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31 March year ends - for majority of Ltd companies

I would be interested to read from others if they have changed their majority of client companies year end to 31st March. If so what has your experience been like?

I am thinking about doing this where appropriate.



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11th May 2012 07:51

Rod for your back

I think you would create a rod for your own back. If all of your Ltd clients had a year end of 31 March, all of their accounts would be due by 31 December. Since all sole traders and partnerships have to file by 31 January, you would put real pressure on yourself in the last quarter of the year.

One of the attractions of Ltd Co accounts is that they are spread out more evenly throughout the year and it is easier to balance workflow.

John Perry

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11th May 2012 07:56

Agreed .... but

I find my 31.03 year end people tend to spread from May to December anyway so not too much of a problem. People are creatures of habit and many times I load up last year's invoice to use a template for the current year and find that it is exactly 1 calendar year hence!

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11th May 2012 08:04


I do this for all of my client companies if possible and they are subject to tax. Some companies are property management companies and with a few other companies the director(s) don't want to change for sentimental reasons, extreme inertia or because tax isn't an issue.

As I suspect, you are doing this to align (nearly!) the tax period so you can make a more tax efficient decision on dividends.

One disadvantage is that many company accounting periods end at the same time and there is a  big workload to send out requests for information and dealing with queries. It can be seen as an advantage because you may be able to do this more efficiently by mass email. I don't subscribe to this theory because my clients provide information in different ways and I prefer to be specific about what I need from individual clients.

The biggest disadvantage is that most company clients have a deadline of 31 December and unless you are chasing clients continuously from April you will find that you may have a lot of work to do in December or you take it easy and tell the client they should have got the information to you earlier.

The advantage of bringing forward the deadline from 31 January to 31 December is that it should leave January free for partnerships, sole traders and other personal clients.


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By DMGbus
11th May 2012 08:57

One advantage (barring 5 days) - dividends reconciliation

Some clients that I deal with have several dividend payments a year, so if the FYE is not 5th April it is not a simple matter of comparing SA return figure to the accounts figure.


Next best thing to 5th April FYE in this context is 31st March, then there's just 5 days to be concerned about and start and end of FYE / tax year.


In one long-established 31 December FYE case each year I have this involves a reconciliation of dividends per accounts to dividends per tax return by the following computation:

£ x   y/e 31 Dec 2011 dividends per accounts

( y)   minus 1 Jan 11 to 5 Apr 11 dividends

£ z   add 1 Jan 12 to 5 Apr 12 dividends

------  ------------------------------------------   

£ a   Hopefully equals dividends per SA return y/e 5 Apr 2012  


Before anyone says "you can't go wrong by using the dividend vouchers", this is a naive and INCORRECT strategy.   In the case stated, one year dividend vouchers were provided, fed into the personal tax return, then when preparing the accounts I found an additional dividend payment not covered by the dividend vouchers.

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11th May 2012 11:51

March year ends
It can work well having lots of 31 March companies. The workload is spread over 9 months leaving January clear for self-assessment. This was a very good side effect of reducing the Co Hs filing deadline to 9 months. 31 December seems to be the most popular year end for audit clients (indeed all of ours) which we can do in February/March.

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12th May 2012 20:17

Completely the opposite for me!
I think that it's insane to change the year end of your company clients to 31 March.

Assuming that all of your unincorporated clients are 5 April year ends and you change all your company clients to 31 March, what are you going to do (and more importantly what are your staff when you get some) going to to do between February and April?

There are also tax implications due to pro rated AIA and accelerating the payment of tax due too - not really beneficial for the client.

I try where possible to have a nice spread of company year ends so that my team always have enough work and never have a massive surge because this causes the service level to drop.

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12th May 2012 23:49

don't knock it till you try it

(how many time do I post that?) We've only ever had 2-3 company year ends NOT 31 March.  I agree, if you let your clients delay providing you with the information then November-January can be a nightmare as you have accounts competing with tax returns.

So you make sure information arrives April-June and, unless your resources don't match the work load, you have a good period to plan in and do all the work in good time.

dbowleracca - you ask what do you do Ferbuary - April? It's probably our best time of year because we spring clean (carry out staff appraisals if you have them), review how we did, how we can improve things and start planning for next year, contacting clients ahead of the year end to look at 10/11 months figures, send struggling or tricky clients checklists and prompts for what went wrong last year and how we/they can improve it for next and, most importantly, I have time to prepare and send out all the annual quotes for for the year ahead. This takes me 4-5 weeks and gets it out the way, before the work starts.

With the annual quoting, PAYE, personal accounts/tax and company accounts all co-terminating, it makes everything so much easier to manage.



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13th May 2012 00:39

February to April

There's plenty to do

There's always a few clients who don't make the 31 January deadline.

There's new clients.

There's the odd clients who are not affected by tax so their year end is not 31 March.

There's payroll year end and new payroll schemes to register.

As Paul says there should be plenty of housekeeping to do.

Some clients are very quick to send you their data and some are a lot slower so the work is usually spread out nicely.

Accelerating the tax payment? It's a lower amount when you bring forward the period end so that is advantageous to the client. Overall it is easier to make tax efficient decisions when you are looking at similar periods.

I would think it's more difficult to prepare P11Ds if you have to get information from a client and check it for completeness and then get more data later. It increases the work needed for both accountant and client. Getting all the accounts data quickly for employers is easier and you only have to ask for another 5 days.

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13th May 2012 07:36

I agree with Paul and Peter that you can find plenty to do
Yes I agree you can do all of those things, and I do see the benefit of having everything co-terminus.

However we have 12 staff, and to keep them occupied during February to April would be a challenge.

If I worked on my own, I would definitely approach it this way, and take a nice long holiday in February or March!

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18th May 2012 13:26

Who are we working for?
Do you choose year ends to suit your own practice or to best meet the needs of the client? Surely the latter is the only ethical approach?

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20th May 2012 13:01

30th May

My company year end is 30th of May.

My accountant loves it because it gives the opportunity to vote dividends into the new personal tax year.

Not being an accountant I don't know how else it affects his work.


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20th May 2012 15:18

Not end of month

Why did you choose 30th May rather than 31st May?

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