The Act requires that the directors of a company (or group) prepare financial statements in respect of each financial year (Section 290). It is a requirement that the directors of a company do not approve these financial statements unless they give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities and financial position, as at the end of the financial year, and profit or loss, for the financial year (Section 289). An entity’s financial statements must be either:
- Companies Act entity financial statements, prepared in accordance with applicable accounting standards* (Section 291); or
- International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) entity financial statements, prepared in accordance with IFRSs (Section 292).
*Applicable accounting standards, according to Section 275 of the Act, means statements of accounting standards and any written interpretation of those standards issued by a body or bodies prescribed for that purpose.
Section 279 does however permit certain situations where financial statements can be prepared in line with US Generally Accepted Accounting Practise (US GAAP). This applies where a listed holding company (that is subject to SEC rules under the laws of the USA) either:
- prior to 4 July 2012 had not made, nor was it required to make, an annual return to the Registrar; or
- between 23 December 2009 and 4 July 2012 used US GAAP in the preparation of its Companies Act individual accounts.
Such a holding company now incorporated in Ireland may, up until 31 December 2020, prepare and file financial statements with the Registrar that are prepared using US GAAP provided none of the accounting treatment so applied contravenes any requirements of the Act.