Complaints about a company’s accounts

Published: 25 September 2023

3 minute read

Find out about our processes and how to make a complaint about a company’s accounts.

How can I complain about a company’s accounts?

You should complain to the company first.

If you are not satisfied with its response you can fill in our complaint form.

What will the FRC review?

We can make enquiries where it appears that the relevant statutory reporting requirements have not been followed. This is primarily where it appears that there is, or may be, a question whether the directors’ report, strategic report or accounts comply with the requirements of the Companies Act 2006. We conduct these reviews and enquiries under the FRC Corporate Reporting Review Operating Procedures.

Find out more about our Corporate Reporting Review work

What will the FRC not do?

We do not give advice on the application of accounting standards or statutory reporting requirements.

What action can the FRC take?

  • Ask directors to explain apparent departures from reporting requirements
  • Ask directors to make appropriate corrections, voluntarily withdraw and issue revised accounts.
  • We have statutory power to apply to the Court if restatements are not made or we remain dissatisfied.
  • Where the matter is less significant, corrections or improvements may be made in the next set of annual financial statements.

Is there a time limit for complaining?

Complaints should be submitted within 12 months of the conduct or matter that you wish to be reviewed, or within 12 months of you reasonably becoming aware of it.

If 12 months have passed, we will ask you to explain why we should look into it and why you did not make a complaint earlier.

What happens to my complaint?

After the initial acknowledgment of your complaint, we will contact you within 5 working days to tell you if your complaint cannot be reviewed by the FRC and why.

If it is something we can look into, it will be passed to our Corporate Reporting Review Team, and we will inform you of this within 5 working days. We may ask you for further information but we will not give you any updates even if you contact us. The team will review your complaint and will:

  • Aim to inform you within 6 weeks if the matter does not fall within their area of responsibility.
  • Engage, if appropriate, with the company.
  • Write to you at end of the process to tell you the outcome.

What and when will I hear back from the FRC?

If our CRR Team do not propose to take further action, e.g. they do not consider the matter falls within the CRR’s area of responsibility or does not require further consideration they will explain why and aim to do so within 6 weeks. If they consider that your complaint should be referred instead to another regulator or body, they will tell you.

If your matter remains under consideration by our CRR Team, they may contact you for further information but they will not provide you with substantive updates. If you write to us asking for updates we will not be able to give you any further information. This is because our CRR Team have to conduct their review of matters under the FRC Corporate Reporting Review Operating Procedures, which commit to treating company information on a statutory and confidential basis, and with due and fair process for a company to respond to and engage with us to explain its accounting treatment.

That fair process and the complexity of some of the accounting issues may mean that it takes a longer period for a corporate reporting review to be concluded than you may immediately expect. The FRC Corporate Reporting Review Operating Procedures also reflect statutory restrictions on what we can tell you (or others) about the progress or outcome of our review.

In particular, if the outcome of our review is that the company agrees to correct comparative figures in its next set of annual financial statements (or next interim report), we may not be able to disclose this to you until the company has published those figures. Because of annual reporting cycles, this sometimes means complainants do not find out the outcome of their complaint for up to, or around, 18 months after raising the matter.

You can subscribe for news updates from the FRC (this will include press notices about our CRR Reviews).

We also publish information about our CRR activity in our Annual Activity Reports and thematic reviews.

What if I disagree with how the FRC has handled my complaint?