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Accounting and accounting rules in Switzerland

Accounting Rules

Tax Year
The tax year generally is the calendar year, unless a company uses a different financial year. Federal and cantonal/communal income tax is assessed each year on income of the current year.
Accounting Standards
The Swiss Code of Obligations does not contain any provisions on the accounting standards to which a consolidated financial statement must be prepared. Only the IPO laws of the SWX Swiss Exchange require that an accepted accounting standard based on the 'true and fair view'  principle be used (such as Swiss GAAP FER, IFRS or US GAAP). However Swiss GAAP FER accounting standards are used by the national groups and small and mid-sized organisations (seeking capital only from Swiss investors). In addition, sector-specific standards exist to regulate accounting provisions for pension funds, insurance companies and non-profit organisations. Companies listed on the main board of the SIX Swiss Exchange and listed companies domiciled in the EU have to prepare their consolidated financial statements in accordance with IFRS.
Accounting Regulation Bodies
Accounting Reports
Any company registered with the register of commerce in Switzerland needs to maintain a book-of-account and is required to follow the general commercial accounting principles as set forth in the Swiss Code of Obligations. While it is compulsory to maintain the balance sheet, the profit-and-loss statement and the inventory in Swiss francs, this requirement does not apply to the day-to-day bookkeeping.
Publication Requirements
As per the law, an annual financial statement with its associated income statement, balance sheet and notes must be prepared. It must be made in a manner such that company's assets and earnings can be valued as accurately as possible.
Professional Accountancy Bodies
EXPERTsuisse , EXPERTsuisse: the Swiss Expert Association for Audit, Taxation and Fiduciary
Certification and Auditing
Companies must seek a statutory auditor to conduct an annual audit of the financial health of their organisation.
According to the Swiss commercial law, a company is subject to a full audit if it qualifies as a public company or if it meets two of the three following thresholds in two consecutive business years: a balance sheet total of CHF 20 million; revenue of CHF 40 million; and 250 full-time employees. A full audit for a public company must be conducted by an admitted Swiss audit expert, and a supervised audit firm must be elected.
For non-public companies that meet two of the above criteria, only an admitted Swiss audit expert can be elected.
A company that is not subject to a full audit generally will be subject to a limited audit, which can be carried out by an elected admitted auditor. A company that does not have more than 10 full-time employees can opt out of a limited audit.

For more information, contact the Swiss Federal Audit Office.

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Latest Update: July 2024