If your company accounts are subject to audit as required by the Companies Act, you must appoint a registered auditor. The auditor will audit your company accounts and express their opinions on whether your company accounts give a true and fair view. Ordinarily, your Auditor would create a permanent file for audit for your company.
Your auditor will gather information of your company at the initial stage of appointment for their permanent file for your company. They will ask you for the information, since you have to prepare, gather and provide the information to your auditor, why not you also create a permanent file for your own record. Then pass the file to your auditor to make a copy of it. This can save both yours and your auditor time.
What is permanent file?
The permanent file usually contains documents and matters of continuing importance of your company which will be required for more than one audit.
Generally, your Auditor would keep the following documents and records auditors in your permanent file.
Firstly, documents governing the conduct, accounts, and audit of your company. For example, If you are in the business is regulated by Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), your Auditor would keep a copy of the relevant Financial Services Act that applies to your business.
The rules and regulations of your company
Concurrently, your Auditor would also need to know how your company is managed and what rules and regulations applies within your business itself. For instance, if you are a limited company, this means the Memorandum and Articles of Association. If you are a partnerships, it means the partnership agreement. For sports clubs, the club rules, and so on.
Other documents of continuing importance and relevance to your auditor
- Letter of engagement and minutes of appointment of the auditor. This is particularly important in non-statutory audits as it embodies the auditor’s instructions.
- Trade, license, and royalty agreements; entered into by your company.
- Debenture deeds.
- Guarantees and indemnities entered into.
- Copies of Confirmation Statement filed with Companies House.
Official business address
Your current company’s registered office address. If your registered office address is not the same as your trading address then provide all other offices and premises locations. Together with a short description of the work carried on at each branch.
An organization chart
Your organisation chart to give a snapshot of your business structure within your management teams. For example, detailed of the principal departments and sub-divisions thereof with a note of the numbers of people involved.
The names of responsible officials and staff within your organization structure. Give extra details for your accounting departments.
List of books and records
You specify the place where you keep your accounting records. You provide names, positions, specimens of signatures and initials of persons responsible for books. Additionally, your account codes and classifications as well.
An outline history of the organization
Special mention must be made of the history of Reserves, Provisions, Share Capital, Prospectuses, and acquisition of subsidiaries and businesses. There should also be a record of important accounting ratios.
List of accounting matters of importance
Accounting policies used for material areas such as stock, work in progress, depreciation, research and development expenditure in your company accounts.
Notes of interviews and correspondence regarding internal control matters and all past letters of weakness.
The business structure within a group and associated companies
If your company is part of a group, you are to provide a note of the position of your company in the Group. For this purpose, a group structure would be helpful with all subsidiaries and associated companies with holdings therein.
Clients’ Internal Audit and Accounting Instructions
If you have internal audit and accounting instructions. please provide those.
Details of shareholders and directors
A list of your directors, your shareholdings, and service contracts. Usually, your Auditor can download your Confirmation Statement filed with Companies House. It would be nice you could provide so that they could verify any changes of your company officers not yet notify with Companies House.
You are to provide a list of the company’s properties and investments with notes on verification.
A list of the company’s advisors such as bankers, merchant bankers, stockbrokers, solicitors, valuers, insurance brokers etc.
A list of company’s insurance
The permanent file is updated on annually and usually during the audit. Your company shall provide the information listed above to enable your auditor to complete their audit assignments.
Remember that the information in the permanent file is handled with strict confidence.