As we discussed in our last blog post, the requirements around a limited company do not end once the company has been formed. As well as having the company’s statutory registers it is essential to keep a range of other documents up to date. Some of the documents which a company has to keep up to date need to be sent off to Companies House. Other documents just need to be kept by the company. Failure to keep either sort of document up to date can lead to automatic fines, your company being dissolved, more fines and prosecution.
Companies House, who monitor whether companies are keeping their documents up to date, talk about the ‘life of a company’. The formation of a company is it’s birth. The company must then be looked after up until its death, if and when that comes. Some company documents need to be updated every year while others are ‘events driven’.
In this blog post we will be focussing on the annual requirements that all companies have to fulfil.
Annual Return – The Annual Return has to be sent to Companies House. It gives details of the company’s structure including who the shareholder and directors are, what the registered company address is and if any shares have been traded. Companies House will normally end a reminder letter to your registered company address when this is due. If an annual return is not filed on time they will assume your company no longer exists and dissolve it.
Internal Company Accounts – All companies must keep basic accounting records showing incomings and outgoings, assets and liabilities. Where applicable it should also include a record of all stock bought and sold and the value of the stock held (stock take). These records have to be available for the company’s officers to look at whenever they like. In addition to these ongoing accounts annual accounts need to be prepared. These accounts need to be signed by a company director and by an independent auditor (unless you have an audit exemption). Copies of these accounts need to be sent to all company shareholders and directors. You may also need to send them to some people that you company owes money to.
Companies House Accounts – Virtually all companies have to file annual accounts with Companies House. The requirements for these accounts are very similar to the annual accounts required for your company shareholders and directors. In most cases the same accounts can be filed. These accounts will be publically available to anyone who wants them through Companies House and are often used by suppliers and potential clients as part of their credit checking process.
The dates when these documents need to be prepared will be determined by your company’s Accounting Reference Date. This is normally the last day of the month in which your company’s anniversary falls. Ensuring that all of your documentation is completed on time is essential not only if you want to keep your business active but also if you want to avoid getting prosecuted.
If you have any queries about when your paperwork is due or how to fill it out get in touch with our legal and accountancy teams and they will be able to help you out.