In US, a principle of transparency is imposed in the business world. Each economic entity must, as such, respect a duty of accounting information.
Here are some explanations to help you understand this principle and its explanations.
Definition of accounting information
Accounting information is one of the obligations imposed on a large majority of companies in France. It consists, for each economic entity, in collecting all the information that circulates within a company (sale, purchase, investment, etc.).
Accounting information also requires companies to store this information on a reliable medium in a durable manner, to use this information and to communicate it.
Note: The accounting information results from the regulatory standards that apply to companies.
In terms of accounting information, every company is required to draw up a balance sheet, a profit and loss account and annexes at each closing of the financial year. It must also file these annual accounts with the competent tax department and the trade and companies register.
Good to know: to achieve the establishment of these annual accounts, companies are required to record information in accounts while respecting the principle of double entry.
Actors and users of accounting information
Accounting information is particularly useful for making decisions within the company or for calculating the tax due. Among the users of a company’s accounting information are partners or shareholders, suppliers and customers, company employees, banks and any other creditors, the Treasury and the government.
Good to know: each user of accounting information inquires about the company’s accounting for their own reasons and objectives.
Usefulness of accounting information
For shareholders and associates, accounting information enables them to make important decisions in terms of management, organization, finance, investment, search for investors and economic strategy.
The accounting information makes it possible, from the accounting data, to analyze the performance and profitability of the company and to take the consequent decisions.
Note: for third parties, the account information makes it possible to ensure the company’s solvency, its seriousness, its financing capacities or the amount of tax for which it is liable.
Obligation to file annual accounts and accounting information
In terms of accounting information, companies are required to submit their annual accounts (balance sheet, income statement and appendix) to the competent tax department and to the Trade and Companies Register (RCS).
Good to know: when a company does not file its annual accounts within the legal deadlines, the president of the commercial court can send the manager of this company an injunction to file the annual accounts of the company, within one month under penalty of penalty. The filing order is addressed to the director of the company and not to the company itself. In the same way, the payment of the penalty belongs to the manager in a personal capacity. The manager cannot have this payment borne by the company (Cass. com., May 7, 2019, No. 17-21.047).
The RCS provides third parties with all the annual accounts of all companies registered in France. Each individual can thus access account information by making a request to the RCS.
However, companies now have the option of requesting the confidentiality of their annual accounts.
Good to know: a small business that holds subsidiaries with more than 50% of the capital, or stakes in other companies between 10% and 50% of the capital, cannot benefit from the confidentiality option from then on. that it controls some of its subsidiaries or holdings.
Management of Shareholdings and Transferable Securities
A microenterprise is not excluded from the benefit of the account confidentiality option simply because it has subsidiaries or shareholdings. However, it cannot exercise the option for the confidentiality of the accounts. If it exercises the activity of simple management of shareholdings and transferable securities, on an exclusive or non-exclusive basis (CCRCS, opinion 2019-011, December 2019).
Two situations must in fact be distinguished. With regard to its subsidiaries and shareholdings, a microenterprise can:
- hold subsidiaries or participations, i.e. own more than half of the capital in the case of a subsidiary or 10% to 50% of the capital in the case of a participation
- to manage securities, that is to say to exercise as a corporate object the activity of management of equity securities and transferable securities. This activity neither presupposes nor prevents the holding of equity securities and managed securities.