Swiss accounting requirements

Swiss accounting and auditing requirements

All Swiss companies must register at the Swiss trade registry and have their accounting in order according to Swiss GAAP prepared by a Swiss accountant or Swiss CPA.
Swiss accounting regulations and chart of accounts
There is no official chart of accounts in Switzerland. Certain industries nonetheless are governed by Swiss accounting regulations and Swiss GAAP.
Companies can refer to principles defined by:
  • Swiss law
  • the Swiss audit manual
  • or by IAS or US-GAAP standards
The majority of companies, Swiss fiduciaires and Swiss accounting firms use a method designed by accounting profesor Käfer used by their Swiss accountant or Swiss CPA.
Annual reports
The management of every Swiss company are required to produce an annual report for each financial year (balance sheets, profit and loss accounts, notes to the balance sheet) and a management report.
Annual reports must include the turnover for the preceding financial year and must follow the principles of full disclosure, fair presentation, prudence, continuity, non-compulsion and rules against compensation.
Publishing results
In Switzerland, publication requirements are very limited. Only individual and consolidated financial statements of listed companies must be published.
Swiss audit requirements
No matter what type of company it is, there are three kinds of Swiss audit:
  • Ordinary mandatory audit: large companies are usually subject to audits;
  • Limited audit: if the company does not fulfill two of the three following requirements, it will be subject to a limited audit: a balance sheet of less than 20,000,000 CHF, a turnover of less than 40,000,000 CHF, fewer than 250 full time employees (1).
  • No mandatory audit: if a company subject to a limited audit employs fewer than 10 full time employees and all the shareholders (associates) are in agreement, it is not necessary to carry out an audit.
Physical persons or corporations can be appointed as auditor(2).
The auditing company is subject to stricter or less strict standards if the company it is auditing is undergoing an ordinary audit or a limited audit, respectively.*
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(1) Threshold values updated January 1, 2012
(2) The auditor must meet the requirements of professional competence and independence under Swiss law.