Enterprises with an annual accounts obligation are required to submit annual accounts to the Register of Company Accounts. The submission of annual accounts are a separate requirement in addition to the tax return. You might also be required to submit annual reports to the Register of Company Accounts.
Annual accounts for enterprises which are required to keep accounts are public information. The aim of this is to disseminate relevant information concerning the overall financial development and financial position of a business in such a way that the user of the information can make appropriate decisions. Someone who is considering applying for a job with you will find it useful to look through the annual accounts. Another example is someone who is investing in your company.
Annual accounts must be prepared in accordance with the provisions of the Accounting Act and associated regulations, as well as generally accepted accounting practice. Separate simplified rules have been drawn up for generally accepted accounting practice in small enterprises. You will find these in Norwegian Accounting Standards Board - NRS 8 God regnskapsskikk for små foretak (available in Norwegian only).
A complete set of annual accounts must include the following:
- Income statement
- Balance sheet
- Cash flow analysis (not small enterprises)
- Audit report (if subject to the audit obligation)
Limited obligation to prepare annual accounts
Some enterprises are under a limited obligation to prepare and submit annual accounts. If your enterprise falls under these rules, you can prepare the annual accounts based on the tax return you have submitted, combined with adjusted notes. This applies for sole proprietorships and partnerships where none of the partners are legal persons (enterprises) with limited liability. Additionally, your enterprise must fall under the rules concerning small enterprises in the Accounting Act.
In the notes, you must provide additional information to the annual accounts, so that anyone who reads the accounts can obtain more detailed information on the company. Chapter 7 of the Accounting Act stipulates the minimum information that notes must contain.
In addition to the annual accounts, enterprises not considered as small according to the Accounting Act are also required to submit an annual report. The annual report is a report from the board of directors and the CEO/general manager which gives an account of the development of the business and the prerequisites for future operation.
An amendment to the Accounting Act relieves small enterprises from the obligation to prepare and submit annual reports. The amendment comes into force 1 January 2018, applying to accounting years ended 31 December 2017 or later.
Annual accounts and annual reports must be written in Norwegian.
In the case of businesses which are required to prepare accounts and which have a board, all board members must sign the annual accounts. If the business has a CEO/general manager, he or she must also sign the documents. If the business has neither a board nor a CEO/general manager, the partners or members must sign.
Annual accounts and - if relevant - the annual reports must be submitted electronically via Altinn. The obligation to prepare and submit annual accounts and annual reports applies even if the enterprise is not operational. This obligation also applies to enterprises which are in the process of being wound up until they have finally been deleted.
Annual accounts and, if relevant, annual reports must be approved by the general meeting no later than six months after the end of the financial year. They must be sent to the Register of Company Accounts within one month after they have been adopted by the general meeting or corresponding body.
In order to avoid late payment fees, the complete annual accounts must be submitted by no later than 31 July. For businesses within a closing date which falls during the period 1 January - 30 June, the corresponding deadline is 31 January.
The board is responsible for ensuring that the accounts are submitted by the relevant deadline. If the entity does not have a board, the partners or members and the CEO/general manager will be responsible for this.
Annual accounts, annual reports and audit reports are public information.
Under the Accounting Act, anyone can turn up at your office and ask to see your annual accounts, annual reports and any audit reports, i.e. the same documents that are made available by Brønnøysund. However, documentation (vouchers) used to prepare the accounts is not public information.
You can also order the annual accounts for a particular enterprise directly from the Brønnøysund Register Centre. This is probably the most common way of obtaining accounts.
Annual accounts for groups
A parent company and one or more subsidiaries constitutes a group. In order to be considered a parent company, you must have a controlling influence in another company, either as the owner of shares or holdings or through another agreement.
If you are a parent company in a group, you must also prepare consolidated accounts in addition to the company's annual accounts. These can be prepared by combining the accounts for the parent company and the subsidiaries. The aim is to show the group's position as a single financial entity. When preparing consolidated accounts, all transactions between the parent company and the subsidiary must be removed (eliminated) from the accounts.
Exceptions from the obligation to prepare consolidated accounts
Enterprises which are covered by the Accounting Act's definition of a small enterprise generally do not need to prepare consolidated accounts. It is the group collectively which must be covered by the definition of a small enterprise in order to utilise this exception.
A parent company will also not be obliged to prepare consolidated accounts if the subsidiaries, both individually and collectively, are of immaterial importance to the company.
In addition, the obligation to prepare consolidated accounts also does not normally apply to enterprises which are subject to the accounting obligation which are themselves a subsidiary. This is subject to the condition that the parent company is domiciled in an EEA State and prepares consolidated accounts which cover the subsidiary.
What must be submitted?
When you are a parent company in a group and subject to the obligation to prepare consolidated accounts, you must enclose the following with the annual accounts for the company:
- Consolidated income statement
- Consolidated balance sheet
- Notes to the consolidated accounts
- Consolidated cash flow analysis
- Audit report for the group (if required to have an auditor).
A consolidated annual report for the group must also be prepared and submitted.