The Companies (Accounting) Bill (the Accounting Bill) was published earlier today. When enacted and in force, the Accounting Bill will transpose into Irish law the Accounting Directive (Directive 2013/34/EU (as amended) on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings), as amended (the Accounting Directive).

At 92 Sections and 6 Schedules, the Accounting Bill will be a substantial piece of legislation, and proposes to make many changes, a lot of which are of a technical accounting nature, to the Companies Act 2014 (the 2014 Act) in order to give full effect to the Accounting Directive. In particular, the Accounting Bill amends Part 6 (financial statements, annual return and audit) of the 2014 Act, and introduces a new Part 26 into that Act, in order to transpose certain provisions in the Accounting Directive on reporting payments to Governments by companies active in extractive industries and in the logging of primary forests.

A key goal of the Accounting Directive, and therefore of the Accounting Bill, is to reduce the burden of compliance by smaller companies (to be known as "micro companies") with accounting requirements.

In addition, the Accounting Bill proposes to give effect to a further requirement of the Accounting Directive, which is to eliminate the existing non-filing of accounts exemption for unlimited companies with a particular non-EU/EEA shareholding structure.

The Accounting Bill also makes a number of technical amendments to the 2014 Act which are unrelated to the Accounting Directive, in order to correct a number of errors in the 2014 Act, some of which are of a minor and/or typographical nature, but others of which are more substantial in nature and which have been identified by practitioners since the coming into force of the 2014 Act in June of last year.

Next steps

The Dail and Seanad have risen for the summer recess, and are expected to sit again on 27 September 2016, following which it is expected that the Accounting Bill will be discussed in both Houses. As the transposition of the Accounting Directive into Irish law is now long overdue, it is anticipated that efforts will be made to have the Accounting Bill enacted and commenced as soon as possible thereafter. We will keep you informed of developments.