Analysing financial statements


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  Accountancy in Poland

Polish accounting and reporting requirements are based on the Accounting Act, other regulations based on this Act, and the Code of Commercial Companies. Polish accounting is regulated by the Accounting Act of 29 September 1994 (with subsequent amendments). The Ministry of Finance has also issued several decrees covering specific accounting areas such as financial instruments, consolidation, accounting for banks, insurance companies and pension funds.

In any matters not regulated by the Accounting Law or the Decrees an entity may apply national accounting standards issued by the Accounting Standards Committee. In the absence of relevant local regulations, the entity may apply International Financial Reporting Standards.

Preparations for EU membership required successive governments to adapt Polish law to European regulations. After the introduction of successful economic reforms and new regulations, the country seems to be prepared for this accession.

Polish regulation in the field of accounting is based on the Accounting Act and supplemented by a large number of Decrees issued by the Minister of Finance.

The objective of this Accounting Act is to prescribe the basis for keeping books, for the presentation of financial statements, in order to ensure comparability both with the enterprise's own financial statements of previous periods and with the financial statements of other enterprises. To achieve this objective, the Accounting Act sets out an overall consideration for the presentation of financial statements, defines their structure and gives requirements for the content of the financial statements and principals for the measurement and recognition of assets and liabilities, and the financial result.

The Accounting Act applies to all types of enterprises including banks and insurance enterprises. However a number of Decrees issued by the Minister of Finance, relate to specific accounting problems, such as those of Banks, investment funds, brokers and insurers. Some of them are related to accounting issues such as financial instruments or consolidation.

The Accounting Act also includes the principals of audit and the publication of financial and consolidated statements and, in terms of its principals, is very close to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The principal of showing a true and fair view of the financial position performance and changes in financial position of an enterprise brought the legislator to accept and even recommend companies to refer to IFRS every time when the Polish Accounting Act does not describe the accounting matter that has to be presented in their financial statements.

To provide full information about an enterprise the Accounting Act defines the financial statement and its elements: balance sheets, profit and loss accounts, notes to the financial statements, cash flow statements and statements of changes in the equity (for larger companies). According to this Act a company's financial statements should be prepared within 3 months after the balance sheet date, approved by the shareholders within 6 months and sent to the Tax office (10 days after approval) and the registration court (15 days after approval).

The range of obligations and documents that the company has to provide every month to the Tax authorities means that Polish accountants are not simply bookkeepers. They also provide the companies with a wide range of services such as: the preparation of charts of accounts for enterprises; the preparation of instructions for the circulation of documents; the preparation of annual reports, reports to shareholders, to the National Bank of Poland, to the Central Statistical Office, to the Tax Office and to the registration court. They are often responsible for carrying out clearings, costs analysis, evidence of fixed assets and clearing of depreciation of fixed assets and private persons' income tax.

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