What is an accounting reference date?


Afternoon. I need to know about limited company accounting. Everything seems to revolve around a company’s accounting reference date. I have never heard this term before. Could someone please provide me with a concise definition to help me along my way?



An accounting reference date, often abbreviated as ‘ARD’, is the that date that signifies the end of your company’s financial year. The ARD is usually the anniversary of the last day of the month of company formation. After the first year of trading, the ARD will fall on the same date unless you shorten or extend your financial year.

So, for example, if you registered a company on 1st December 2015, your ARD would be 31st December 2016. This date would be the end of your company’s financial year and it is the date that your annual accounts must be made up to.

Companies House will confirm your ARD shortly after incorporation and you will receive a reminder when your accounts are due to be filed. If you register for WebFiling you will be able to view your ARD and other important filing dates online and sign up for eReminders. Companies House will then send you an email reminder when your company is due to deliver annual accounts and annual returns.

Your company’s first annual accounts should be filed at Companies House within 21 months of incorporation. After the first year, your accounts should be delivered no later than 9 months after the ARD. Click here for guidance on preparing and filing annual accounts.

a year ago

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