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HMRC internal manual

Holding and Movements Alcohol Strategy Accounts

Accounts: What do annual accounts look like?


The complexity of a business will be reflected in its accounts, therefore a large limited company will have a more complicated set of annual accounts than a small retail business or members club.

A complete set of accounts will generally have the following sections:

  • Company information, for example, Company House detail, details key officials, of fixed assets etc.;
  • Report of directors - this section is usually signed and contains details of the principal activities, directors, share details, statement of directors responsibility and auditors;
  • Report of the independent auditors - this section outlines the responsibilities of the directors and auditors. It explains the basis of the audit opinion and should be signed by the auditors.
  • Profit and Loss account - this is simplified version of the profit and loss account;
  • Balance sheet a snap shot of the business usually at the year end, with detail of debts, assets etc.;
  • Notes to the financial statements;
  • Trading profit and loss account, a detailed version of the profit and loss account.

You also need to be aware that Accountants are not always consistent when preparing accounts. For example, carriage and packing may be included within the trading account, or as an administrative expense. Where possible, establish from the person who drew up the account what is included within each category.