What Are Statutory Accounts? An Accountant’s Guide

What Are Statutory Accounts? An Accountant’s Guide

Statutory accounts are fundamental in financial reporting and offer an extensive summary of a company’s overall financial position and performance. This article focuses on various aspects of statutory accounts, such as the company’s information, a balance sheet, a profit and loss account, and more.

It is important to be familiar with statutory accounts to meet legal obligations and promote openness with all stakeholders. This article aims to explain the significance and complexities of statutory accounts to every accountant or businessperson, whether an experienced one or confronted with financial responsibilities.


What are statutory accounts?

Statutory accounts, also referred to as annual financial statements, represent a formal presentation of financial reports drafted by a company at the end of every financial year. The main characteristic of the accounts is that they are obligatory and regulated by law, implying that they should follow the established accounting requirements and standards in a specific jurisdiction.

In essence, statutory accounts should accurately present the financial situation, performance, and flows of a company. Typically, the accounts comprise a balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and cash flow statement, including notes to the accounts. The reports are a significant tool for shareholders, investors, and creditors to assess the financial soundness of an organisation. They help to maintain decision-making based on company credibility and provide proof of compliance with regulation.


Components of statutory accounts


Company information


Company information is one of the most critical elements of statutory accounts as it contains vital information about the company’s identity and composition. The section usually consists of the company’s name, registration number, registered office address, information about the directors and the company secretary.

Moreover, the information may contain the business activities of the entity, its legal form, and its subsidiaries and other related companies. Company information is a key point of reference for stakeholders, and it helps them identify and understand the business based on financial reports.

Transparent and accurate company information contributes to the integrity of the company and compliance with legal requirements, building trust and credibility with investors, regulators, and other stakeholders.

Directors report


A directors’ report reflects the company’s performance, its strategies, and the future. Generally, the section is prepared by the directors and includes a brief description of the company’s activities, circumstances, and performance during the financial year.

Other key aspects to include are market conditions, business balance, risks and opportunities, and other components affecting business. Moreover, it may also comprise aspects relating to corporate governance, social and environmental policies, matters about employees, and others.

A directors’ report is instrumental because it accompanies financial statements and presents a complete picture of the company’s performance and opportunities. It also reflects the company’s transparency and accountability to shareholders and investors.


Balance sheet

The third element of the statutory accounts is the balance sheet, which depicts the company’s position with everything it owns and everything it owes at a particular date. It is made up of assets, liabilities, and equity.

Assets include all the company’s possessions and what it is owed, including cash, property, and trade receivables. Liabilities stand for legal and moral obligations such as borrowings and trade payables. Equity is the remaining value to the company owners, and it is calculated as the difference between the assets and liabilities.

The balance sheet primarily offers crucial cues regarding the company’s short-term and long-term environmental health as well as the stakeholders, including investors, lenders, and management, on the operations’ sustainability and what to expect.

Balance sheet


Profit and loss statement

The profit and loss, also known as the income statement, is an essential section of statutory accounts outlining the company’s financial performance within a specific time frame. More specifically, it identifies revenues generated and expenses incurred in the defined accounting period, leading to a statement of the net profit or loss.

Common sources of revenue identified in the P&L include sales, service income, and interest earned. Meanwhile, expenditures are generally summarised as the costs of goods sold, tax, and operating expenses.

Analysis of the profit and loss statement will offer information about revenue-generating activities and cost management activities, enabling stakeholders to refer to profitability, performance changes, and the organisation’s overall financial position.


Cash flow statement

The cash flow statement is a vital part of the statutory accounts and reveals a comprehensive review of a company’s cash inflows and outflows over a specific time period. It classifies cash flows into three primary categories: operating activities, investing activities, and financing activities.

The first category reflects cash flows in a company’s core business operations, including sales and suppliers’ payments. The second category defines cash flows from purchasing and selling assets. The third one reveals transactions or deals with creditors and shareholders, such as borrowing or issuing stock.

Therefore, the cash flow statement helps to understand a company’s liquidity and financial flexibility, as well as the capacity to generate cash required to pay off its debts and make investments.


Notes to the accounts

Notes to the accounts, sometimes called footnotes, are an essential component of statutory accounts that supplement the financial statements by providing extra background, narrative and disclosures. They include comprehensive explanations concerning the accounting policies, procedures and assumptions employed in the production of financial statements.

Additionally, the notes also touch on the accounting determinations and potential charges or liabilities that have not been adequately disclosed in the principal financial statements. Essentially, the notes to the accounts help readers and users navigate the economic numbers, ascertain the company’s financial position, and comprehend the risks and uncertainties involved.

The availability of this information facilitates transparency and regulatory compliance through adherence to the accounting standards, among others.


Importance of statutory accounts


Compliance with legal and regulatory requirements

Statutory accounts are a critical step toward fulfilling companies’ legal obligations articulated by regulators. In maintaining and submitting such accounts as provided and on schedule, businesses show their intentions to operate with openness and responsibility. Conformance also removes the probability of fines, penalties, or felony actions and also prevents the entity’s standing and reputation among stakeholders and regulators.

Furthermore, maintaining statutory accounting provisions also promotes investor, creditor, and stakeholder confidence, therefore promoting the company’s credence and credibility in its accounting operations and fiscal accountability policies.


Providing transparency and accountability to shareholders, investors, and creditors

Statutory accounts represent the foundation of financial transparency and show the stakeholders the full picture of the company’s financial performance and financial state, which allows businesses to gain the investors’, creditors’, and shareholders’ confidence. 

The transparent system of reporting allows individuals and organisations to make informed decisions regarding investing money, lending, or entering business relationships with the company, which builds confidence and a high reputation.

Additionally, statutory accounts provide a mechanism of accountability where management and its directors are controlled and monitored to ensure that they remain in shareholders’ best interests and perform their fiduciary duties effectively.


When do statutory accounts need to be filed?

Statutory accounts should be filed annually in the United Kingdom with the appropriate regulatory body, Companies House, in the ninth month following the end of the fiscal year for private limited companies and the sixth month following the end of the fiscal year for public limited companies.

The end of the fiscal year is usually the date of the company’s creation. However, it may be adjusted at any moment to any other date chosen by the company’s directors. The time limits for submission are strict, and statutory accounts not submitted on time may be penalised, fines levied, or taken to court. It is critical to submit documents on time to stay within the boundaries of UK law and state.


What is the difference between statutory accounts and management accounts?

Statutory accounts and management accounts are two important financial statements for different purposes and audiences. Statutory accounts are obligatory annual financial statements and must be prepared in compliance with the accounting standards set by the law. These accounts are used to present the company’s financial position, performance, and cash flow in a formal way to external stakeholders, such as shareholders, creditors, and regulators.

In comparison, management accounts are prepared regularly, usually monthly or quarterly, to deliver financial information to internal management promptly. Unlike statutory accounts that present historical performance, management accounts are future-oriented and flexible to meet the specific requirements of management for planning and controlling purposes.

difference between statutory accounts and management accounts


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