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SMEs not on board with digital trails, research finds


New research has revealed that only one in 20 small business owners tracks their receipts throughout the year via digital platforms, with the majority relying partly on a paper trail “just to be safe”.

By Lara Bullock 11 minute read

H&R Block and Officeworks recently released the results of their national survey as part of their partnership which is in its second year.

The survey found that despite tech advances allowing for digital logging of receipts and expenses, just 5 per cent of Australian SBOs track their receipts throughout the year via digital platforms.

Thirty per cent rely solely on a physical paper trail, while the remaining 65 per cent use a combination of both “just to be safe”.


H&R Block director of tax communication Mark Chapman told Accountants Daily that the majority of the 30 per cent who rely solely on a paper trail would likely be micro businesses.

“A lot of these small businesses are very small indeed, they're turning over relatively small sums and they’re people who are working hard to make a success of their business and they're not really thinking about the financial side of things,” he said.

“They may not be particularly IT literate and this whole world of accounting software would be a mystery to them.”

Mr Chapman believes that the 65 per cent who rely on a combination of both digital and paper trails comes down to the fact that the concept of keeping electronic receipts is still relatively new.

“People go and buy a product and they get a paper receipt and they tend to keep that filed away somewhere without necessarily thinking that it might be a better idea to scan it or take a photo copy of it and load it in to an app or software where its securely saved in the event that the ATO perform an audit,” he said.

Accountants are best placed to assist their clients in figuring out what their accounting needs actually are and the best solution for them, according to Mr Chapman.

“I think it’s worthwhile accountants just having a conversation,” he said.

“If somebody is running a business and they turn up to get a tax return done with the traditional shoebox of receipts, it is worth sitting down and saying is there a better way of doing this?”

Lara Bullock


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