Accounting in Germany

Overview by

Accounting System

Accounting Standards
Accounting priciples and regulations in Germany are in the "German Accounting Standards" - GAS (Deutsche Rechnungslegungs Standards - DRS) which are published by the German standardization bureau: the Deutsches Rechnungslegungs Standards Committee (DRSC). There is no compulsory official accounting plan in Germany. It is up to each company to choose the form, the language and the currency. European companies listed on the stock exchange must establish their annual consolidated accounts on the basis of the IAS/IFRS standards.
Accounting Regulation Bodies
DRSC, Deutsches Rechnungslegungs Standards Committee (German standardization bureau)
Accounting Law
The main legal sources of German accounting are:
- the Stock Corporation Law of 1965 (AktG)
- book III of the German Commercial Code (Handelsgesetzbuch - HGB).
Difference Between National and International Standards (IAS/IFRS)
The national system is near the international standards.
Accounting News
International Accounting News on Germany

Accounting Practices

Tax Year
The tax year begins on 1 January and finishes on 31 December of the same year.
Accounting Reports
Unlimited liability companies and partial liability companies (Einzelkaufleute, OHG, KG) must draw up the following accounting documents:
- a balance sheet (Bilanz) in the format decreed by the 4th European Directive of 1978, adapted to German law in 1985;
- a profit and loss account (Gewinnund Verlustrechnung).
Limited liability companies (Gmbh and AG) must add to the two documents above:
- notes to the accounts (Anhang);
- an annual report (Lagebericht).
The financial flow table or cash flow table is not obligatory, except for companies listed on the stock exchange.
Publication Requirements
The obligations of companies relative to the reporting of their accounts depend on their legal form: small company, medium company and large company (defined according to the total of the balance sheet, the net turnover and the members of staff employed).

Limited liability companies (Gmbh et AG), with the exception of small companies and groups of companies, must publish annual accounts and have them controlled by an outside auditor. On the other hand, unlimited liability companies (except KGaA) have no obligation to publish their accounts nor to have them audited.

Accountancy Profession

The accountancy services (Book-keeping, accounting, controlling, payroll) and related services can be offered by companies or individuals adhering to one of the following (legally regulated) professions : Public Accountants, Management Accountants, Independent Accountants, Commercial Accountants, etc. A valid business license is required to provide such services. The type of licence defines the scope of services allowed.
Professional Accountancy Bodies
WPK - Wirtschaftsprüferkammer, Chamber of Auditors.
IDW - Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer, Institute of Chartered Accountants
Member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)
Germany is a member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC).
Member of Other Federation of Accountants
Member of the Federation of European chartered accountants.
Audit Bodies
The preparation of the annual accounts must take place less than three months after the end of the financial year for medium and large companies, and less than six months later for small companies.
Vous pouvez contacter un auditeur externe : Price Waterhouse Coopers ; Ernst & Young (en allemand); KPMG (en anglais) ; Deloitte & Touche (en anglais)

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