Annual return –v–
Annual accounts. Don’t get them twisted!
Posted by Joy & Co Chartered Certified Accountants on 10th October 2013
often get clients turning up in a panic asking for
help because their annual accounts are due in a matter
of days. When they produce the letter from Companies
House it turns out that it’s actually the annual
return that’s due and not the accounts. It’s
important therefore to realise the difference between
the annual return and the annual accounts.
The annual return is basically a quick snapshot describing
the state of the company and its directors at the
end of a year. It asks for general information on
the directors, i.e. their names and addresses, and
where there’s a company secretary it asks for
Other requested information includes the registered
office address, details about the shareholders and
the company’s share capital.
There is no technical knowledge required to complete
the return, it’s more a case of being thorough
The annual accounts are what most clients are more
familiar with. Typically the accounts of a small company
will comprise a director’s report, profit and
loss account, balance sheet signed by a director and
notes to the accounts.
The profit and loss account describes what the company
did during the year. How much money it pulled in,
how much it spent, what did it spend it on, did it
come out ahead, i.e. make a profit or come out behind
and make a loss.
The balance sheet gives a static picture of the position
of the company at the year end date. What are its
assets, its liabilities, how much is the company owed,
how much does the company owe. How large are its reserves
and so forth.
This is typically where the directors will hire an
accountant as there are specific rules on the valuation
of assets and liabilities and on the reporting of
income and expenditure.
So there you have it. The next time you get a demand
from Companies House for your annual return there’s
no need to panic, just fill in the information as
Of course if you really can’t be doing with
all that form filling then give Joy & Co a call
and we’ll gladly take it off your hands.