All enterprises need to keep accounts. We distinguish between two large categories of enterprises:

  • SMEs, which need to keep a full set of accounts using the double-entry principle, could opt to submit their accounts in an abbreviated form
  • Large businesses, which need to submit their annual accounts in full

Accounting documents, as well as all documents that allow the amount of taxable income to be determined, need to be retained for a period of 7 years following the taxable period to which these documents correspond.

Accounting Obligations for SMEs

Small and medium-sized enterprises are those enterprises which have legal personality and have not employed more than 100 persons (annual average) or exceeded more than one of the following ceilings for the last two financial years:

  • Average annual staff: 50 people
  • Annual turnover: 9,000,000 € (excl. VAT)
  • Total assets: € 4,500,000

In all cases, companies with more than 100 employees are considered large enterprises.

SMEs must keep full accounts, through a system of books and accounts, in full compliance with the existing rules of double accounting.
The accounts opened must be included in a system of accounts corresponding to the nature of your activity.

At least once a year, you must make an inventory of all your assets, receivables, debts, obligations, etc. The annual accounts, including the balance sheet, profit and loss accounts and notes, must present a true and fair view of the company’s assets and earnings.

Small and medium-sized enterprises have the possibility of drawing up their annual accounts according to a shortened legal framework.

These annual accounts must be deposited with the National Bank for publication within 30 days of their approval by the General Assembly. A balance sheet must be added to the annual accounts. It provides an overview of:

  • the number of staff at the balance sheet date;
  • movements of personnel;
  • the number of workers affected by an employment promotion measure;
  • by type of employment contract, the number of persons who have received training at the expense or at the request of the company.

For more information on the specific aspects of the annual accounts (including complete and abbreviated schemes as well as the free software Sofista), please visit the National Bank website. Sofista is a software developed by the National Bank of Belgium that allows to establish annual accounts and validate them in the form of a structured data file.