As a limited company owner, do I have a choice about the type of accounts I can prepare?
In a word, yes.
And what’s more, here’s why it matters!
Privacy online and Companies House
Privacy is very much one of the key reasons this choice is so important. As an owner of a limited company you have to submit accounts to Companies House, and these are visible to the general public via an online database. (More on this in our recent blog).
Four types of company accounts you can file
Accounts filed at Companies House will generally be one of four distinct types:
1. Dormant Accounts
These are accounts for a company that either:
- hasn’t started trading yet
- has traded before and is “taking a break”.
Dormant accounts therefore don’t contain any detail. All they will show is that the company wasn’t trading during?? the period of those filed accounts.
2. Full Accounts
These are generally only filed by larger companies and PLCs such as BT Group PLC. These companies do not have a choice – they have to file full accounts. These full accounts will usually include a Balance Sheet which shows the overall financial position of the business, and a Profit and Loss report that details the income and expenses.
If like most limited company owners you would rather not show your company’s income, expenses and profit, you can choose to file one of the two types below.
3. Micro-entity Accounts
Very small companies will submit Micro accounts if they are allowed to do so. Micro-entity accounts have very little detail in the Balance Sheet and do not contain a Profit and Loss report. There are generally less complex to compile and give less information if you are concerned about security.
The flipside is that the same lack of detail may scupper any application for financing. If you’re looking to set up some lending, credit accounts with suppliers, or attract investments, those organisations and businesses won’t be able to see sufficient information to base a decision on.
4. Filleted Accounts
Formally known as ‘Abbreviated’ accounts, these are similar to full accounts but have no Profit and Loss report. So, again, much of the nitty gritty detail is hidden. However, they do contain more information than the Micro Entity accounts, a good thing if you want to reveal your finances to investors, for example.
For many small businesses, it is common to prepare ‘filleted’ accounts as a good middle ground.
Which should I choose?
It’s really is about achieving a balance between financial information security and giving enough information to other parties who may need to see some financials as you grow. How you prepare your returns and accounts is a key decision in getting the balance of this information correct.
How your accountant can help
Talk to your accountant about achieving that balance. You might also save yourself a lot of time and trouble if you only need to prepare micro accounts rather than full accounts, for example.
If you don’t have an accountant or think that your current accountant doesn’t quite “get” this stuff, feel free to contact us. We’re always happy to chat about how we can help.