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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Examining Accounts: Computer Generated Records: What to See

Generally speaking, the records you will want to examine in a computerised accounting system will be similar to those found in a manual system.

The main difference will be that some of the items that you ask for will be in the form of printouts or electronic data files rather than hand-written documents.

Before you ask for any records you will need to consider the nature of the business and what financial and non-financial records you would expect to see.

It is the taxpayer’s responsibility to provide you with the information that you require but you must only ask for what is reasonably required in order to check the person’s tax position. You should also bear in mind that there is a cost involved in providing this information.

Even if the system is fully computerised there will still be a number of prime records on paper that you may need to see. These will depend on the size and scope of the business and may include:

  • Bank and credit card statements.
  • Cheque book stubs. Some taxpayers however, may not have cheque book stubs in the conventional form if they are using the computerised cheque printing facility available in some packages.
  • The cash book which may be manual or computerised.
  • The petty cash book which may not be computerised unless you are dealing with a very large business.
  • Employee records which may or may not be on computer. Often employee details are on paper, with only the summary being posted to the computer ledger account.

Many computerised accounting systems have management information facilities built into them. These often provide access to information about trends in the business and commercial ratios. You will need to ask what kind of management information their systems can produced.

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.