Are You Spending Too Much On Document Storage?

Attach Files to Your Financial Data

By law, the Australian Taxation Office (“ATO”) requires you to keep business records for five years after they are prepared, obtained or the transactions completed, whichever occurs the latest.

In many instances you will need to keep business records longer, for example, if the information from those records is used in a later tax return, such as, losses carried forward or fixed asset details for capital gains tax purposes. Other regulatory bodies may have different record keeping requirements, particularly regarding how long they should be kept.

There are penalties for not maintaining the required records and keeping them for the requisite timeframe.

How much do you spend on document storage to meet tax office requirements?


  • how much space it takes up in paid storage facilities to keep 5 to 7 years worth of documents to meet tax office requirements when you might be able to pay for a smaller storage space
  • how much employee time is involved in sorting the documents for storage, transporting them to storage, and then removing them from storage once the time is up
  • what if you need to refer to a document in storage? What is the cost of retrieval – consider staff time and travel costs

The ATO allows you to keep your records electronically. In NAT 3029-05.2011 the ATO clearly states that they accept the imaging of business paper records onto an electronic storage medium.

In a previous blog I talked about the benefits of using third party providers to electronically extract information from invoices and receipts and code them direct to your accounting software whilst maintaining an image of the invoice or receipt on file.

If you don’t want to go the whole hog and automate data extraction from your invoices, one accounting package, Xero, now enables you to attach invoices and other documents, (for example, loan documentation, fixed asset paperwork, contractual information), directly into the accounting software via drag and drop, or attach. You can even attach several documents to one transaction.

Why is this important – apart from the already alluded to storage facility cost savings?

Used effectively, with all supplier invoices, loan documentation etc. attached to the appropriate transaction, your accountant or bookkeeper can easily view the invoice and obtain the details they require. No more to-ing and fro-ing between you and your accountant, no more double or triple-handling (and consequent cost escalations) as your accountant or bookkeeper puts down the work they had started pending receipt of the paperwork from you.

Take a look at the video and see how easy it is to attach documents in Xero and reduce costs by saving on storage space, storage fees, employee, accounting and bookkeeping costs whilst at the same time making it oh-so-easy to retrieve a document to view its contents.

Scanning For Gain

The advent of browser based bookkeeping is changing the way businesses record financial transactions.

Why so?

Because, beyond the ability to manage your business anytime, anywhere, from any device with internet access, it offers so much more.

Which is why businesses need to be aware of opportunities such as replacing manual data entry of supplier invoices and POS dockets with electronic solutions that integrate with your bookkeeping package and do the data entry for you.


By scanning the invoice or docket, extracting the relevant data (such as the supplier name, date, invoice number, currency, tax, amount etc.) and electronically transferring it to your bookkeeping system along with the scanned image, already coded.

Imagine you (or your employee) need reimbursement for expenses purchased on a personal credit card. The transaction can be electronically identified as having been paid for with a personal credit card, the data extracted and submitted as an expense claim, already allocated to the appropriate expense account and tax code, ready to be authorised and reimbursed.

And the scanned image available in two places so you can comfortably throw away the docket thus minimising the time taken to file, and the longer term costs of storage.

Sound too good to be true? it’s not. It’s here, and why you need to know about it is because solutions like these produce savings and efficiency gains by lessening the burden of data entry and minimising employee or external bookkeeping costs and document storage fees.

All of which means you have more time to focus on money making activities rather than being bogged down in admin.