Types of control

Types of control in Switzerland

The Swiss ordinary control

An ordinary audit of the annual accounts of companies is conducted if the annual accounts for two successive years show that two of the applicable threshold values have been exceeded.

Three threshold values are defined by the 2012 revision law, namely:

  • Balance sheet total at CHF 20 million,
  • Turnover of 40 million and,
  • Full-time employees with an average annual headcount of 250.

An ordinary audit of the accounts is mandatory for companies in order to be able to present a consolidation of the accounts. It becomes mandatory following the request of shareholders holding at least 10% of the capital, this procedure is the opting-up.

In addition, the General Assembly or the statutes of the institutions may define the annual periodic conduct of an audit of accounts regardless of the size of the institution.

The full report of an ordinary audit is given to the Board of Directors, the General Assembly will receive a short summary.

No or limited Swiss control

The three criteria of necessity for control conduct in 2012 are not met by the majority of Swiss Small and Medium-sized Enterprises. A limited control of the accounts is therefore assigned to them. The limited audit serves as a summary report to the General Assembly.

Based on the certification of the balance sheet and the annual income statement, audits are carried out with checks on budget lines and analytical controls. Proposals for capitalization of profits are provided by the stakeholders under the control operation, opportunities that remain in compliance with the statutes and the laws and regulations of investments in force.

Three possibilities:

There are three options for requesting or waiving the conduct of an audit for those companies that are originally exempt from auditing:

  • If shareholders holding 10% or more of the capital so request, an ordinary audit of the accounts must be conducted, i.e. the opting-up;
  • For companies with less than 10 employees, the shareholders can unanimously request an opting-down, a partial conduct of the audit, or an opting-out, a complete renunciation of the conduct of the audit;
  • Borrowers and suppliers may, however, request an audit of the accounts, which is theopting-in.

Types of audit and the auditor

Generally speaking, every Swiss company must appoint an approved auditor who will be in charge of the annual audit of the accounts. Indeed, the law on auditing is applicable to all public limited companies, limited liability companies, cooperatives, joint stock companies, associations and foundations.

The size and economic scope of the firm define the guidelines for the review. As a result, some companies are subject to regular and limited reviews.

For greater integrity, it is preferable to use auditing services independent of fiduciary agents and management accounting consultants.

On the other hand, small companies are exempt from revision with the agreement of all shareholders.

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