Here's an explanation of your FreeAgent accounting dates.
When you first set up your account in FreeAgent, you'll have entered three dates – 'Company Start Date', 'First Accounting Year End Date', and 'FreeAgent Start Date'.
You can find your accounting dates if you hover over your name at the top right hand side of the screen, and select 'Settings'. You'll see them in the section called 'Accounting, Tax & VAT'.
Company Start Date
The ‘Company Start Date’ is the day the business officially started.
For sole trades and partnerships, this will be the day it began trading, as notified to HMRC.
For limited companies, it’ll be the incorporation date as shown on the certificate of incorporation, which is issued by Companies House.
First Accounting Year End Date
The ‘First Accounting Year End Date’ will be used by FreeAgent to set the year end for future years too.
So if your first accounting year finished on 31st December 2009, FreeAgent will work out your accounts to 31st December 2010, 31st December 2011, etc. and produce reports ending on your first accounting year end date and for each year after that.
For most (but not all) sole trades and partnerships, the year end date will be 5th April, to coincide with the tax year, so unless you know differently, use this date.
For limited companies, this will be a year from the end of the month in which you started the company. So if your company start date was 5th March 2010, your first accounting year end date would be 31st March 2011. This applies unless you've filed a form with Companies House to change your accounting date.
If you're not sure what your year end date should be, then ask your accountant. Don't worry, you can change the date later.
FreeAgent Start Date
The 'FreeAgent Start Date', is the date from which you're going to start keeping your books on FreeAgent.
If your business is new then it might be the same date as your company start date, but if you’ve already been trading for some months or years, it will be after the company start date. For existing businesses you might decide to start keeping your books on FreeAgent as from a new VAT quarter, or the start of a new accounting year for your business (so you can easily collect opening balances from your accountant).
If you're not sure what any of these dates should be, speak to your accountant, or contact us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.