In this article, we explain how to lock and unlock your accounts in FreeAgent.
About account locking
Locking your accounts in FreeAgent prevents you from editing the data that makes up your accounts, up to a particular date. You might want to lock your accounts after filing statutory accounts or Corporation Tax, for example, or at the end of each tax year. If your accountant has full access to your FreeAgent account, they may lock your accounts on your behalf.
To lock your own accounts, you will need full (level 8) access to your FreeAgent account. Navigate to Settings and select ‘Account locking’ from the ‘Accounting, Tax and VAT' area.
Choosing a lock date
You will see a range of valid dates that you can lock your accounts to on the account locking page.
FreeAgent generates this date range using the following principles:
- Unless you are VAT registered, the most recent date FreeAgent will allow you to lock your accounts to is one week ago.
- If you are VAT registered, FreeAgent won’t allow you to lock your accounts to a date that falls during a period covered by an unfiled VAT return. For example, if your last filed VAT return was to the end of 31st October, you would only be able to lock up to that date. You’d have to wait till at least 7th November to apply the lock.
If you’re a sole trader and you file your Self Assessment tax return directly to HMRC through FreeAgent, your accounts will be automatically locked up to the end of your business’s basis period*. You’ll see this date in the ‘Active account locks’ area on the account locking page.
You won’t be able to lock your accounts to an earlier date than the one displayed in this field. You can, however, choose a date that falls between your Self Assessment filing date and up to one week ago, providing it meets the criteria outlined above.
If you haven’t filed Self Assessment through FreeAgent, or you’re either in a partnership or are the director of a limited company, you won’t see anything in the ‘Active account locks’ area until you set a lock date manually.
Locking your accounts
When you’ve chosen an appropriate lock date, enter it in the ‘Manual account locking’ area and select ‘Save’. This will lock your accounts up to and including that date. You’ll see the date in your list of active account locks.
Changing a lock date
To change your account lock date, update the date displayed in the ‘Manual account locking’ area and select ‘Save’. The new date will be displayed in your list of active account locks.
Unlocking your accounts
To remove a lock that you’ve placed on your accounts, select ‘Remove this lock’ next to the lock you want to delete. FreeAgent will ask if you are sure that you want to remove this lock before deleting it.
If you’re a sole trader and have a lock placed on your accounts as a result of filing Self Assessment, your accounts will remain locked from the end of your business’s basis period. This date will continue to be visible in your list of active account locks.
*The 'basis period' is the time period for which a sole trader or partnership pays tax on their self-employment income each year. A business's basis period usually runs to and from the same dates as its accounting year.