The Australian Taxation Office requires small businesses to keep business records for at least five years and the ATO should be able to access these when needed.
To help you set up a good record keeping system, you should first know what records you should keep and find out if your business is good at keeping these records. You should take note of your filing record procedure even if you task someone to do this for you.
All transactions that have financial elements are required to be kept including:
- copies of receipts and invoices provided for goods sold or services rendered;
- invoices for goods and services you purchase – including bills such as insurance, license fees and rent
- employee payments
- Payments to organisations on behalf of employees including PAYG tax and super funds
- financial statements such as
- balance sheet
- profit and loss statements
- tax return information
- bank account and credit card statements and
- end of year stocktake records and assets registered.
It is a good idea to keep a profit and loss budget and cash flow forecast records as well.
Other government departments also require business owners to keep records such as contracts, insurance agreements, legal documents, licenses and permits, employee records including time sheets, pay slips, safety records such as risk assessments for occupational health and safety, and other records such as a food safety plan for restaurant owners.
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