Switzerland
Header Picture Swiss GAAP FER

Accounting rules as per the Code of Obligations 

The new provisions on accounting and reporting (new Accounting Law, art. 957 - 963b CO) become valid as at the financial year 2015, and 2016 for consolidated accounts at the latest. Apart from the choices in regard to valuation principles and presentation currency, there are additional requirements on disclosure notes that need to be taken into account. Hidden reserves continue to be acceptable. The principle of a recognized accounting standard has made inroads into the new Law.

Terms are independent of the legal form

 

The provisions on accounting and reporting do not depend on legal form and are applicable to all legal entities as well as stand-alone companies and partnerships with revenue higher than CHF 500,000.

Bookkeeping and accounting

The accounting and financial reporting may be in Swiss francs or a business-relevant currency (indicating all values in CHF as well). The act prescribes that the balance sheet and the income statement of all entities concerned require a minimum structure and for the notes an extended minimum content.

 

Valuations must be made prudently, without obstructing a reliable assessment of the financial situation. Hidden reserves (even arbitrary ones) continue to be acceptable. However, when recognizing an asset, the principle of acquisition or manufacturing  cost remains applicable. Generally, the principle of individual valuation applies.

 

The financial reporting for larger entities subject to an ordinary audit also includes a cash-flow statement, supplementary disclosures in the notes and a Management report.

Recognized accounting standards set in law

For the first time, so-called recognized accounting standards have been included in the law. These comprise Swiss GAAP FER, IFRS for SME, IFRS, US GAAP and IPSAS. The FINMA's provisions on accounting are equivalent to these. Listed companies, cooperatives with more than 2000 members and foundations subject to an ordinary audit must submit their financial statements according to one of these standards.

Obligation to prepare consolidated financial statements

Consolidated accounts must be prepared if a company controls one or several entities. Associations, foundations and cooperatives may delegate this duty to a controlled entity.

 

No consolidated accounts must be prepared in the following cases:

 

  • If two of the three following criteria – balance sheet total of CHF 20m, revenues of CHF 40m, 250 FTEs – have not been exceeded for two financial years in a row at consolidated level;
  • The controlling parent company submits consolidated accounts prepared and audited according to an equivalent accounting standard.

 

The consolidated financial statements of most companies continue to be subject to the principles of orderly financial reporting.

Transitional provisions to take into account

According to the transitional provisions, the accounting and reporting requirements become applicable for the financial year that starts two years after the Law has entered into force. For most companies, this should be the case for the 2015. However, early adoption of the provisions is possible.

Which challenges should you expect?

  • Implementing the new requirements on accounting and disclosure

  • Understanding the options and the room to manoeuvre each one offers

  • Preparing a cash-flow statement and Management report for larger entities

  • Preparing additional financial statements as per a recognized standard for large cooperatives and foundations

How can KPMG support you?

Our subject-matter experts dispose of in-depth knowledge on the different accounting standards, understand industry-specific challenges and support you with their wealth of hands-on experience.

 

We can help clear up issues in regard to applying a standard and during the implementation of the new accounting requirements and can help master all ensuing opportunities and implications.

Prof. Reto Eberle

Prof. Reto Eberle

Partner, Audit DPP, Swiss Certified Accountant

+41 58 249 42 43

Reto Zemp

Reto Zemp

Partner, Audit DPP, Swiss Certified Accountant

+41 58 249 53 04

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