back to article Months late, unaudited: ZX Spectrum reboot firm files accounts

ZX Spectrum reboot firm Retro Computers Ltd has filed unaudited accounts at Companies House – and they offer few clues as to where the £513,000 of crowdfunded cash for its Vega+ product has gone. The abbreviated micro-entity accounts appear to show that the company had assets of £417,888 in the financial year to 30 March 2016 …

  1. Andy The Hat Silver badge


    Do Companies House actually accept accounts like that as official filings?

    If so I'm going to start writing some ... I've got an old fag packet somewhere ...

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: Accounts?

      If anybody would like to crowdfund my FTL drive powered by the perpetual motion of one hand clapping in time to the The Longines Symphonette I'd be very happy to relieve you of your money.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Accounts?

        Sorry, UKIP's Paul Nuttall invented that about the same time he discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun.

    2. Snar

      Re: Accounts?

      The new fag packets in Cancer Green are impossible to write on. Even the manufacturers haven't got space amidst warning and horrible pictures to adorn the packets with their logo....

      But at least one design has a picture of what looks like Farage with tubes hanging out of his mouth about to kick the bucket. We can only dream....

    3. Adam 52 Silver badge

      Re: Accounts?

      Yes. It's known as the small company exemption. They tell you enough to know that the company is solvent, or was when the balance sheet was drawn up, which is all Companies House really care about. Shareholders may always call for an audit if they're unhappy (and are prepared for the company to incur audit costs).

    4. Vince

      Re: Accounts?

      They look perfectly ok to me!

      And for the benefit of The Reg, they’ll not be audited because they’re under the threshold where auditing is required, and like any other business in such a position you don’t get them audited if it isn’t required, there’s no benefit, just a massive cost.

      1. VinceH

        Re: Accounts?

        "And for the benefit of The Reg, they’ll not be audited because they’re under the threshold where auditing is required"


        Also: The El Reg article dated 29th March 2016, "Monster crowdfunding total raised for Sinclair ZX Spectrum Vega+" - which is the nearest article on this to the year end date those accounts relate to, states that at that point £366,665 was raised. Unless the other £150,000ish was raised in the space of the remaining day of the accounting period1, then you wouldn't expect to see the whole £513,000 raised reflected in them.

        The company has clearly wronged the people that have stumped up cash, but a little accuracy goes a long way - questioning why the £513,000 is missing from the accounts when a huge chunk of that was almost certainly raised after the accounting date and therefore can't possibly be reflected in them is massively unhelpful.

        Also, part 2. I'm not sure what to make of this comment in the article:

        "Both the "net assets" and "capital" entries in the accounts contain the same figure of £54,882"

        It's a balance sheet - they're supposed to be the same.

        What that balance sheet tells us is that figure increased by £64,628 from the previous year. That could be the net profit they declared for not-quite-a-year ending 30/3/2016 - but there could be other changes in there as well. (Other figures reflected in the 'capital' section would be the share capital, for example).

        1. If you're going to look into a company's filing to ponder any oddities, this is something that you should have picked up on and questioned, for a start. In December 2016, they filed form AA01 to change the accounting period from 31st March to 30th March. Why?

        My (possibly wild) speculation: IIRC, Indiegogo collects from 'backers' at the end of the funding period - which in this case was apparently 27th March, 2016. Given that this will be by credit and debit card payments, processing may take a few days - and I can't see them paying the people who ran the campaign until that has complete. I wonder, therefore, if the date the money was paid to Retro Computing Ltd was - tada! - 31st March?

        If so, precisely none of the money would be reflected in these accounts.

        However, as I said, that may be wild speculation.

        1. bobmajors

          Re: Accounts?

          "Current Assets" are not just ready cash but also anything that can readily be converted into cash in the next 12 months such as stock, debts and especially the forthcoming Indiegogo payment.

          It might be misleading, but that may be the intention when the former directors are saying the reason for the split was down to the dire financial situation they were in.

          1. VinceH

            Re: Accounts?

            That's also a valid point. The £366,500 raised on Indiegogo could very easily be included in that current assets figure of £417,888. However, if that was so you'd expect the liabilities to reflect it as well (because these are unfulfilled sales), so that figure would have to be at least £366,500 - but it's slightly lower. I therefore suspect that isn't the case.

            However, this is all just speculation, so *shrugs*

        2. katrinab Silver badge

          Re: Accounts?

          "In December 2016, they filed form AA01 to change the accounting period from 31st March to 30th March. Why?"

          That's easy. If you change the accounting date, you get 3 months from the date of filing the AA01, or 9 months from the date on the AA01, whichever is later, to file the accounts, so instead of having to file accounts by 31st December, they get until sometime in March to file them.

    5. The accountants

      Re: Accounts?

      No, but unless it gets flagged no one would question it. However on this occasion I don't think that's going to be the case

  2. Anonymous South African Coward Bronze badge

    *spock eyebrows*

  3. liamprincetech

    Referring to RCL's statement on Facebook

    Please would The Register care to comment on the statement posted up on RCL's Facebook page 13/4/17?

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Referring to RCL's statement on Facebook

      The one where the remaining director claims he has absolutely no idea about what happened to the stock, sales, or money when all three were there.

      I guess the comment would be "pull the other plonker, it's got bells on it" like most people's.

  4. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    £513,000 in crowdfunded cash from 5,000 members of the general public

    So 5000 people put ,on average, £100 into the idea of one day maybe getting a toy ZX spectrum?

    I'm in the wrong business...

    I'm guessing before long the company will email them all a link to a freeware emulator and say "There you go , obligations met"

  5. Old Timer


    I can answer that question.

    Companies with turnover (sales) less than £6M in a 12 month period do not need their accounts audited.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Unaudited

      It is now £10.2m, it went up last year, but it is two out of three criteria, the others are £5.1m assets and 50 employees.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What a complete waste of time that was.

    Just get a GPD WIN Handheld Win10 console, then you can play any emulator that runs on the Windows platform, you're not just limited to one.

    1. Steve Todd

      Re: What a complete waste of time that was.

      Erm, that (1) costs £400, and (2) isn't yet available. Any more bright ideas?

      1. MrRimmerSIR!

        Re: What a complete waste of time that was.

        In stock for £300 from Banggood:

        1. Danny 14

          Re: What a complete waste of time that was.

          Cheap chinapad will emulate all sorts of guff. Mine even plays playstation stuff.

        2. Steve Todd

          Re: What a complete waste of time that was. @MrRimmerSIR

          So you MIGHT get it for £300, but chances are customs won't buy the $20 declared value and you'll be stung for import charges and VAT at a minimum. It's still an expensive solution in comparison to the Vega+

  7. Zog_but_not_the_first

    Same old...?

    Hype up, float, exit, retire...

  8. LisaJK

    I'm thinking of setting up a company to build Austin Allegros or maybe Morris Marinas, they were both crap, are now completely obsolete and were badly built too!

    Why would anyone want to pay money for something which was crap and badly built in its day??? Not to mention that it can be emulated far better on almost any modern platform for free!

    1. davidp231

      Just beware of falling pianos.

    2. David Given

      Don't dis the speccy! Those things were *brilliant*. The wedge shaped design made them perfect door wedges --- those rubber keys gripped the floor like nobody's business...

    3. david bates

      Someone has beaten you to it.....

  9. Spartacus Mills

    mystery machine

    so many unanswered questions about this whole campaign. I'm most intrigued about the curious "threats of violence" which have been plaguing the project virtually since day one, according to RCL. I mean is this a handheld nostalgia device for aging speccy geeks, or some top secret international espionage mission that even 007 would pee his pants in fear over? ridiculous.

  10. katrinab Silver badge

    Why are they not audited?

    Presumably because the company is "small", and if they are filing micro-entity accounts, they are "micro" which is the next size down from that.

    They are micro if two out of the following three apply:

    10 employees or fewer

    Sales less than £632,000

    Assets of less than £316,000 or less

    They are obviously above the micro limits on assets, but below the "small" limits (£5.1m), so they must be below micro on the other two.

  11. Horaced

    "Leave it out Terry. Don't want them nasty numbers fogging up our business. What you want is transparency. Like me. I'm straight up I am. Straighter than straight. Look at these hands, steady as a rock. See? Even a dab hand at Chess in my day. 'Arthur', they said to me, 'Arthur. Come sit over here, show us your deft of 'and skills.' A real showman in my day. Smooth I was. A magician's dream. Oh no, you show me one progressive ledger and I'II show you how to disappear that double quick time!"

  12. Anonymous Coward

    In fairness...

    I have lost £120 in far less entertaining circumstances than this. It's the price of a possibly decent meal out in London. I'm not going to fret too much...

  13. Davegoody

    Gareth Corfield is somewhat Biased here...

    Whilst I am NOT a backer of this project, I have friends who are, and it's obvious there are MAJOR problems with legal wrangling, which is being instigated by the former directors. The whole point of a KickStarter and allied Crowd-Funding sites, is that you are backing a concept, and there is no guarantee of getting a piece of hardware at the end. I am confident that the hardware exists, but until the legals are sorted out, this is going to run and run..... If you cant' afford the investment, don't risk it ! - Just like playing the stock-market.

    1. Spartacus Mills

      Re: Gareth Corfield is somewhat Biased here...

      "there is no guarantee of getting a piece of hardware at the end. "

      In that case why does RCL's indiegogo page emphatically state in black and white that for a specific sum of money (£100) all backers will "own" a specific piece of hardware (a Vega+)?

      If the whole idea of crowdfunding is basically the 'hit and hope' type venture you describe then surely they should've said "please donate as much or as little as you can spare and then if you're lucky you *might* get something back at the end".

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The 400,000 was submitted as the gross value of stock of the vega removed from the distributor. Any normal company would have only valued assets at production cost and this figure should only have been 160,000. Which questions why the figures were inflated other than to show liquidity of the company in comparison to debt. In fact RCL at that time excluding the vega+ revenue which was supposed to be ring fenced was running insolvent and if the statement of funds being protected was genuine then it still is.

    However as reports today suggest £140,000 of backers money was paid to their debtors and wages have been taken as well so it would be true at this stage to say that nothing being reported is true and the sooner there is an investigation into the financial dealings of this company the better.

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