Accounting and Audit Exemptions For Small Companies in the UK

To qualify for being able to file shortened accounts a small company should satisfy at least two of three conditions. The three exemption conditions prior to April 2008 were that annual turnover is less than 5.6 million pounds, balance sheet total is less than 2.8 million pounds and the average number of employees is less than 50.

Where the financial year started after April 2008 the parameters increased to, annual turnover less than 6.5 million pounds, balance sheet total less than 3.26 million pounds and average number of employees less than 50.

Medium sized companies may also submit abbreviated accounts and the parameters to be classified as a medium sized company are significantly higher than those for a small company. For example for financial years starting from April 2008 two of the three qualifying conditions for a medium sized company to be satisfied were increased to sales turnover of under 25.9 million pounds, balance sheet total under 12.9 million pounds and average number of employees less than 250.

When a small company satisfies the audit exemption parameters it can maintain that audit exemption for a full financial year afterwards even if the parameters were exceed in that following financial year.

There are benefits in submitting abbreviated accounts as simpler and easier accounting records can be maintained reducing time spent on accountancy work. In addition although potential suppliers and financial institutions may require details of the year end financial accounts it is acceptable not to publish full details.

The main differences that can be produced under the banner of abbreviated accounts basically mean that a small company does not have to include a full balance sheet, profit and loss account or directors report which would normally be required by Companies House.

The small company is still required to submit a shortened balance sheet together with notes that explain the year end balances shown in the balance sheet. Under the audit exemption rules the year end accounts for a small company do not have to include an auditors report. When an auditor has prepared the accounts and submits a special audit report that report should state that in the auditors opinion the abbreviated accounts are being submitted in accordance with the appropriate section of the Companies Act.

Small companies must include a statement in the balance sheet that the year end accounts have been prepared in accordance with the special provisions contained in Part V11 of the Companies Act 1985. For financial periods starting after 5 April 2008 the accounts must be prepared in accordance with the Companies Act 2006 and include a statement that the special provisions applicable to small companies have been adopted

The statements to accompany the balance sheet of a small company submitting abbreviated audit exempt accounts are that:

The company was entitled to audit exemption for the financial year under the relevant section of the Companies Act 2006.

The shareholders have not required the company to obtain an audit.

The company directors acknowledge their responsibility for preparing accounts that comply with section 221 of the Companies Act 2006.

The company directors acknowledge their responsibility for preparing accounts which give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the company and the profit and loss for the year.

The accounts have been prepared in accordance with the special provisions of the Companies Act relating to small companies

The rules on audit exemption apply not only to the year end accounts supplied to companies house but also those supplied to HMRC. This enables the small company to submit the short version of the corporation tax return, CT600, with the abbreviated accounts for tax purposes

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