A Temporary, But Welcome Change From Companies House

With many business owners and fellow directors isolated from each other during the COVID-19 pandemic, Companies House have temporarily changed the conditions for approving year end accounts ...

This is very welcome, not just by directors, but also by accountants who are experiencing practical difficulties of actually undertaking some accounts and audit work. The changes came into force on 26 June 2020 after the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 received royal assent on 25 June 2020.

Here are a some of the main changes:

1 During the period up to 5th April 2021, more time has been granted to file the accounts and the previous need to apply for the COVID-19 extension is no longer required. For example, a private company with an accounting period date of 31 December 2019 now has a filing deadline of 31st December 2020. However, we believe its good practice to file accounts earlier than this to avoid problems with credit ratings

2 Companies House have agreed to accept electronic signatures rather than 'wet' ones, presumably because directors don't have printers that work at home

3 Where the directors cannot meet in person, it is permissible for a board meeting by be conducted by electronic means such as telephone or video conferencing, unless the Company's governing articles specifically prohibit it. It's worth noting that the procedures of giving notice of an 'electronic' meeting to director must still happen and minutes of the said meeting must still be circulated to each director for approval.

4 A public company is now able to hold its annual general meeting (AGM) electronically. Normally the AGM is held within six months of the end of the financial year and if the date falls between 26 March and 30 September 2020 there are some extension provisions available.

I feel this is a very welcome move from Companies House and it certainly makes the lives of directors and business owners slightly easier for the foreseeable future.

If you feel inspired to find out more about anything I've said here, do call me on 01908 774320 or leave a comment below and I'll be in touch as soon as I can.