What is your financial year-end?
To find your company’s financial year-end, you need to know your company’s incorporation date. You can check the Companies Registration Office (CRO) or talk to a professional firm, like Accountant Online, for advice and guidance on your year-end accounts.
The financial year-end will depend on the accounting period of your business and it is different for all companies in Ireland. The first accounting period begins as soon as the company is incorporated and it usually ends 18 months after incorporation. This means that the first set of year-end accounts are due to be filed with the CRO 18 months after incorporation.
The second and subsequent accounting periods are every 12 months unless changed.
At the end of each financial year-end, accounts/financial statements need to be prepared and submitted to the CRO in an Annual Return. These accounts usually include a profit and loss account, balance sheet, Directors report and if required, an auditor’s report.
In this guide, we discuss the things you should check when you are approaching your financial year-end and getting ready to file your Annual Return with the CRO.
It’s important to note that each company will have a different financial year-end and if you’re unsure about when you should be filing accounts, talk to our Client Services Team – we’re here to help!
If you have an accountant, it is around your financial year-end that they will look for your reconciled bank accounts, invoices and expenses so they can complete professional financial statements for your company. This is also called your “bookkeeping records”. You can do this bookkeeping yourself or outsource to a professional firm, like us.
It’s a good time to check your salary when your financial year-end is approaching. If your personal situation has changed, for example, you’ve gotten married, this will affect your tax credits. Make sure you’re using all the credits and reliefs available to you so you can save on your tax liability.
Directors of Limited Companies are also entitled to avail of tax-free vouchers of up to €500 once a year. This may be a nice bonus for you and your colleagues whilst also saving on your tax bill. If you’re unsure about your tax situation, speaking to an accountant will help with any confusion.
It is also a great time to check if your company should contribute to a pension on your behalf.
If your accounting period end is 31 December any pension contribution you intend to pay must be paid before 31 December to get a deduction in your accounts. You can also make an employer contribution if you employ your spouse in your business. There are also great tax benefits to contributing to a pension.
Businesses can use the cost of their expenses to bring down their tax liability.
The expenses incurred must be wholly and exclusively for the purpose of the business for them to be deemed as allowable, tax-deductible business expenses.
It’s important to make sure you have good records of all your receipts and bank statements so you can clearly prove your purchases. Stationery, petrol, and accounting fees are some examples of allowable expenses. Talk to us if you are unsure about what you can claim.
If you’re VAT registered, you’ll need to check that VAT is being claimed correctly and you have been charging the correct amount of VAT.
If you’re not VAT registered, this is a good time to check your turnover for the last 12 months and update your accountant on your trading activity.
There are certain criteria that when you meet, you will need to register your company for VAT. For instance, one of the criteria is if you have reached the turnover threshold for VAT.
The two main thresholds for VAT are; €37,500 for the sale of services and €75,000 for the sale of goods over the course of 12 months. If your turnover reaches this threshold you will need to register for VAT. Your financial year-end is a good time to consider if you need to register for VAT.
5. Stock and work in progress
You should take inventory of any physical stock, goods or loose parts you are carrying.
These are important to keep a note of for your company’s balance sheet. Don’t worry if you’re not sure what to include here, our Chartered Accountants will help you determine what information they need to prepare the accounts for your company.
From time to time, your employees may incur business expenses such as business travel. Any costs your employee incurs will need to be reimbursed and then you can also claim their expense as an allowable business expense to Revenue.
It’s important that you keep the receipts for the transactions that occurred. You should also have a clear process to say that this was an employee expense and the date it was reimbursed to the employee. Consider automating your bookkeeping using accounting software, like Xero, for easy document management.
This may also be a good time to check if you need to hire employees or check the efficiency of their work.
7. Books and records
Check that you have all the correct and up to date books and records for your company before its financial year-end. If you have an accountant, they will be looking for these as early as possible to prepare your accounts.
An invoice tells your clients how much they need to pay you and the payment terms. It's important to keep records of all invoices sent because they will be recorded in your accounts as debits and credits.
Make sure that you have all your business expense receipts so you can claim them to reduce your tax bill. If you have an accountant, they will look for proof of business purchases before they calculate the total amount of expenses.
In general, all Limited Companies should have a separate bank account as you are setting up a new legal entity. Your bank will need to be reconcilied against your business transactions to ensure that the correct payments have been made.
8. Outstanding debtors and creditors
Going through your invoices and bank statements will help you note any outstanding debtors, creditors, cash on hand, and bad debts at the year-end.
If you need help preparing accounts for your company, we have a team of Chartered Accountants that will help you stay compliant with Revenue and the Companies Registration Office. Find out if how much it costs to have an accountant in Ireland.
9. Accounting software
As a new company, you may not think you need to use accounting software straight away but there are huge benefits for you and your accountant if you do use it. All your books and records can be maintained using online accounting software and you can give your accountant access to your software so they can prepare your company’s accounts.
Accounting software will save you time and money in the long run. It’ll give you more time to focus on the parts of the business you’re good at.
We are a firm of Xero certified accountants and we recommend Xero to all our clients. To learn more about how Xero can help you to save time, costs, and help you to manage your business more efficiently, talk to our team today. We’re here to help.
10. Your accountant
Finally, check in with your accountant. Your accountant will prepare your year-end accounts so use this time to ask them any questions about your business’s finances, discuss the year ahead and your plans for the future.
Working with an online accountant will ensure that your accountant is always accessible to you, proactive in their service delivery, and, has the expertise to help your business run more smoothly and efficiently in the year ahead.
If you don’t have an accountant yet, don’t worry, we are always happy to talk you through any services you may need. If you have deadlines coming up, it’s very important to get in touch with a professional as soon as possible to avoid any fines or penalties.
Can you change a financial year-end?
Company directors may wish to move their financial year-end to match a parent company or other deadlines that require financial statements, such as the Annual Return. You can change the year-end by at least 7 days and up to 12 months ahead.
Many companies choose to have a December year-end as it may be more convenient to follow the calendar year. Speak to your accountant or get in touch with our Client Services Team if you want to change your financial year-end.