Company year end can be changed
DP writes: I am planning to invest in a growing company, but the investment is dependent on me seeing audited accounts confirming the company’s recent growth in turnover, without which I would not want to invest. The company wants my investment but is not due to have its accounts audited until after its year end of June 2012, so any audit for the purposes of my investment is considered to be an additional cost. Could this delay and duplicate audit be avoided if the company changes its year end?
You are using the company’s own audit as part of your due diligence on the company, but this does not fit with the investment timetable, writes Jon Sutcliffe, partner at Kingston Smith LLP.
It is easy to change the company year end, although there are some restrictions if you want to extend an accounting period beyond 12 months up to the maximum period of 18 months.
There are no restrictions if you wish to shorten an accounting period, and there are also no restrictions on how often the period is shortened or by how much. Therefore, the accounting period could be shortened to end in say, March 2012, allowing the audit to be started immediately. This will bring forward the June audit by only three months, as opposed to incurring two audits.
The company should balance the cost of an additional audit with the commercial factors in choosing an appropriate year end, and the benefits (or otherwise) of making its accounts public sooner.
Any change of accounting reference date must be made before the accounts filing deadline for the existing or new accounting period. The change is done by using the Companies House form AA01, which can be found on its website.