There are a few key things you can do to lower your business systems risk profile and ensure your systems are best placed to support your business and report correctly.
Do you have written procedures in place?
Written, documented procedures are important for:
• identifying the correct GST treatment of each supply and acquisition
• identifying processes to be followed for unusual, large or one-off transactions
• tracking and processing adjustment events such as cancellations and payment changes
• preparing your activity statements correctly.
Do you have control over your internal environment?
Strong internal controls over your systems and processes will help you:
• to introduce GST governance and risk management processes
• have levels of delegated authority and clear escalation procedures
• have an established process for seeking external advice
• use your accounting software effectively to generate exception reports
• perform monthly reconciliations
• have a clear separation of duties.
Do your staff receive training and support mechanisms?
When your staff receive training specific to your systems and business needs, this will help you manage risk. You can:
• have help cards and other material to assist staff
• create succession plans — having several people within your business capable of undertaking the same role
• have a process for mentoring and guiding new staff
• provide training for existing staff to keep their knowledge and skills regularly updated.
Do you conduct regular reviews?
Regular internal reviews can ensure your systems and business processes are on track, allow you to update and include any relevant changes to GST law and help you manage risk. You can:
• engage the services of a tax practitioner or auditor (see this office) to perform an external review
• perform an independent internal review of your tax processes
• ask your systems software provider to review your systems
• review and update your written procedures and software regularly
• monitor reporting trends.
Are your systems secure?
System security is import for managing the business systems risk. You should ensure that:
• access to your financial and accounting systems is restricted and has an audit trail
• you have a ‘lockdown’ process for month and year end
• there are clear authorisation levels for processing unusual or one-off transactions.
Do you have well established relationships when you need tax advice?
Knowing where to go and who to ask when you need resolution to a tax or system issue can help manage business system risk. It is important that you:
• have a good working relationship with your contact at this office, and/or your software developer
• are aware of where you can go to obtain advice.