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how to file company accounts

In the United Kingdom, it is a legal requirement for registered companies to file their annual accounts with the relevant authorities. Properly filing company accounts is essential for maintaining compliance and transparency in business operations. This article will guide you through the process of filing company accounts in the UK, ensuring that you fulfil your obligations as a business entity.

Can I Do My Own Accounts for a Limited Company in the UK?

Yes, as the director of a limited company in the UK, you can do your own accounts. However, it is important to ensure that you have a good understanding of accounting principles and comply with the relevant regulations. Seeking professional help is also an option to ensure accuracy and compliance.

Understanding the Accounting Period

The accounting period is the time frame for which your company's financial statements are prepared. It typically covers 12 months and can start on any date. To determine the accounting period, consider factors such as business operations, reporting requirements, and tax implications. Ensure that your accounting period remains consistent from year to year, unless there are valid reasons for changing it.

Who Needs to File Company Accounts?

In the UK, all registered companies, including limited companies, must file company accounts. This requirement applies to both private and public limited companies, regardless of their size or activity. Filing company accounts is necessary to maintain transparency, comply with financial regulations, and demonstrate the financial health of the company.

Types of Company Accounts in UK

In the UK, the two primary types of company accounts are:

  1. Sole Trader Accounts

  2. Partnership Accounts

  3. Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) Accounts

  4. Private Limited Company Accounts

  5. Public Limited Company Accounts

  6. Community Interest Company (CIC) Accounts

1) Sole Trader Accounts

A sole trader account is the simplest form of company account and is suitable for individuals running a business on their own. In this structure, the business and the owner are considered one legal entity. Sole traders have unlimited liability, which means that the owner is personally responsible for all debts and obligations of the business. Typically, sole trader accounts encompass income and expenses related to the business, allowing for a clear distinction between personal and business finances.

2) Partnership Accounts

Partnership accounts are used when two or more individuals collaborate to run a business. These partners share the responsibility of managing the company and its financial affairs. There are two primary types of partnerships: general partnerships, where each partner has unlimited liability, and limited partnerships, where some partners have limited liability. In general partnership accounts, all partners report their share of profits and losses in their personal tax returns.

3) Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) Accounts

An LLP is a hybrid structure that combines features of partnerships and limited companies. In an LLP, partners have limited liability, protecting their personal assets from the business's debts and obligations. LLP accounts typically include a profit and loss statement and a balance sheet, outlining the financial position and performance of the LLP.

4) Private Limited Company Accounts

Private Limited Companies (Ltd) are separate legal entities from their owners. This structure provides limited liability to shareholders, ensuring that their personal assets remain protected. Ltd company accounts must adhere to statutory regulations and present an accurate financial picture of the company's activities, including its income, expenses, assets, and liabilities.

5) Public Limited Company Accounts

Public Limited Companies (PLCs) are larger entities that can offer shares to the public and have their stocks traded on the stock exchange. Consequently, PLCs have stricter reporting requirements than private limited companies. PLC accounts must comply with various financial standards and regulations and include detailed disclosures about the company's financial performance.

6) Community Interest Company (CIC) Accounts

A Community Interest Company (CIC) is a special type of company that operates for the benefit of the community rather than individual shareholders. CICs have specific asset locks and distribution caps to ensure that profits are reinvested in the community. The accounts of a CIC should reflect its commitment to its social mission and the impact it has on the community.

Choosing the Right Accounting Method

There are two main accounting methods: accrual accounting and cash accounting. Accrual accounting records transactions when they occur, regardless of when the cash is received or paid. Cash accounting, on the other hand, records transactions when the cash is received or paid. Choose the method that best suits your business and complies with accounting standards.

Gathering Financial Information

To ensure accurate and complete company accounts, gather all relevant financial information. This includes invoices, receipts, bank statements, payroll records, and any other documentation related to your business's financial transactions. Review and organize this information, ensuring that it is clear, well-documented, and supports your financial statements.

Filing Deadlines and Penalties

The deadline for filing company accounts varies depending on the type and size of your company. Generally, private limited companies have nine months from the end of their accounting period to file their accounts. Public limited companies have six months. It is essential to adhere to these deadlines, as late filing may result in penalties, reputational damage, and potential legal consequences.

Making Adjustments and Corrections

If you discover errors or omissions in your filed accounts, you can make adjustments or corrections. This can be done by submitting amended accounts to Companies House. However, it is crucial to rectify any mistakes promptly and communicate the changes effectively to relevant stakeholders.

Seeking Professional Help

Filing company accounts can be complex, especially for businesses with intricate financial transactions or special circumstances. Consider seeking professional help from accountantsbookkeeping, or tax advisors who specialize in UK company accounts. Their expertise can ensure compliance, minimize errors, and provide valuable guidance throughout the process.

Keeping Financial Records

Maintaining accurate financial records is essential for filing company accounts in the UK. Keep organized records of all financial transactions, invoices, receipts, and bank statements. Use appropriate accounting software or systems to streamline the record-keeping process. Regularly review and reconcile your financial records to ensure accuracy.

When You Need to File Your Accounts

In the UK, the filing deadline for company accounts depends on the type and size of the company. Here are the general guidelines for when you need to file your accounts:

  1. Private Limited Company (Ltd) and Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

  2. Public Limited Company (PLC)

1) Private Limited Company (Ltd) and Limited Liability Partnership (LLP)

For private limited companies and LLPs, the deadline for filing accounts with Companies House is usually nine months after the end of the company's accounting period. The accounting period is typically the same as the financial year of the company, which is stated in the company's Articles of Association or chosen during incorporation.

2) Public Limited Company (PLC)

Public limited companies have a shorter filing deadline compared to private limited companies. PLCs must file their accounts with Companies House within six months after the end of their accounting period.

It's important to note that the accounting period can be any duration, but it should not exceed 18 months for private companies and 9 months for public companies. However, most companies choose a standard 12-month accounting period.

Companies House allows companies to file their accounts early, but it's essential to adhere to the deadlines to avoid penalties and potential legal consequences. Failure to submit accounts on time may lead to financial penalties, the company being struck off the register, or the company directors being prosecuted.

For accurate and up-to-date information on filing deadlines and regulations, it's advisable to consult Companies House or seek professional advice from an accountant or company secretary. Staying compliant with filing deadlines ensures that the company maintains its legal status and upholds transparency in financial reporting.

Are There Penalties for Filing Late?

Yes, there are penalties for filing company accounts late in the UK. Companies that fail to submit their accounts on time may face financial consequences and potential legal actions. The penalties vary depending on the length of the delay and the type of company. Here are the common penalties for late filing:

Delay in Filing

Private Limited Companies (Ltd) & Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs)

Public Limited Companies (PLCs)

Up to 1 month



1 to 3 months



3 to 6 months



Over 6 months

£1,500 (doubled for second late filing)

£7,500 (doubled for second late filing)

Automatic Prosecution*

Fines up to £5,000

Fines up to £7,500

Removal from the Register*

Company may be removed from the register, and its assets could be transferred to the Crown as bona vacantia

Company may be removed from the register, and its assets could be transferred to the Crown as bona vacantia

It's important to emphasize that these penalties are subject to change, and companies should always refer to the latest guidance and regulations from Companies House or seek professional advice to ensure compliance with filing deadlines and avoid any adverse consequences.

Is It Best to Ask an Accountant to Compile My Accounts?

Yes, it is often advisable to ask an accountant to compile your accounts in the UK, especially if you run a company or have complex financial affairs. Here are some reasons why hiring an accountant can be beneficial:

  1. Expertise and Knowledge

  2. Time-Saving

  3. Tax Efficiency

  4. Financial Analysis

  5. Compliance and Avoiding Penalties

  6. Financial Planning

  7. Peace of Mind

1) Expertise and Knowledge

Accountants are trained professionals with in-depth knowledge of accounting principles, tax regulations, and financial reporting standards. They can ensure that your accounts are prepared accurately and in compliance with the relevant laws and regulations.

2) Time-Saving

Managing your company's accounts can be time-consuming, especially if you are not familiar with accounting practices. By hiring an accountant, you can focus on other aspects of your business, knowing that your financial records are being taken care of efficiently.

3) Tax Efficiency

Accountants can help you optimize your tax position by identifying deductions, credits, and allowances that you may be eligible for. They can also ensure that your tax returns are submitted correctly and on time, reducing the risk of penalties for late or incorrect filing.

4) Financial Analysis

Accountants can provide valuable insights into your company's financial health and performance. They can analyze your financial statements and help you make informed decisions to improve profitability and achieve your business objectives.

5) Compliance and Avoiding Penalties

Accountants are well-versed in the ever-changing rules and regulations related to accounting and tax. They can ensure that your accounts are filed on time and in accordance with the latest requirements, helping you avoid penalties and legal issues.

6) Financial Planning

Accountants can assist you in creating a strategic financial plan for your business, including budgeting, forecasting, and cash flow management. This can be crucial for the long-term success and stability of your company.

7) Peace of Mind

Knowing that your accounts are in the hands of a qualified professional can give you peace of mind, allowing you to focus on growing your business and pursuing your goals.

Why FCCA Accounts & Tax LTD is helpful to File Companies?

FCCA Accounts & Tax LTD provides comprehensive support in terms of accounting, taxation, and financial management, which can greatly simplify the process of filing a company in the UK and ensure compliance with relevant legal and regulatory requirements.
FCCA Accounts take care of your accounting and tax needs, so you can focus on what you do best. From Accounts and VAT Returns to Bookkeeping, PayrollCIS Return, our comprehensive services are designed to meet the unique requirements of businesses like yours. Trust our qualified professionals to handle your financial matters with precision and integrity. Explore the possibilities with FCC Accounts.


Filing company accounts in the UK is a legal requirement for registered businesses. By following the outlined steps, you can successfully meet your obligations and maintain compliance with financial regulations. Remember to file your accounts within the specified deadlines and seek professional assistance when needed. By prioritizing accurate and timely financial reporting, you contribute to the transparency and trustworthiness of your company.


What Happens if I Fail to File Company Accounts on Time?

Late filing of company accounts may result in penalties, ranging from financial fines to the dissolution of your company. It is essential to adhere to the filing deadlines to avoid such consequences.

Can I Change the Accounting Period for My Company?

Yes, you can change the accounting period; however, there must be valid reasons for doing so. Notify Companies House about the change and ensure consistency in future accounting periods.

Are There Any Exemptions for Filing Company Accounts in the UK?

Some small companies may be eligible for exemptions, such as abbreviated accounts or exemptions from audit requirements. Check the Companies House guidelines to determine if your company qualifies.

Can I File Company Accounts Using Paper Forms Instead of Online Submission?

While online submission is encouraged, you can still file paper forms for company accounts. However, the online filing process is more convenient, efficient, and secure.

How Often Do I Need to File Company Accounts in the UK?

Company accounts must be filed annually. The filing frequency remains the same, regardless of the company's size or type.

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