Record-keeping and accounting obligation


A business is either only obliged for record-keeping, or both record-keeping – and accounting.

A business that is only required for accounting purposes does not need to create an annual financial statement to be sent to the Register of Accounting. However, a business that is only subject to accounting must still keep an account in accordance with the accounting rules. This is used as a basis for completing the income statement, if any, business tax report for traders with simple tax matters, which must be delivered to the Tax Administration.

Accounting entities are obliged to prepare annual accounts that consist of at least the income, balance sheet and notes.

The accounting information must be publicly available. This means that the accounts has to be sent via Altinn to the Register of Records by July 31st. Units that, according to the Accounting Act, are defined as small enterprises, have simplified accounting rules, and therefore no requirement to prepare an annual report.

It is the organizational form, the size of the business or whether it is subject to supervision that determines whether it has an accounting obligation. The following companies have an accounting obligation:

  • All limited companies
  • General partnership companies (ANS, DA, etc.) who have;
    • NOK 5 million or more in operating revenues,
    • The number of employees who on average make up more than 5 man-years, or
    • More participants than 5, or
    • Participants in the form of legal persons with limited liability


  • Sole proprietorship that have
    • assets worth more than NOK 20 million, or
    • the number of employees who on average make up more than 20 man-years


  • Foreign Enterprises (NUF) who engage in or participate in activities and are liable to tax in Norway
  • Others who have separate accounting obligations


Where the accounting obligation depends on size limits, the accounting obligation will begin from the second year the limit has passed. In order for the accounting obligation to cease, you must come under the border for two consecutive years. The accounting obligation then expires from year two.

There is no requirement to have an external accountant, but it may be an advantage to ensure proper reporting of, for example, value added tax, tax and a-message (salary, etc.).

It is also advantageous for most businesses to have a professional accounting program.