date.
- Investments – as for Intangible assets this note states the key elements of the assets held at the period end date.
- Debtors – this note provides a more detailed breakdown of the amounts owed to the company as stated on the Statement of Financial Position.
- Creditors – this note provides a more detailed breakdown of the amounts owed by the company as stated on the Statement of Financial Position. As separate note is used for amounts due within 1 year of the period end and those due after 1 year of the period end.
- Other explanatory notes – typically other notes include transactions with Directors, Related Party transactions or explanations regarding changes to the previous reported figures or even details regarding exceptional items in the accounts.
All of the notes and disclosures contained within the full year-end accounts will appear in the accounts filed with Companies House with the exception of two statements.
Before filing the accounts the directors are allowed to remove the Directors’ Report and the Income Statement. All other notes, comments, figures and disclosures will appear for the public to view.
As a result of this there is a real danger that commercially sensitive information will appear in the public domain and could harm the progress of the business.
How we can help?
Our teams of qualified professional Accountants and Advisors ensure that while preparing small company accounts all relevant disclosures are made as required by the relevant accounting standards and under Company Law.
We also ensure that any unnecessary or commercially sensitive disclosures are either kept to a minimum or discussed and understood so that we can advise on the possible implications for the entity, the directors and owners.
Ensuring that the year-end accounts are prepared in the best possible way for the directors can greatly assist the business owners in achieving their long term goals and aspirations, which is also our aim.