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  • Electronic record keeping

    Once set up, electronic record-keeping packages can save you time.

    How to choose

    There are hundreds of packages available. Some are designed for specific business types. Here are some things to consider:

    • recording sales, voids, refunds and exchanges (per employee, over a period of time)
    • tracking and managing stock, work in progress, customers' orders, jobs or other task management requirements
    • producing invoices and receipts
    • payroll requirements, including wages, annual leave, long service leave
    • managing multiple bank accounts or businesses/franchises
    • dealing with foreign currency
    • doing budgets or forecasting cash flow
    • getting regular reports
    • back-up processes and security.

    If you have a registered agent, invest in a package that is compatible with their software.

    Electronic systems vary in complexity. We recommend you search online reviews to make sure the product meets your needs. You can also use our Software Developers Product Register to search for tax-related software products that meet our requirements and are commercially available.

    See also:

    ATO app

    The ATO app is free and suitable if you have simple requirements. It can help:

    • individuals or sole traders    
      • record and manage car trips, expenses, and other deductions on the go using myDeductions
      • upload financial year deductions within the ATO app myDeductions tool to the ATO for pre-filling your tax return or email it to a tax agent.
    • check Australian business numbers (ABN) using ABN Lookup.

    See also:


    Electronic record-keeping software will help you:

    • increase the quality of your business management and record keeping
    • track sales and expenditure
    • streamline your accounting practices
    • increase compliance with your tax obligations
    • automatically tally amounts and provide ready-made reports
    • develop summaries and reports for GST and income tax purposes
    • report some information to us online (if the package meets our requirements), for example your activity statement
    • use less physical storage space
    • back up records and keep them in a safe place in case of flood, fire or theft.

    If we ask you for copies of records you keep electronically, you can provide either electronic or printed copies. We may also request documentation from your computer system or ask that you provide us with paper copies.

    Managing your records

    A few things to remember:

    • records must not be manipulated or altered
    • if you change your system, you still need to be able to access the original data
    • you don't need to keep paper records, unless a particular law or regulation requires a paper copy.

    Backups and security

    You must keep your computer system secure and accurate. It's vital to have a good back-up procedure for computer files and programs with external off-site storage. This generally ensures records can be recovered if something unexpected happens.

    You must also be able to show that you have control over:

    • access to your computer, for example through the use of passwords
    • incoming and outgoing information
    • processing of information.

    See also:

    • TR 2018/2 Income tax: record keeping and access - electronic records
    Last modified: 01 Mar 2018QC 42998