Since 2015 it has reinforced: The principles to ensure the due maintenance and preservation of books, records and documents in electronic form, as well as for data access (GoBD). The need for action is enormous, especially in small businesses. While the auditor this year still saw about one or another deficiency in the implementation of time, should be considered “armed” from 2016th

One trend is unmistakable: Paper is increasingly losing its authenticity. So all electronically obtained or electronically generated documents are electronically archived since 2015. Here, the extent of the documentary evidence extends to all documents that fall under the accounting and record keeping requirements. The electronic archiving has to guarantee immutability and re-visualization within the next 10 years. Is quite clear, the PDF copy on the hard disk can no longer afford it.

Whether for this purpose a write-once optical data storage provides adequate security or whether an electronic archive with separate data storage of documents is necessary, the tests in the next time will show. So far, the information obtained here is contradictory.

And to the documents electronically generated not only include sales invoices, which are perhaps already booked on a financial accounting system. This also includes all VAT returns, pay slips, statements of contributions paid, or wage tax returns, just everything is created electronically, this can go up to the simple Excel file.

But to the documents electronically archived include the purchase invoices received electronically. If you get purchase invoice via PDF attachment in the email, you must necessarily the email including PDF Appendix archive. And of course, the archived email must be made visible yet again for the next 10 years. Have another email client by then you might not be able to visualize the email again. That might cause a big problem.

Also the GoBD 2015 requires detailed bookings. Group bookings, such as “sales week 38” are no longer allowed, but the business partner must be recorded, traceable for each booking. Special solutions in the retail sector by the use of cash registers or in the taxi industry need special clarification.

Concretization calls once more, to make no reservation without evidence. If the booking lacks a proper document it must be created. But of course, it has to comply with the statutory provisions. The timely booking is now required, each non-cash transaction must be documented within 10 days.

Concretization also means uniqueness, each transaction must be recorded only once. It may no longer be booked once for taxes and again for business.

Concretization also means that adjusting entries are prohibited. False accounting records are to be canceled completely and to be corrected by proper accounting records.

Concretization means a stronger connection between operational processes and accounting. So the internal control system IKS has to ensure the business process, linked to an invoice received electronically, is documented from ordering to delivery. This applies even if the bookkeeping is outsourced to an external service provider or an external accountant.

Just as paper loses its character of evidence the focus shifts to the IT and data security becomes “mission critical”. When in doubt, the entrepreneur has to prove what precautions he has taken to secure the data.

And last but not least the financial authorities may require access to your financial accounting / ERP system in their sole discretion. And you as a business owner, you are also responsible, that tax authority by their login privileges cannot delete nor change data.

At the moment there is neither attestation nor certificate that can guarantee compliance with the 2015 GoBD. Therefore stay alert, working with common industry standard software, move away from customized solutions that are used only a few.

All right so far? Then discuss with us on the blog!