According to the Swiss Code of Obligations, only public companies were compelled to submit audited accounts until 2008. However, starting 2008 the Audit Law provisioned all legal entities except for sole traders and Swiss partnerships are required to have their accounts audited. The new Swiss Audit Law establishes different audit requirements depending on the type of company. Swiss small and medium-sized enterprises benefit from limited audit requirements.
The Swiss legislation enabled three types of audits to be performed on companies. These types of audits are:
The regular audit provisioned by Article 727 in the Code of Obligations applies to Swiss companies listed on the Stock Exchange, companies with a minimum annual turnover of 20 million CHF, companies with a balance sheet of at least 10 million CHF and Swiss companies with 50 full-time employees on an annual basis.
Limited audits apply to all types of Swiss companies that are not subject to regular audits, while companies with less than 10 full-time employees may opt for not having their accounts audited if the Swiss shareholders decide so.
With respect to other types of legal entities, such as cooperatives, associations and foundations, the main audit requirements as set out in the Swiss Commercial Code.
For companies with the obligation of filing statements of their audited accounts, the statutory financial statement must be prepared and filed by the Swiss company’s board of directors within six months after the end of the financial year. Also, the shareholders must approve the accounts during the annual general meeting. Swiss private companies are not required to make their audited financial statements public. Non-consolidated financial statements must be filed with the annual tax return with the Swiss tax authorities.
Foreign companies with business activities in Switzerland must abide by the national auditing standards or by the International Standards on Auditing, if the subsidiary or branch office must report to the parent company abroad.
For complete information about the Audit Law and for audit services please contact our law firm in Switzerland.
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