Cloud-based documentation for accounting- why & how?

Growing digitization demands the need to ensure the integrity of the documents & accounting records throughout their life cycle. This brings into question the process of establishing the integrity of inherently mutable digital documents. One of the widely used approaches for ensuring integrity is to ensure audit trails for every document created and by establishing fool-proof information governance in your organization.

          The efficacy of your organization’s information governance is contingent on the medium of information storage system you use. Cloud-based storage solutions that provide multi-tenant data management are gaining a lot of popularity amongst small business owners. Implementing cloud-based documentation with a defined access protocol ensures both ease of access & information security at the same time guaranteeing data isolation. Embracing a cloud-based document management solution can help reduce a lot of overhead associated with maintaining in-house servers like operational costs, hardware procurement, lower utilization of resources (planned for peak usage), etc. Here are a few advantages of cloud-based documentation:

  • Audit trail & version history for every document created

  • Ease of access regulation

  • Reduction in the total cost of ownership

  • Scaling of resource capacity based on requirements

  • Mobility and collaboration

  • Security from data theft

While creating and maintaining electronic documents you need to comply with the laws governing these documents like the Swiss Code of Obligation, the Swiss Law on Accounting & Financial Reporting. You also need to comply with specific laws applicable to your business or specific transactions like the Swiss VAT Law, the Customs Law etc. In general, the Code of Obligation requires the accounts to be maintained for 10 years from the expiry of the financial year. Again, there are specific documents that require a longer period of retention.

         Electronic storage shouldn’t be considered as an isolated storage unit. The Ordinance on the Maintenance and Retention of Accounts April’2002 sets out principles on proper maintenance and retention of accounts. Proper protocols should be established to create, store, archive & delete information from the storage. Here are a few things to keep in mind on defining the protocols:

  • Access logs should be maintained to prevent unauthorized access to the shared drives and to ensure the protection of the data in the shared drive.

  • Accounting & related documents should be maintained in such a way that all modifications are traced.

  • Archived information should be maintained, regulated, and documented separately from current information.

  • Storage systems should ensure the integrity of the data along with the modified time for any change in the information stored.

  • The accounts, devices, and supporting tools should be available for audit and inspection within a reasonable amount of time.

  • Annual reports & audit reports should be signed & retained.

 

Need support with cloud-based documentation & archiving? Please get in touch with us.



Source documents:

https://www.pwc.ch/en/publications/2020/information-governance-ordinance-on-the-maintenance-and-retention-of-accounts.pdf

https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/ch/pdf/swiss-vat-law.pdf

https://fedlex.data.admin.ch/filestore/fedlex.data.admin.ch/eli/cc/27/317_321_377/20210101/en/pdf-a/fedlex-data-admin-ch-eli-cc-27-317_321_377-20210101-en-pdf-a.pdf