The Accounting Reference Date

A company’s accounting reference date (also known as the company’s year end) is the date that a company’s financial accounts should be prepared up to.

It is not the due date for annual accounts

The accounting reference date should not be confused with a company’s annual accounts due date – which is the deadline for when the annual financial accounts should be delivered to Companies House. If you miss this deadline you could receive a penalty of up to £1500, depending on how late your company’s accounts are.

How is the accounting reference date decided?

The accounting reference date automatically falls at the end of the month that the company was incorporated in. For example, if a company was formed on January 5th, its accounting reference date would be January 31st.

Filing annual accounts

A company’s first annual accounts should cover from incorporation up until the accounting reference date, skipping the first occurrence of the date (otherwise accounts would need to be filed less than a month after incorporation). Following accounts should then cover from the accounting reference date up until the next accounting reference date.

Changing the accounting reference date

It is possible to change the accounting reference date, although there are strict rules defined by GOV.UK in regards to what you can and cannot do.