Browse Glossary A-Z
Taxes, returns and payroll
Accounting reference dateDate on which a company's financial year ends. This is normally 12 months after the previous accounting period ended or, for new companies, at the end of the twelfth month in which a company incorporated.
Accounting reference period (ARP)Period covered by a company's annual accounts, usually one year.
Accounting Standards Board (ASB)Produces formal statements of accounting standards that apply to all companies.
Accounts payableMoney owed by a company or individual for the goods or services they have received.
AcquisitionReceipt, by a person registered or liable to be registered for VAT, of goods that have been supplied by a registered person in another European Union (EU) Member State and removed from there to the UK.
Additional voluntary contribution (AVC)These are contributions you can pay in addition to any contribution you have to pay as a member of a company pension scheme. AVCs can provide extra pension benefits.
AdministrationThe appointment of a licensed insolvency practitioner over a defaulting company either by a court, by a holder of a floating charge over the company's assets, or by the company itself. Administration has the primary purpose of rescuing the company by trading it back into solvency.
AdministratorInsolvency practitioner holding office in administration.
Aggregates levyThis is a tax on the commercial exploitation in the UK of rock, sand and gravel.
Allotment of sharesThe process of allocating shares between shareholders usually pro rata or according to some prior agreement. The allotment may have conditions, which must be satisfied before the shares are issued, eg payment for them. This precedes the actual issue of shares.
Alternative investment market (AIM)The junior stock market for younger, growth-oriented companies. New businesses, which have never traded, can join AIM. Although considered to be a higher risk for investors, it has potentially higher rewards than the main stock market.
AmortisationThe writing off of the cost of goodwill or other intangible assets over a period of time.
Annual accountsMust be submitted to Companies House with the auditor's report, or an accountant's report for small companies with turnover of less than £5.6 million and a balance sheet of less than £2.8 million, and for medium-sized companies with a turnover of £22.8 million and a balance sheet of £11.4 million. For accounting reference periods that begin on or after 6 April 2008 these figures have been changed to £6.5 million and £3.26 million for small companies and £25.9 and £12.9 million for medium-sized companies. The accounts consist of a directors' report signed by a director or the company secretary, a profit and loss account, a balance sheet signed by a director, the auditor's report signed by the auditor or accountant's report signed by the accountant and notes to the accountants. The accounts must be laid before a general meeting of all members of the company. They must be approved by the meeting.
Annual General Meeting (AGM)Annual meeting of company shareholders where the financial statements for the previous financial year are presented. AGMs can also be used to appoint directors and auditors and allow shareholders to ask board members questions.
Articles of AssociationSet out the main rules for the way a company is to be run. Statutory Tables A to G set out what the articles should cover. Table A acts as the default for all companies limited by shares.
Audit reportThe result of the review of the annual accounts by the auditors. It must accompany the accounts when filed at Companies House. An unqualified report means that the auditors found nothing wrong with the accounts. If the auditors are concerned that the accounts are not a true reflection of the state of the company the report will be qualified by their comments on what they have found.
AuditorsAccountants appointed to review and report upon the annual accounts of a company. Only accountants qualified as members of one of the professional bodies recognised by legislation can act as auditors.