Management of accounting and fiscal documents in the digital age


Management of accounting and fiscal documents in the digital age

By Patrícia Guimarães

The management of business documents is undergoing a transition to digital. Although some companies see this as an effort and those are holding back from engaging in this process, this transition is inevitable and can no longer be postponed.

Even the pandemic is driving this process forward by imposing the electronic document flow to reduce the use of paper, a way to contain the risk of contamination by the coronavirus with its manual handling.

The consolidation of an entire fiscal and accounting digital environment format has also increased in recent times, contributing to this transformation in the means of sending documents and complying with obligations.

With the Public Digital Bookkeeping System (Sped), the printed files were replaced by the electronic ones, such as EFD, ECD, EFD-Contributions, ECF and EFD-Reinf events, reducing the papers related to this information.

These advances also lead to a faster and more automatic inspection, showing the importance of keeping the document collection organized and accessible. This good practice will also support the business while performing audits.

The current market demands efficiency and high performance combined with a strong policy of data security. Thus, measures that increase the streamlined processes and that promote a safe digital environment become important elements in the competitive differentiation of the business.

Information security is vital

Establishing procedures for accessing and storing files become easier by scanning, preventing information from flowing among unauthorized people and data and documents from being lost. This is where policies that will establish storage solutions, liability levels and periodic backups come in.

With the recent demands brought by the General Data Protection Law (Lei Geral de Proteção de Dados - “LGPD”), thinking about efficient and safer ways to store and use the data that a company handle becomes even more urgent.

Thus, a governance structure for privacy and data protection should be established defining processes, policies and systems proving that the organization complies with normative premises and new market positions.

Which documents should be maintained?

Which documents should be maintained in the company in printed or electronic format? How long is it necessary to store each kind of record?

  • Find here the temporality and document storage table.

  • All documents that are not electronically issued must be physically filed. All this material can be requested in inspections, so it is recommended to keep one file per month/year properly mapped in an easily identifiable list.

    On the other hand, the digital documents stored in the cloud are not required to be printed, as they will be made available based on corporate demand or by inspection agents’ requests.

    The legislation making official the electronic documents as proof remained unchanged, but, in practice, the keeping printed evidence has fallen into disuse and has not been required in inspections.

    However, it is necessary to observe the terms of Law 12,682/2012, which establishes that only the document containing a digital signature has the same evidential value as the original document for all purposes.

    The loss or non-storing documents for the established period subjects the company to the risk of having to pay a certain tax once more or even of being under a penalty, if the proof requested by any inspection is not presented.

    Tax and accounting documents

    The storage of documents that assure the company’s tax compliance and those that prove the operations and modify its assets and financial situation should be planned.

    Companies must keep documents related to taxes, including collection forms, accounting documents, invoices, tax and accounting journals, in addition to reports submitted to the Tax Authorities.

    The specialized guidelines is that all financial transactions, received and issued invoices and service agreements should be digitally stored for a five-year period.

    It is worth noting that, in Sped, the documents are registered, but the origin of the information is the document itself. In other words, access to the Sped files does not exempt the company from having the invoices and information files that are the origin of the data.

    Concerning the goods invoices, the storage must be electronically (.xml files). Although the inspection can access this information through their own system, the Brazilian legislation establishes that the responsibility for providing this information lies with the taxpayer, through the aforementioned .xml file.

    Such an obligation is not extensive to service invoices but keeping them is also recommended. Invoices must be kept for a five-year period.

    It is important to mention that this storage period must observe the origin date when the documents were issued, but this period is interrupted, if the company is under any inspection or judicial process.

    Solutions that ensure an efficient document management

    Domingues e Pinho Contadores has definitely incorporated the reception and filing the documents in digital media for all of its clients due to environmental, information security, trackability, efficiency, and physical space optimization issues.

    Employing less time in tracking, filing and paper handling, the team is available to perform more strategic activities and assume a more consultive role, broadening the client's perception of value about the service provided.

    Based on specialized guidance, with a multidisciplinary view, DPC can also assist companies in designing the best solutions for organization and management of both printed and electronic documents, leading clients to achieve compliance and efficiency in document management, eliminating the possibility of data loss.

    How DPC may help your company?

    Domingues e Pinho Contadores has specialized team ready to assist your company.
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