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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Examining Accounts: Computer Generated Records: General

Most businesses now have some or all of their accounting systems and records held on computer. This brings an added dimension to the process of records examination. It does not necessarily make the process more difficult; it may often be easier and quicker.

The computer record merely replaces, or in some cases duplicates, the traditional paper records. The information in the computer system is only as reliable as that entered in the first place. The computerised system will however be consistent in processing the data. Whether that processing is correct or not will depend on how the system parameters are set up. It is therefore essential to ensure that the data capture controls and processes are sufficiently robust to minimise the risk of error.

There are large numbers of computer systems available on the market; some are more widely used than others. Modern programmable tills, stand-alone PCs, networked systems, tablet computers and even some smart mobile phones are all examples of computer systems that may hold data that you will need to examine.

It is important to remember that if you need to check the operation of a computer system, then this can only be done by an authorised person, see EM2809.

In all cases where you need help at the business to examine computer records you should in the first instance, contact LBS Audit Systems specialists or Data Handling Specialist for assistance.