Electronic record keeping

Electronic record-keeping packages can vary in complexity. You can create your own spreadsheet-based records or purchase commercially available software that may include wages, inventory and invoicing as well as accounting systems. If you select an electronic package:

  • choose a system that you can use and understand
  • know what you are required to do
  • keep your records secure.


The advantages of electronic record-keeping software are that it may:

  • automatically tally amounts and provide ready-made reports
  • produce invoices and provide summaries and reports for GST and income tax purposes
  • keep up with the latest tax rates and tax laws and rulings
  • allow you to report certain information, such as your activity statement, to us online (if the package meets our requirements)
  • require less physical storage space
  • allow you to back up records and keep back-ups in a safe place in case of flood, fire or theft
  • enable you to use your time more efficiently.


There are certain requirements you must meet if you keep your business records electronically. As with paper records, you must keep electronic records:

  • for five years after they are prepared, obtained or the transactions completed, whichever occurs latest
  • in English, or in a form that we can readily access and convert into English.

In addition, electronic records must be kept in a way that allows you to provide us with paper copies if we request them.

Keeping electronic records secure

You must be able to show the records kept on your computer system are secure and accurate. This includes having:

  • control over access to your computer, for example through the use of passwords
  • control over incoming and outgoing information
  • control over processing of information
  • back-up copies of computer files and programs and the ability to recover records if your computer system fails.

See also:

Last modified: 22 Jan 2016QC 42998