The first half of the year is, for many entities, a particularly busy period due to the need to close the previous financial year. Above all this requires preparation of the financial statements and their submission for review by an auditor.
Article 52.1 stipulates that it is the responsibility of each company manager to prepare an annual report within a period of no longer than 3 months from the balance sheet date. This means that in companies in which the financial year coincides with the calendar year, this requirement should be fulfilled not later than by March 31 of the next financial year.
In light of the above regulation, the manager of a company must present a report to the competent authorities, that is prepared in accordance with the applicable legal regulations, statute or contract. As a result such manager is also obliged to present the financial statements prepared by the statutory deadline to a certified auditor for the purpose of their auditing. This requirement is set out in art. 64.1 of the Accounting Act, which states that entities subject to the audit obligation may not approve a report before the certified auditor issues an opinion.
However, during the audit of the financial statements, events may be identified that create the need to correct the document. This situation is dealt with in art. 54.1 of the Accounting Act, which additionally provides for the obligation to make appropriate entries in the accounting books for the given financial year. Consequently, this means that the manager of the entity is obliged to create a so-called the second version of the report.
From the above mentioned Act it follows that the financial statements are signed by the manager of the entity and the person responsible for keeping the accounting books. If the management body consists of several persons, each of them is required to sign - unless there is a written justification issued in accordance with the Act, which is attached to the report. It is important that next to the signature under the report there must be a record of the date of its submission – the same date must be placed on all its elements.
What if, after the preparation of the financial statements but before their approval, information that has a significant impact on the content of the document is discovered? One reason for the need to change the financial statements may be the detection of errors by the entity (in which case according to Article 54.1 it should notify the statutory auditor) or such need may result from the instructions given by the auditor himself. What date should be placed on the document in this case?
According to the above mentioned provisions, the second version of the financial statements, which refers to the auditor's recommendations, should be prepared during the audit. Therefore, the second revised version of the document should have a date from the period during which the audit of the financial statements was carried out. On the other hand, the date of the opinion, which at the same time is the date of the end of the audit, can not be earlier than the one appearing on the report.
For example, if the audit was carried out from May 1 to May 11, 2018, the second version of the document, including the auditor's comments, must have a date from that period, but closer to the end date of the audit, e.g. May 9, 2018. The justification for this is the fact that the second version of the report, containing all the auditor's comments, could not be drawn up before the start of the audit or at the very beginning of the audit.
Finally, the prepared and signed report should be submitted to the appropriate authority for approval. The deadline for approval of the document is six months after the balance sheet date.return