If you’re a company owner or director, you’ll be familiar with filing accounts at Companies House. Whether a company is trading or not, you need to submit an accurate set of accounts for each accounting period. Currently, over 4 million sets of accounts are filed each year. While the majority of these are submitted digitally, a number of firms still prefer to file paper copies. However, changes to the law will mean submitting paper accounts will soon not be an option.

How do companies currently file accounts?

Most companies use software for filing accounts at Companies House. Some of these software packages are designed exclusively for filing company documents. Others are cloud accounting software platforms such as Xero or FreeAgent. These have built-in functionality that allows you to file documents with Companies House. You can find a full list of compatible software here.

Smaller numbers of companies use the WebFiling service from Companies House. Once you have set up account, you can file documents using your web browser. A similar service is provided in conjunction with HMRC. Called Company Accounts and Tax Online, this service allows you to file your company tax return and accounts at the same time (if they’re for the same accounting period).

Finally, the smallest number of companies still rely on filing paper accounts. Currently this is still allowable.

Why the changes to filing accounts at Companies House?

The changes to filing options will come about because of the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill. This should pass into law during 2023.

When this legislation is implemented, Companies House expects to get the power to specify exactly how companies file their accounts. The organisation has made it very clear that it wants all companies to use software rather than paper or the two online services. It is currently working to find solutions for filing more complex accounts, which can only be done on paper at the moment.

According to Companies House, there are many good reasons for switching to software filing. It’s not only cost-effective, but it’s also secure, transparent and traceable. It should also make the data easier to access, search and analyse. Indeed, more than 65% of companies are already using approved software.

What do I need to do when I next file my accounts?

The systems for filing accounts will not change until the Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill becomes law. After it has, Companies House will roll out software-only filing in stages. We will keep you updated via our blog.

However, if you currently file your own company’s accounts, you may want to make the move to software filing. The easiest way to do this is by using cloud accounting software. If you haven’t already made the switch to cloud accounting, please do get in touch. If you are a THP customer, we may be able provide you with free access to FreeAgent (for small firms) or Hammock (for landlords).

Of course, if we currently file your company accounts on your behalf, we will always file them in a way approved by Companies House, both now and after the upcoming changes.

Need further advice on any of the topics being discussed? Get in touch and see how we can help.

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    About Mark Ingle

    Owner-manager business specialist, Mark Ingle is key to building relationships with clients at the Chelmsford office. “I like to see clients enterprises grow and succeed.” Mark explains, “The team here has a lot to offer and I can see a lot of new businesses responding to that.”

    Having worked for accountancy practices in London and Essex, Mark has worked with a range of companies varying in size. For Mark, THP stands out for its “local firm approach with the resources of a larger practice.”

    Although a keen traveller, Mark is focused on giving his clients at THP the highest service, “Right now, I aim to help the clients we have to the best of my ability which will help me attract more of the right clients in the future.”

    Mark’s specialist skills:

    • Annual and Management Accounts
    • Tax and VAT
    • Strategy and Business Planning
    • Marketing and Sales
    • Business Development
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