What books and records should my company keep?

All companies must keep some form of written financial records that:

  • record and explain their financial position and performance, and
  • enable accurate financial statements to be prepared and audited.

This page gives some examples of records that your company should keep.

What is a 'financial record'?

Financial records can include:

  • invoices
  • receipts
  • cheques
  • books of prime entry
  • working papers and other financial documents.

These records can be electronic, but they must be able to be convertible into hard copy (for example: printed as paper copies).

Even if your records are held by someone else (like your accountant or registered agent), you, as a company officeholder, are still responsible for providing copies to auditors or anyone entitled to inspect your records.

Section 286 of the Corporations Act requires financial records to be kept for at least seven years after the transactions covered by the records are complete.

Examples of records your company should keep

Below are some examples of records and documents that your company should have:

Financial statements

This includes things like profit and loss statements, balance sheets, depreciation schedules and taxation returns.

General ledgers and journals

Electronic copies of critical documents

We'd recommend backing up your most critical business documents on a weekly or even daily basis.

Cash records

This includes cash receipts, records of bank deposits, petty cash books, and cheque butts.

Bank statements and loan documents

Sales and debtor records

Invoices and statements received and paid

This can include correspondence, annual returns, wage records, and superannuation records.

Any unpaid invoices

Minutes of members or directors' meetings

Any resolutions passed by directors or members should also be minuted.

Any relevant registers

This can include a register of members, options, debenture holders, assets or any other relevant items.

Deeds

This can be deeds of trust, debentures, contracts and agreements, or any inter-company transactions.

What else should I consider?

Companies should also consider preparing monthly statements to track financial performance and identify any risks. Some examples include:

A statement of comprehensive income

This provides an overview of the company's revenue and expenses, and the resulting profit/loss.

A statement of financial position

This provides an overview of the company's equity and also any debts it owes.

A statement of cash flows

This summarises any incoming and outgoing cash.

If you have any doubts about the type of records you should keep, we recommend getting advice from an accountant or business professional.

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Last updated: 27/01/2012 12:00