Sets of accounts can be circulated very easily, particularly with current mediums like email and the internet and PDF copies of these. This can enable quick reference to figures and help speed up any urgent transaction along.
One downside though, is that this rush can mean the actual accounts are not correct versions which can be fully replied upon, something we see time and time again. They may help with indications of costs, but when it comes to authorised copies for a certain purpose then you can be caught short.
Therefore, here are a few simple pointers to spot to make sure you receive the right versions. These are actually straight forward and easy to identify once you know about them, however in the rush of any requirement these can be easily missed:
1. Correct Signatures
This is definitely top of the list, particularly with digital copies that may be still in draft format, or the final version has been saved in this fashion but without a real human signature. There may even be the right names stated and dotted lines to then sign, but no actual signature.
The correct way then is for the right person to sign these, and then ideally send the original copy (in correctly coloured ink sometimes as well), or at least scan in and send a digital copy of these.
2. Properly Dated
This tends to fall into one of two camps. Firstly, the actual date range of the accounts, often a year, and which in most cases should be accurate as the whole accounts have been based around this period. Therefore, if you do see a wrong date for this purpose, it is hopefully just down to a typo rather than the wrong period being assumed, but of course this needs checking.
The second, and more popular one, is the date of any signature and authorised submission or agreement of these accounts, linked to the above point as well.
3. The Right Purpose
Again this may sound obvious, but make sure they have the right purpose in mind. Typically, you may have formal company accounts, but an accountant may also produce separate detailed income and expenditure reports, which can be helpful for more detailed reporting needs for a client. You may therefore have hold of lots of different types of accounts, therefore it being important to use the right set for the right purpose.
A Simple Check
Therefore for any accounts you come across, particularly on an email and PDF copies, then quickly check that they have the right signature, date and date-range, and they’re for the purpose you need.