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Understanding the Annual Audit Season in the UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a dynamic and diverse market that offers many opportunities for businesses and investors. However, operating in the UAE also comes with certain challenges and obligations, especially when it comes to financial reporting and auditing. The annual audit season in UAE is a period when companies are required to submit their financial statements and reports to the relevant authorities for review and verification. In this article, we will explain what an annual audit is, why it is important, and how to prepare for it in the UAE.

What Is An Annual Audit?

An annual audit is a comprehensive review of an entity’s financial records to verify whether they comply with applicable laws, regulations, and standards. An annual audit is conducted by an independent auditor, who is a qualified professional with expertise in accounting, auditing, and financial reporting. The auditor examines the entity’s financial statements, accounting policies, internal controls, transactions, and other relevant documents, and issues an audit report that expresses an opinion on the fairness and accuracy of the financial statements.

Why Is An Annual Audit Important?

An annual audit is important for several reasons, such as:

  • It is a legal requirement for all companies in the UAE, whether they are in the mainland or in the free zones. The authorities that require the submission of the audited financial statements include the Ministry of Economy, the Federal Tax Authority, the Department of Economic Development, and the respective free zone authorities. Failing to comply with this requirement can result in penalties, fines, or even suspension of the business license.
  • It assures the stakeholders of the entity, such as shareholders, creditors, regulators, customers, and suppliers, that the financial information presented by the entity is reliable and trustworthy.
  • It helps the entity to identify and rectify any errors, fraud, or irregularities in its financial records, and to improve its financial performance and governance.
  • It enables the entity to comply with the legal and regulatory requirements of the UAE, such as the Commercial Companies Law, the VAT Law, the Economic Substance Regulations, and the Anti-Money Laundering Laws.
  • It enhances the reputation and credibility of the entity in the market and facilitates its access to financing, investment, and business opportunities.

Audit and Reporting Requirements under UAE Commercial Companies Law

Companies that are registered on the mainland in the UAE are subject to the Commercial Companies Law, which is the main legislation governing the corporate sector in the country. According to Article 27 of the new UAE Commercial Companies Law, Federal Law No. 32 of 2021 every Joint Stock Company or Limited Liability Company shall:

  • Have one or more auditors audit the accounts of the Company yearly. 
  • Prepare annual financial accounts including the balance sheet and the profit and loss account. 
  • Apply the International Accounting Standards and Practices upon preparing its periodical and annual accounts, to give a clear and accurate idea of the profits and losses thereof.

Free Zone Companies

Companies that are operating in free zones have to comply with the specific requirements of their respective free zones. Each free zone has its authority and regulations that may differ from the mainland. Therefore, free zone companies should consult with qualified auditors to find out the exact audit and reporting obligations that apply to them.

How to Prepare For an Annual Audit in the UAE?

Preparing for an annual audit in the UAE can be a daunting and time-consuming task, but it can be made easier by following some guidelines, such as:

  • Plan and communicate with the auditor. 

The entity should start preparing for the audit at least a few months before the end of the financial year, and contact the auditor to discuss the scope, timeline, and expectations of the audit. The entity should also provide the auditor with all the necessary information and documents, such as the financial statements, the accounting policies, the contracts, the invoices, the bank statements, the tax returns, and the supporting evidence for the transactions and balances.

  • Maintain proper and accurate records. 

The entity should ensure that its financial records are complete, consistent, and up-to-date, and that they reflect the true and fair view of its financial position and performance. The entity should also implement effective internal controls and procedures to prevent and detect any errors, fraud, or misstatements in its financial records.

  • Review and reconcile the accounts. 

The entity should perform regular reviews and reconciliations of its accounts, such as the cash, the receivables, the payables, the inventory, the fixed assets, the equity, and the revenue and expenses. The entity should also identify and resolve any discrepancies, adjustments, or provisions that may affect the accuracy and completeness of its accounts.

  • Seek professional advice and assistance.

 The entity should consult with a qualified and experienced auditor, accountant, or tax consultant, who can provide guidance and support on the financial reporting and auditing standards, the legal and regulatory requirements, and the best practices applicable in the UAE. 

By following these guidelines, the entity can prepare for an annual audit in the UAE efficiently and effectively, and benefit from the insights and recommendations of the auditor. 

What are the Benefits of an Annual Audit in UAE?

An annual audit in the UAE can provide many benefits for the companies, such as:

  • It can help the company to comply with the legal and regulatory requirements of the UAE and to avoid any penalties or sanctions for non-compliance.
  • It can help the company to improve its financial management and performance by identifying and resolving any issues or weaknesses in the financial systems and processes of the company.
  • It can help the company to enhance its transparency and accountability by providing reliable and credible financial information to the stakeholders and the public.
  • It can help the company to gain a competitive edge and to attract more opportunities for growth and expansion by demonstrating its financial stability and credibility to potential investors, partners, customers, and suppliers.

Why choose Farahat & Co. for Annual Audit in the UAE

The annual audit season in UAE is an important and mandatory process for all companies registered in the country. An annual audit can help the entity to enhance its financial transparency and accountability, comply with the laws and regulations of the UAE, and to achieve its business goals and objectives. To prepare for an annual audit, the entity should choose the top Audit Firm in Dubai, such as Farahat & Co., prepare and organize the documents and information, and cooperate with the auditor throughout the audit process. If you need more information or assistance regarding the annual audit in the UAE, please contact us today.

Ervee is a CPA with international experience in Tax and Accounting. He has over 12 years of experience in accounting and bookkeeping and over a year in VAT implementation, registration, and accounting in UAE. He regularly drives out inefficiencies in company operations and loves the challenge of helping clients find additional ways for an easier and improved compliance and verification of transactions.