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Accounting Reference Date (ARD) Meaning in Finance

Accounting Reference Date (ARD) is a term popular among businesses in the UK.

Every company, including LLP-Limited Liability Partnership, is required to prepare annual financial statements for their Accounting Reference Period that report on the performance and activities of that company during a particular financial year.

Accounting Reference Date (ARD) is the last date of Accounting Reference Period. Accounting Reference Period is the financial year of a company.

How to determine the accounting reference date?

1st ARD

The first accounting reference date for a newly incorporated company is set as the last day in the month in which its first anniversary falls.


ABC Limited was incorporated/registered on 2nd May, 2020. Then its first accounting reference date will be 31st May, 2021.

Some more examples in the following table:-

Company incorporation date
First ARD
15th February, 2019
29th February, 2020
24th December, 2017
31st December, 2018
07th April, 2018
30th April, 2019

Subsequent ARDs

The subsequent ARDs will automatically be on the same date each year.


ABC Limited was incorporated/registered on 3rd January, 2018.
1st ARD - 31st January, 2019.
2nd ARD - 31st January, 2020.
3rd ARD - 31st January, 2021.
4th ARD - 31st January, 2022.
Likewise, so on and so forth for further years.

Change of the Accounting Reference Date (ARD)

In the UK, a company is allowed to change the ARD by sending the form AA01 - or form LL AA01 for LLPs to Companies House, which has to be done before annual accounts are due for delivery to the Registrar of Companies at Companies House.


The Companies House can penalise or can even refuse to register the accounts, if a company fails to intimate the change in the ARD. In case the Companies House rejects to register the accounts, then the company will have to prepare the fresh accounts.

The ARD cannot be changed if the accounts are already overdue. In order to change it, the form must be received within the delivery time of the accounting period.


  1. Ethan Diaz17 July, 2018

    Thanks for explaining the meaning! My doubts on the definition are clear now.

  2. It’s really such nice information to get advantage from.


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