Advancement in the digitalization of accounting
At the beginning of November 2021, the National Council of the Slovak Republic approved an amendment to the Accounting Act, which, among other changes, also brings one key change for working with accounting documents. After years of efforts to digitalize accounting, this change will finally bring great relief to companies with aim to advance in digitalization.
We bring you an overview of the main changes that this amendment introduces in the field of working with accounting documents, their storage, sharing and archiving:
- Fewer mandatory requirements of accounting documents - in the past, it was necessary to indicate on the accounting document the accounts on which the document is posted. This was solved in the form of "cover pages" or by printing documents from the diary. The amendment eliminates the need to list accounts on the accounting document.
- Physical signing of accounting documents is not necessary - the amendment specifies and confirms that the actions performed in the program under the user's login data (name / password) have the same effect as the physical signature confirming these actions. This means that if an accounting document is created in an accounting program so that it is recorded who created or changed it, it is full-fledged and does not need to be printed and signed physically.
- A clear rule for making digital documents available to auditors and the tax office for control purposes - the amendment introduces the right / obligation to submit documents in the form in which the entrepreneur keeps them, e. g. electronic documents electronically. The company may also give audit authorities access to accounting software or a document management system instead of transferring them to disks or USB keys.
- The ability to transform an accounting document from paper to electronic form by scanning - in the past, this could only be done by a guaranteed conversion, which only notaries and lawyers had the right to do. The amendment introduces the right to transform any accounting document from paper form to electronic by scanning or printing. The transformation between paper and electronic can be performed only once (i.e. it is not possible, for example, to print a scanned document and consider it again as a paper original). This option significantly speeds up and reduces the cost of digitalization of accounting documents, as a scanner or camera phone is much more accessible to everyone. Of course, the obligation to keep digitalized documents for a specified period of time, to protect them from alteration, impairment or loss throughout this period, remains the same as is required for paper documents. However, there are already a number of practical and available tools for storing documents in this way.
- Possibility to archive documents in electronic form without the need for a parallel paper archive - the amendment allows the possibility to archive documents after their transformation from paper to electronic form only in this electronic form, without the need to submit the document in the original form (unless required by another the law).
- A bonus for companies that are dedicated to digitization for a longer period of time - the amendment enacted the retroactive provisions of the provisions on the digital archive even for documents that were thus transformed and stored in the past. Companies that stored accounting documents digitally and kept a paper archive only because the law required them to be able to submit the document in its original form, if necessary, do not have to do so, even with retroactive effect.
We are pleased that the amendment to the Accounting Act has confirmed the correctness of VGD's steps in digitalization. That also means VGD's readiness for the changes brought by this amendment. But also the readiness of our clients, many of whom have been using electronic document interchange tools for a long time. All these changes in relation to accounting documents expand the possibilities or removing barriers for those who felt the need for digitalization and automation, but were limited by legislation. Of course, the amendment does not cancel the possibility of working with paper documents nor set any deadlines or obligations for digitalization.
At VGD Slovakia, we have tools that respond to this trend:
- VGD portal (on the Tulip platform) through which we exchange / share documents with each other electronically and which also serves as a repository / archive of accounting documents,
- Individualized user accounts for VGD portal users who ensure that actions are also considered electronically signed,
- The possibility of ensuring access for auditors or tax officials during audits to a precisely defined group of accounting documents that are the subject of the audit,
- The VGD portal is a suitable repository of electronic documents, which clients can store here after scanning, as they are used to (after the entry into force of the amendment, the obligation of a parallel paper archive of these documents will cease),
- Documents stored on the VGD portal are securely stored, protected against unauthorized changes, all operations with them are clearly recorded, documents are backed up and, if necessary, exportable.
In addition, those clients who have been using the VGD portal for documents for a long time have gained an advantage - all the newly introduced rules also apply to documents stored electronically in the past.
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