Reconstruct your financial records

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Disaster recovery toolkit

Reconstruct your financial records

To determine your initial financial position after a disaster, and to undertake a more detailed analysis of the financial health of your business, you may need to reconstruct your financial records if those records have been lost in full or in part.

If you have not been able to salvage your financial records, your first step in reconstructing such records is to seek evidence of past financial transactions.

Where such records no longer exist or are incomplete, the following list can help you identify potential sources of information to help you reconstruct your financial records.

List of potential sources of financial history

Source

Personal information 

Surviving and back-up data
See if any files, including electronic files can be recovered, including any back-up data you may have. 
Taxation Office, State revenue authorities  Prior income tax returns and other tax forms. In Australia, this includes Business Activity Statements, Fringe Benefit Tax returns, PAYG Annual Statements, Employer Declarations, Payroll Tax returns. 
Accountant  Your accountant may have copies of financial statements and tax returns for your business. 
Banks, credit unions and building societies  Past bank statements are a great resource for reconstructing your records. For example, a business may remember or take a good guess at what many of the transactions on a bank statement were for, even though the primary records of the transactions are gone. Banks can charge for replacement statements, however they may waive such fees following a disaster. 
Off-site sources  Consider whether any files are kept off-site, for example, where activities are outsourced for example, IT, payroll. In such a situation, the service provider may have information on file. If you have cloud data you may be able to retrieve the data quickly. 
Employees
Ask employees if they have records off-site, for example emails, documents on their computer, memory sticks and other electronic storage devices. 
Lenders If your business has borrowed money from a bank or another lending institution, they may have financial information on file, such as annual financial statements, forecasts and budgets and other information regarding the loans.  
Customers and suppliers  Customers and suppliers may have invoices, remittance advices, purchase orders, receipts that they may share. 
Corporate regulator  Your financial statements may have been lodged with the corporate regulator. In Australia, the regulator is the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. 
Auditors
If your financial statements are audited, your auditors may be able to provide copies of work papers and other records obtained during an audit as well as any policies or procedures they may have taken copies of and financial statements. 
Insurer
Your insurer may have a list of the assets owned by the business.
Other government agencies  If the business has received government funding/grants, the awarding government agency may have records.  
Accreditation, certification or licensing bodies  If your business is subject to any other form of certification, licensing or accreditation, those bodies may have records that could be used. 
Land registry  The government body responsible for holding titles to properties, such as the Titles Office, should have copies of titles to properties you own. 
Lawyers and finance companies  Lawyers and financing companies may have copies of contracts your business has entered into which could include hire purchase, leasing, rental agreements. 
Landlord or landlord’s agent  Your landlord or your landlord’s agent should be able to provide you copies of your lease agreement. 
Email correspondence  The business, the business’s internet service provider or employees may have copies of emails and documents forwarded to clients, suppliers and other relevant parties. This will also have the additional benefit of assisting with the reconstruction of contact lists if not backed up. If a mobile phone was in use, data may be available from the carrier if the handset was lost. 
Share registries  Where the business owns publicly traded securities, share registries may be able to help you determine what shares the business owns.