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Tips for keeping good records

These tips, tools and services will help your small business clients keep good records.

Last updated 19 July 2018

Good record keeping is critical to business success. To help your small business clients keep good records and avoid mistakes, let them know about our tips, tools and services.

Record-keeping tips

  • Keep all business records including income, expenses, bank and other goods and services tax (GST) records for five years (although some records need to be kept longer).
  • Records must contain enough information to calculate and support amounts claimed on activity statements and tax returns.
  • Business records need to include all cash, online, EFTPOS, bank statements, credit and debit card transactions.
  • Check the tax invoices received for purchases that include GST are valid.
  • Keep records that show when business purchases were used for private purposes – this will help work out the business portion that can be claimed as a deduction.
  • Keep business records separate from personal records to avoid confusion.
  • Take pictures of paper receipts to avoid faded records.
  • Store a copy of all records electronically and have a backup system in place, where possible.
  • If changes were made to the record keeping software used during the year, check that all information transferred over correctly.

See also:

Record-keeping tools

  • Record keeping evaluation tool – helps evaluate your client's record-keeping practices, to see if they're still on track.
  • myDeductions – tool in the ATO app which helps your sole trader clients with simple tax affairs record and track their business income, expenses and car trips. At tax time, they can email you a spreadsheet file (CSV format) or upload their records to us to pre-fill their tax return. If they upload, the data will be available to you through the practitioner lodgment service (PLS).

Record-keeping services