The Big Question – Statutory accounts too dear

More than one in three finance directors believe statutory accounts are not worth the cost of producing them.

The findings of this week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Accountancy Personnel The Big Question come ahead of the next phase in the government’s company law review. Last week, the steering committee suggested rewriting company law from a small business perspective.

Of the 200 FDs questioned, a sizeable 37% believed statutory accounts were a waste of time for small companies.

One of the main objections was the cost of preparing statutory accounts.

Bill Blyde, FD of BH Incineration, said: ‘They are very time consuming and the biggest cost is audit fees. The cost outweighs the benefits.’

Stephen Flowitt-Hill, of Kingdom Housing Association, added: ‘Little reliance is placed on statutory accounts of small companies by new lenders.

They are a window-dressing exercise.’

More than 50% of FDs, however, defended the role of statutory accounts in small business. ‘Statutory accounts shouldn’t entail much more work once company accounts have been done. Audit shouldn’t be expensive either,’ said Philip Newton Webb, of Premier Structures, the steel fabricator.

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