The move, designed to improve the transparency of information while retaining practicality for private companies, was announced this morning at the Department of Trade and Industry.
Patricia Hewitt, secretary of state at the department, said: ‘Present law fails to recognise the realities of the vast majority of small companies, or respond to their needs. These proposals will help cut costs and red tape for small businesses.’
It was almost a given that the deadline for filing accounts would be shortened, the only question being to what extent. There has been much debate in all quarters, not least at the ICAEW’s council meeting, where representatives of sole and small practitioners attempted to revoke support for shortening the timescales.
Supporters, however, won out. A press release issued in February this year said: ‘The institute’s council supports the proposed reduction in the filing deadline for small companies to seven months, provided that it is phased in. This will afford smaller firms and their clients time to make the changes that will arise from the reduced deadline.’
Danielle Stewart, partner at Warrener Stewart, dismissed any resistance to these changes as futile and anti-change. ‘I’m certain my firm can work to these deadlines,’ she said. ‘We were using the quill pen when the law was written. This is an opportunity for accountants to show how useful we can be.’
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