Reconstructing financial records

Content Summary

If you couldn’t salvage your financial records, the first step to reconstruct those records is to find evidence of previous financial transactions.

Potential sources of financial history

Source Information this may reveal
Existing files and back-up data See if any hardcopy or electronic files can be recovered, including back-up data.
Tax Office and 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 and Payroll Tax returns.
Accountant Your accountant may have copies of financial statements and the tax returns for your business.
Banks, credit unions and building societies Previous bank statements are a great resource for reconstructing 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 if the primary records of the transactions are gone. Banks may charge for replacement statements but may waive these fees following a disaster.
Off-site sources If you have data kept off-site or for outsourced activities, such as IT or payroll, you can get a copy. If you store data in the cloud, you should be able to retrieve it quickly.
Employees Ask employees if they have access to work records, such as emails or documents on their home computers.
Lenders If your business has borrowed from a bank or other lender, they may have your financial information on file. This could include annual financial statements, forecasts and budgets and other information about your loans.
Customers and suppliers Customers and suppliers may have invoices, remittance advices, purchase orders and receipts they could share with you.
Corporate regulator 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, the auditors could provide copies of papers and other records from an audit. This could include financial statements and any policies or procedures.
Insurer Your insurer may have a list of the assets your business owns.
Other government agencies If your business has received funding or grants from the government, the awarding 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 on file.
Land registry The government body responsible for holding titles to properties such as the Titles Office, should have copies of titles for properties your business owns.
Lawyers and finance companies Lawyers and financing companies may have copies of contracts including hire purchase, leasing or rental agreements.
Landlord or landlord’s agent Your landlord or your landlord’s agent can provide copies of lease agreements.
Email correspondence The business, its internet service provider and staff may have copies of important emails and documents. This will also help with reconstructing contact lists, if back-ups don’t exist. You may also be able to obtain data from your business mobile provider if phones have been lost.
Share registries If a business owns publicly traded securities, share registries should provide these details.