Nearly all the corporations and foundations known to our legislation must keep accounting records. In addition, a natural person engaged in business or professional activities must keep records on these activities. The general accounting norms applicable to any reporting entity can be considered to be the Accounting Act and Accounting Ordinance, the development of which lies on the Business Law Division of the Working Life and Markets Department of the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Furthermore, there are special accounting provisions included in a number of special acts.
The present Accounting Act of 1997 is based on the fourth and seventh EC company law Directives, i.e. the so-called Annual Accounts and Group Accounts Directives. Following their titles, they govern the contents of financial statements, while current accounting basically remains subject to national regulation. The general task of financial statements is considered to be giving a right and sufficient picture of the return on the activities of the reporting entity and on its financial status.
International development is leading to increased international harmonization of financial statements. The EU Council of Ministers adopted in June 2002 the so-called IAS Regulation, which obliges the Member States’ publicly listed companies to draft the consolidated profit and loss accounts in accordance with international accounting standards (IAS standards). Member States may also freely decide on a wider scope of the Regulation and thereby of the standards concerned.
The Accounting Board operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Employment and the Economy is to give instruments and opinions on the application of the Accounting Act. The Board may also, for a special reason, grant exemptions from certain statutory provisions of the Accounting Act for a fixed period of time. The Board’s general guidelines, published opinions and exemptions are available on the website of the Accounting Board.
- Accounting Act (1336/1997) and Accounting Ordinance (1339/1997)
- Ordinance on the Accounting Board (784/1973)
- A number of decisions by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, available in Finnish and Swedish only