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What Is a Compliance Calendar?

Melissa Yeo

6 min read
Better Business

The repercussions of missing crucial deadlines extend beyond non-compliance and can even include hefty fines, lost revenues and opportunities, as well as decreased productivity.

What Is a Compliance Calendar?

The repercussions of missing crucial deadlines extend beyond non-compliance and can even include hefty fines, lost revenues and opportunities, as well as decreased productivity.

With a well-organised compliance calendar, you can avoid missing important deadlines and steer clear of unnecessary risks across your company. A compliance calendar allows you and your employees to make sure that deadlines are managed in a consistent and timely manner.

If you are up to your head in paperwork and it’s stopping you from growing your business to meet your vision, then we say, let us help you! Sure you can do everything on your own but you don’t have to. Part of entrepreneurship is to focus on what you’re great at, and let other people do the tasks you don’t enjoy. Our experienced company secretaries in Hong Kong can help you be on time with preparing necessary documents and filing them to the authorities. We’ve got this covered for you.

What Is A Compliance Calendar?

A compliance calendar is a critical tool that tracks and manages all of your business's required obligations, deadlines, regulatory requirements and related details to avoid incurring any fines or penalties due to missing information or late filings.

What Are The Dates I Have to Look Out For?

Date What to file? What’s happening?
April Profits tax return The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) will issue a profits tax return form to companies that are carrying out their business in Hong Kong. The company is required to submit a profits tax return within 1 month of receiving the notice.
April Employer’s return Similar to the profits tax return, IRD will issue the employer’s return on the first working day of April. You must submit your company’s employer’s return within 1 month of receiving the notice, for the year of assessment ended 31 March.
Within 42 days of incorporation Annual returns You have to submit the Annual Returns to Companies Registry.
Every year, or every three years (depending on your chosen renewal option) Business registration renewal You must renew your business registration at least 1 month before expiry every year, or once every 3 years if you had previously chosen the 3-year renewal option.
within 18 months from the date of incorporation, once every calendar year but not exceeding 15 months from your last AGM Annual General Meeting (AGM) Holding an AGM is mandatory and the financial report must be presented in compliance with Hong Kong Financial Reporting Standards (HKFRS).

Advantages Of Using A Compliance Calendar

  1. Increase Transparency

With a compliance calendar in place, you can effortlessly monitor the progress of compliance measures and increase visibility across the company. As a result, the management, stakeholders and board members stay informed and can help make sure that there are sufficient resources available for upcoming compliance measures.

  1. Improve Efficiency

Compliance calendars can keep information on how to fulfil specific tasks, knowledge from the previous time the task was finished, links to actual documents that are required, and more. As such, this process would speed up efficiency when the time to complete the task comes around. Furthermore, it also makes it easier to hand over the task to someone else, resulting in you and your staff having extra time to concentrate on other tasks.

  1. Prepare For Compliance Audits And Reports

An organised schedule for compliance initiatives allows your compliance auditors to see how your business is coping with each compliance obligation.

  1. Circulate Compliance Information Throughout The Organisation

Sometimes, your employee may fail to comply with an obligation as a result of ignorance. However, a compliance calendar can help educate your company on the applicable compliance measures and make sure all your employees are kept updated with the latest information.

  1. Improved Compliance

If you tend to overlook or forget a task, a compliance calendar is just the solution. Make use of automated reminders of upcoming deadlines so you will always be reminded. Also, a centralised compliance calendar allows for all your employees to keep track of upcoming due dates and make sure that the required tasks are finished.

Compliance Calendar Options

  1. Email Calendars

Your tasks can be managed in an Outlook Calendar. Nonetheless, this approach does not provide you with a clear overview of your regulatory requirements. As a result, your tasks may risk being overlooked, especially when there are upcoming birthdays or daily standup meetings that email calendars are generally used to track.

  1. Software

If your company is of a larger scale or in a highly regulated industry, using software could be the most ideal. Compliance calendar software allows you to manage an unlimited number of tasks, effortlessly communicate your company’s compliance status through reports and dashboards, send automated reminders when there are upcoming or assigned tasks, delegate task ownership throughout the company, and escalate notifications in the event of overdue tasks.

  1. Spreadsheet

Spreadsheets including Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel could be an option when the number of deadlines and responsible personnel is limited. However, when the number of tasks and responsible personnel increase, organising this data and upholding the spreadsheet’s integrity becomes challenging.

Best Practices For Developing Your Compliance Calendar

  1. Review Your Business’s Existing Compliance Manual

All businesses should already have an existing compliance manual. Use this as a starting point as you map out the year's compliance plan. Make sure that any new initiative or regulation is addressed by your business's policies. Additionally, check that on-the-ground compliance processes accurately show what is being outlined in the compliance manual.

  1. Look Into Your Overall Compliance Program

Scrutinise your current compliance program and assess how you can add enhancements to any oversight. Make use of this time to introduce new elements to address updated regulations, or remove elements that are no longer relevant to your business needs.

  1. Organise The Occurrence Of Tasks Based On The Needs Of Your Particular Industry

Your compliance calendar may include ongoing, monthly, quarterly or annual tasks. The occurrence should match your business obligations to regulators and internal processes. As for high-risk areas, more frequent compliance management may be required.

  1. Consider Automation

Automated software for compliance calendars can allow your company to transition from a calendar in software such as Excel and Outlook to a centralised database. This makes it easily accessible to compliance officers and appropriate users, so they can look into reports and make sure they meet your business needs and regulatory requirements.

  1. Implement And Maintain Your Compliance Calendar

Once you have done up your compliance calendar, disseminate this to your organisation. Be sure to provide training to your employees and educate them on how to access the compliance calendar and complete tasks etc. Set up recurring reminders or schedule a time for your employees to check the compliance calendar to review the upcoming deadlines.

Ensure your compliance calendar’s continued effectiveness by reviewing and updating it on an annual basis, when new equipment or processes are added, when personnel changes happen, when new permits are issued, or when requirements change.

What To Include In Your Compliance Calendar

The nature of your business and the kind of compliance dates your business faces would affect what you include in your compliance calendar. For different industries, filing timing and deadlines may be different – some are on an ongoing, monthly or quarterly basis.

On top of that, some business filing obligations such as permit renewals and licenses occur on an annual basis. A yearly compliance calendar can provide you with an overview of these important annual filing deadlines.

Other crucial dates to include in your calendar are annual report filing deadlines, filings for company meeting minutes and schedules, as well as any compliance-related special events.

Save Time, Free Your Mind And Focus On Your Business

We know how time-consuming it can be to stay compliant – outsource your company secretary needs to us so you can focus on what matters most to your business.

If you’re ready to take the next step, we also have expert accountants in Hong Kong who can advise what tax exemptions and tax reliefs your company is entitled to and help you file documents to the authorities on time. We organise your reports exactly the way the authorities need them to be filed.  

Don’t take our word for it though, try out for yourself today! Book a demo with our team, and let your accounting woes be a thing of the past!

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