For about 3 years I ran the family sign company with my brother. There were a lot of things about running a business that I had to get used to. It was tough asking customers for money when payments were late, managing the overwhelming workload during our busy times, and working with family.
But the hardest part was keeping all of our paper receipts and records.
They were everywhere. In my bag, in my car, in my office, and in my home. I had to remember to put them in one specific spot at the shop and sometimes it would take me a while to remember, leaving me with a pile of receipts to cart around.
Then if I needed to find one receipt, I had to comb through the thick folder, looking at each individual receipt.
It was terrible, even for a folder loving girl like me.
When Quickbooks came out with bank feeds around 2012, I raced to try it out. I dreamed of a bookkeeping system where I could easily and quickly enter my expenses and I thought bank feeds was it. Unfortunately it turned out I still had to manually separate the GST in each transaction and I still had to sort through all the receipts. Sometimes it was quicker to enter everything manually.
Fast forward 6 years and bank feeds have come a long way. Now it’s simple to store and search electronic receipts, and Quickbooks even learns my transactions. Now I can do the bookkeeping in a fraction of the time it used to take me in 2012. Plus not having receipts spill out of my purse each time I reach for my wallet is a bonus.
But it is legal?
If a business takes pictures of receipts and throws the originals in the garbage, will the business get in trouble with the CRA?
In a word, no. BUT…
The copy you take of your paper receipt has to be clear. It can’t be too blurry to read, or have poor resolution. It also has to be complete and not cut off.
The receipts must all have the following information:
- The date
- The amount
- Any GST charged
- If GST is charged, the GST number of the business
- A list of what you bought and how much it cost
The data also has to be stored in Canada, and the files have to be in an accessible format.
So what does all this mean?
You are fully CRA compliant if you keep clear, accessible, and complete images of your paper receipts in a digital format.
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