3 tips for good record-keeping from the ATO

A woman in a black shirt and wearing glasses uses a calculator at her desk.

Make good record-keeping a habit

Record-keeping is a crucial part of any business. In addition to meeting your tax and superannuation obligations, having good records will give you a more accurate picture of your business to help you understand how you are doing, so you can spot potential problems sooner rather than later.

Here are 3 tips to make sure your record keeping is on point.

1. Don't miss a thing

Keep accurate records of all business transactions to support your claims and make it easier for you, or your registered tax or BAS agent. For example:

  • all income (including cash, EFTPOS, credit or debit card, online sales and other payments you may receive)
  • expenses (such as operating expenses, business travel expenses, and payments you make to employees and contractors including any cash wages)
  • bank statements
  • records of business purchases or use of business stock for personal purposes (to help you work out the business portion to claim as a deduction, and to account for the stock used)

2. Tailor a system to your business

Good record keeping doesn’t have to be hard; find a system that works for you. Get it right from the beginning to avoid making mistakes, but if you realise you have made a mistake you can still fix it. Here are some ways to make keeping records easy:

  • keep records electronically (if possible)
  • keep evidence of all transactions
  • take pictures of your receipts to avoid faded records
  • keep all business records including income, expenses and bank records
  • keep your business records separate to your personal records

3. Use tools provided by the ATO

If you’re a sole trader with simple tax affairs, you can use the ATO app’s myDeductions tool to track your income and deductions throughout the year.

You can also use our Record-keeping evaluation tool to review your record-keeping practices from time to time and see if you're still on the right track.

Remember, without proper records you may not be able to claim what you're entitled to.

See Digital record-keeping for businesses for more information.