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Can I legally get hold of a franchisor’s company accounts?
The ability to obtain the franchisor’s accounts from the public record is dependant on the legal status of the franchisor - is it a limited company or some other trading entity, ie a partnership? All limited companies, no matter how small, have to file annual accounts with the Companies House Registrar. Annual accounts report on the performance and activities of the company during its financial year. Generally, accounts must include a profit and loss account, a balance sheet, an auditors’ report and a directors’ report. Medium and smaller sized companies may be able to file abbreviated and/or unaudited accounts, but these still include the balance sheets. Some franchisors may operate within a partnership structure. Unless the partnership is a limited liability partnership, there is no public source from which the accounts could be obtained. The same would also be true for sole traders. You should note, however, that limited liability partnerships have to file accounts in the same way as limited companies, and so those accounts could be obtained from Companies House for a small fee. You also need to consider that such financial information on file at Companies House is reasonably historic, as accounts can be filed up to 10 months from the end of a company’s financial year.
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