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Spain

Accounts

Updated 09/2012

Are you interested in accounting? Accounts reflect the evolution, economic and equity situation of an enterprise. They help manage an enterprise. Many people have an interest in the accounts: owners, shareholders, partners, suppliers, creditors, public authorities. This is why the legal regulations require enterprises to keep accounts, establish how they are to be kept, lay down measures to guarantee their accuracy and publication. Interested parties can find out about an enterprise's economic situation.

Legal requirements

The laws require sole traders and companies to keep appropriate accounts of their economic activity. In Spain, the accounting laws are aligned with international and EU standards.

They must be kept in the manner set out in commercial legislation and in the Accounting Plans.

  • The General Accounting Plan: set out the principles, criteria and regulations for the keeping of accounts at enterprises. There are two possible forms of application, one general and another abbreviated. The latter is intended for smaller-scale enterprises fulfilling certain requirements regarding: turnover, equity or number of employees.
  • General Accounting Plans for Small and Medium Enterprises: These accounting plans are established specifically for small and medium enterprises, and also for micro-enterprises, whether sole traders or companies. They are better suited to such enterprises and are simpler.

These general accounting plans are adapted to different economic sectors by means of specific regulations.

Accounting documents: accounting ledgers, annual financial statements, supporting documents and invoices

Accounts are based on accounting documents. These fall into the following groups of document: accounting ledgers, annual financial statements and supporting documents.

Accounting ledgers

  • Inventory ledger: at the start of the financial year this sets out an initial inventory of the assets of the enterprise. During the financial year intermediate balance sheets are included, to set out the asset and financial situation of the enterprise at different moments during the financial year. The intermediate balance sheets are drawn up at least every quarter. At the close of the financial year the ledger is supplemented by means of a final inventory and the annual financial statements.
  • A daily ledger: recording in chronological sequence the financial and equity activities of the enterprise over the course of the entire financial year. This ledger provides information allowing the other documents to be completed.

Annual financial statements

Once the financial or accounting year has been closed, and within three months, the enterprise draws up its annual financial statements. These documents describe the initial situation, evolution and position at the close of the financial year regarding the equity, financing and result of the enterprise. The annual financial statements comprise the following documents.

  • Income statement: sets out the revenue, expenses and result of the enterprise separately.
  • Balance Sheet: sets out separately: net equity, assets and liabilities.
  • Statement of changes in net equity: describes the evolution of the net equity, assets and liabilities throughout the financial year.
  • Cash flow statement: sets out the evolution of revenue, expenses and results.
  • Explanatory Notes: supplement and explain the above documents.

These documents form a unit or whole reflecting the evolution, the equity and financial situation of the enterprise.

Directors' Report and proposed application of results

The annual financial statements are accompanied by two accountability documents: a Directors' Report, describing the enterprise management undertaken, and a report setting out the proposed application of the result of the enterprise, in other words the profits or losses.

Consolidated annual financial statements and directors' report

Corporate groups, or several enterprises together if they hold stakes in one another and fulfil certain requirements, are required to file consolidated accounts covering all of them. This obligation applies to their annual financial statements and directors' report. You can access further information via the following link:

Approval of the annual financial statements, directors' report and proposed application of results

Following conclusion of the financial year, and within three months, the annual financial statements are drawn up. Once they have been generated, the enterprise must approve them within a period of one month. The method of approval depends on the legal structure of the enterprise: it may be performed by the sole trader or otherwise by the shareholders of a capital company, at the AGM.

Publication in the Companies Register

Following approval they are filed with the Companies Register. To allow them to be consulted by interested parties.

Preservation of accounting records

In order to allow the economic activity of business owners to be supervised. They are obliged to preserve: the ledgers, documentation and proof of the economic activity of the enterprise in an orderly manner for six years from the last entry made in the accounting ledgers.

Ancillary records for taxation purposes

The tax authorities use the information provided by the accounts to establish the equity and financial situation of enterprises and calculate the taxes to be paid by the business owners. In some cases obligations are imposed regarding ancillary accounting ledgers and records. Further information in this regard can be found via the following link:

Auditing

To guarantee the accuracy of the accounts. Many companies are obliged to submit their accounts and annual financial statements for external auditing every year.

Accounts auditing is an evaluation of the enterprise's accounting records by an accounting expert or external auditor. The purpose of the audit is to establish whether the documents truthfully convey the equity and financial situation of the enterprise. The result is set out in the auditors' report on the accounts.

Small enterprises may also maintain abbreviated accounts or simplified records. These are also excluded from the requirement for an external audit in some cases.

Companies Register

The Companies Registers are intended to offer guarantees in economic activity in general, and in the activities of enterprises. To this end they record events and actions of particular importance for enterprises in order to publish these and make them available to interested parties.

Given the importance of the information provided by an enterprise's accounts, the law requires business owners to have their accounting records legally approved and to file their annual financial statements with the Companies Registers.

Issue and Present Invoices

Business owners and professionals must in general issue invoices or documentary proof of all goods and services they deliver to their clients in performing their operations, retaining a copy thereof as proof. There are certain exceptions.

Enterprises may use the electronic invoice created by the Ministry of Economy and Finance.

 

Administrative procedures

In Spain many procedures with public authorities can performed in a simple and convenient manner online. Information and forms can be accessed without identification. To perform certain procedures the party concerned must on occasion provide identification, by using passwords or an electronic certificate or Electronic ID Card.

Legalization of accounting records with the companies register

Business owners will present their accounting ledgers at the Companies Register for their enterprise's registered office for legalization prior to use. This can be performed in person or online.

Legalization of the accounting ledgers involves the documents to be used to keep the accounts being stamped. The aim is to guarantee that these documents will then set out the company's accounts and that they have not been altered or replaced with others.

Filing of annual financial statements with the companies register

Following approval of the annual financial statements, they must be filed with the companies register. The purpose of publishing the annual financial statements is to provide interested parties with information about the equity or financial situation of an enterprise. They may be filed in person or online.

Accountants and Auditors: procedures with the Institute of Accounting and Accounts Auditing

If you are an accountant or accounts auditor you will on occasion be required to perform procedures with the Institute of Accounting and Accounts Auditing. These can be performed simply and conveniently online.

Help & advice

Help & advice

E-mail a business organisation near you

The EU runs a network (Enterprise Europe Network) of local business organisations in most European countries that may be able to help you.

Choose your country and town and enter your enquiry below.

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