Among the various accounting requirements that constitute the legal life of an enterprise, the entrepreneur must approve and file his annual accounts . It allows the shareholders of a company to validate the annual accounts – balance sheet, profit and loss account and schedules – established at the end of the account periods . This activity is followed by a deposit of the accounts with the registry of the commercial court. While this filing is supposed to make accounts accessible to the public for the sake of transparency, micro-businesses and VSEs can ask for confidentiality of their accounts. What is the interest of this request? How is she?
THE OBLIGATION TO DEPOSIT ACCOUNTS
The filing of accounts is a mandatory procedure for certain companies – joint-stock companies such as SAS , SASU , SA, etc., as well as multi-employee limited liability companies (SARL) and single-member companies (EURL), private practice companies ( SELAFA, SELAS, SELCA, SELARL), certain partnerships, certain commercial companies and certain agricultural cooperative societies -.
As we pointed out in our introduction, this is preceded by an approval of the accounts by the partners of the company.
The approval is made at a general meeting . This must be organized no later than six months after the end of the financial year . The manager or the president of the company sends various documents such as the annual accounts – as well as the supporting documents – to the partners before convening them at the meeting at least 15 days before its holding by registered letter. During the general meeting, the company director submits his report – and that of the auditor, if applicable – and the partners proceed with the approval. It is therefore following this approval that the company director completes the process of filing with the registry.
Failure to submit accounts is punishable by law . Indeed, the company that does not deposit its accounts can first be relaunched in the months following the date the deposit should have been made. The president of the commercial court also has the possibility to address to the directors of the company an injunction to deposit the accounts. When they still do not comply, they can be forced to pay a fine of 1500 euros. This fine may be increased to 3,000 euros for cases of recidivism.
ACCOUNT DEPOSIT AND PRIVACY OPTIONS
The annual accounts filing aims to ensure transparency in the management of companies . The deposited accounts are published in the official bulletin of civil and commercial announcements (Bodacc).
But some companies now have the option to request that their annual accounts not be published . In this case, only the administrations, the Banque de France or the judicial authorities have access to the accounts concerned.
Micro-enterprises can request the confidentiality of accounts and therefore have no published financial information about them.
TPE (very small companies) can also benefit from this confidentiality for their accounts deposited from August 7, 2016 . As far as they are concerned, confidentiality relates only to the income statement . Assets and liabilities remain accessible to the public.
To benefit from confidentiality, the micro-enterprise must fulfill at least two of the following criteria :
- have a balance sheet total of less than 350,000 euros;
- have a net turnover of less than 700,000 euros;
- employ less than 10 employees.
TPEs (very small businesses) will be able to make their income statement confidential if they fulfill two of the following criteria :
- a total balance sheet of 4 million euros;
- a net turnover of less than 8 million euros;
- employ less than 50 employees.
A company that wishes to request the confidentiality of its accounts must attach a request at the time of filing. This is a specific declaration called the confidentiality statement of the annual accounts . This is the device that can be used pursuant to Article L232-25 of the French Commercial Code.
To summarize, we note that the filing of the annual accounts with the registry of the court is mandatory after its approval by the general meeting. When the accounts are filed, the registry proceeds with their publication in order to make them accessible to the public. But micro-enterprises and VSEs can, under certain conditions, request confidentiality of their accounts; by enclosing with them a privacy statement. In this case, the public no longer has access. Only the administrations and the Banque de France can consult the accounts