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Five Essential Rules to Keep Your Books in Tip-Top Shape

Keeping good records is key to smooth sailing for small businesses. To meet these requirements, small business owners and bookkeepers should check out these five simple principles to help you stay on top of things:

  1. Cover All Bases: Keep records for every stage of your business – from starting up to closing down. Make sure you document all expenses, whether they’re for business or personal use. It’s all about having the right info handy when you need it.

  2. Keep It Secure and Honest: Protect the integrity of your records. Avoid making any changes and store them securely to prevent damage. If you update your record-keeping system, be ready to reconstruct the original data if needed.

  3. Know the Retention Rules: Generally, hold onto your records for at least five years. Some records might need to be kept longer, depending on legal requirements. Have a plan for how you’ll destroy old digital records and be prepared to show it if asked.

  4. Make Sure They’re Accessible: Be ready to provide your records when requested. Keep your record-keeping system info handy to show you’re compliant. Your records should include all the details needed for your tax, super, and employer obligations.

  5. Digital Data Tips: If you store data digitally, be prepared to provide encryption keys and access instructions. Ensure data can be converted into standard formats like Excel or CSV. If you use passwords, include instructions for access. Organise your data with clear labels or indexes to make finding and reviewing info a breeze.

*Language: Businesses must ensure that their records are either in English or easily convertible to English.

By following these tips, you’ll keep your records in tip-top shape and make life easier for both you and your bookkeeper!

Source: Institute of Certified Bookkeepers and ATO – Overview of record keeping rules for business

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