Keeping your Documents
Registered Charities are required to keep their financial documentation for seven years, and as we are increasingly doing things ‘in the cloud’, such documents are now often kept electronically.
It is important to note that cloud storage facilities, such as Microsoft Office 365, Dropbox, or Google Drive make no promises that they will keep your documents for such a timeframe. All these are private companies, and in the case of failure of any of these companies, your documents there may be lost. This also applies to Xero, as more and more organisations attach their documents to the transaction.
Some accounting software, such as MYOB Account Right, by default purges accounting records from previous years, i.e. individual transactions are no longer accessible. You may also have problems if you change accounting software.
This means that storage on either a local computer and/or a flashdrive or similar is required to meet your 7-year requirement. This applies to actual receipts as well as your accounting records.
In terms of accounting records, you need to make sure that you have a copy of your General Ledger stored locally for the last seven years. Electronic receipts for purchases, as well as for income items such as grant letters, membership registers etc also need to have a locally stored copy, even if you have these uploaded into the ‘cloud’.