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Late report numbers rise

1 Dec 08

British companies are struggling to meet deadlines for filing accounts to Companies House

Late filings increased by 25 per cent in the four years to the end of March 2008. This has been specially marked in the past two years, both of which saw late filings rise almost 10 per cent.

A total of 238,699 British companies filed their accounts late last year.

Late filing can be a trigger for banks to cut credit lines and for credit insurers to raise rates.

Tim Smith, head of trade credit at insurance brokers Marsh, said: “Some companies think if they don’t file bad news, nobody will know. That may have been the situation last year, but because of the current unpredictability that is no longer good enough for underwriters.”

Many companies appear to be struggling to guarantee their status as a going concern. “Companies are having to work harder to show they have sufficient cash and sources of funding to stay within their facilities and covenants,” said Richard Bennison, head of UK audit at accountants KPMG.

Bennison also accused many companies of not realising the importance of prompt filing and said they often left it too late before beginning to prepare the accounts.

Companies House has had a 30 per cent rise in revenues from fines for late filings over the past four years and last year raised more than £53m. The money goes to the Treasury.

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Companies House | accounts | late filing | Fabrice Desnos

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