Financial year

A company's financial year is determined by its accounting reference date in each calendar year.

First accounting reference date

A company's first accounting reference period is the period of more than six months, but not more than 18 months, beginning with the date of its incorporation and ending with its accounting reference date.

Alteration of accounting reference date

A company may give notice to the registrar to specify a new accounting reference date with regard to the company's current accounting reference period and subsequent periods, or the company's previous accounting reference period and subsequent periods. The notice must state whether the current or previous accounting reference period is to be shortened or extended. A notice extending a company's current or previous accounting reference period is not effective if given less than five years after the end of an earlier accounting reference period of the company that was extended. The accounting period cannot be extended to exceed 18 months.

The directors of a company must not approve accounts unless they are satisfied that they give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and profit or loss. The auditor of a company in carrying out his functions in relation to the company's annual accounts must have regard to the directors' duty in this regard.

View our online calculators >

We have a range of calculators to help you to check and plan your finances

Read our limited companies guide >

It’s totally free, and gives you advice and guidance around setting up as a contractor or freelancer.