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Back to FAQAccounting Reference Dates

What are Accounting Reference Dates?

This is usually a 12-month period for which you prepare accounts.  Every company must prepare accounts that report on the company’s performance and activities during the financial year. The financial year starts on the day after the previous financial year ended or, in the case of a new company, on the day of incorporation. Financial years are determined by reference to an accounting reference period.

For all new companies, the first accounting reference date is the first anniversary of the last day in the month in which the company was incorporated. The subsequent accounting reference dates will automatically be on the same date each year. For example, if the company was incorporated on 6 April 2008 its first accounting reference date would be 30 April 2009 and 30 April for every year thereafter. This date can be changed by filing the form AA01 and sending it to Companies House BEFORE your accounts are due.

Preparing and filing accounts

There are deadlines by which accounts must be prepared and delivered to Companies House. If you miss the deadline, Companies House will automatically issue a fine, without exception. It is important that you, your accountants and your auditors (if you have them) are aware of the filing deadline. You can find the date your accounts must be received by Companies House on their Webcheck service. Enter your company’s name or number, this will bring up all the filing dates your company must adhere to, and states the Account Reference Date and the date the accounts must be filed by.

Content of accounts

Hanover Company Services and Companies House cannot tell you how to prepare company accounts; we recommend you consult your accountant. Companies House will tell you what documents make up a set of accounts, what exemptions you may be able to take advantage of, and whether you will need to appoint an auditor.

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