For proper accounting according to GOB, the simple basic rule is that no entry may be made without a voucher. For this reason, paper or digital receipts play a central role in accounting. We show you what a voucher must contain and how vouchers are posted.

What must be written on a receipt?

In order for a voucher to be validly posted, these three items of information must not be missing:

  • Transaction name: Which service/product was paid?
  • Date: When was the invoice paid?
  • Amount: What is the amount of the invoice?

In addition to these mandatory details, there are usually other details on receipts:

  • Name and address of the invoicing party or the company that issued the receipt.
  • VAT
  • Invoice number
  • Document number (added by the company's own accounting department)
  • Net and gross amount
  • List of individual services
  • optional: signature (e.g. for a self-billed document)

The information required in each case depends on the type of document.

What is a receipt?

A voucher is a document that contains all relevant data for a so-called business transaction. A typical document is a receipt or an invoice, but inventory lists also belong to documents. A business transaction is, for example, a purchase or an order. All business transactions are recorded in the accounting system. The receipts then serve as proof of acquisitions or purchases. In addition to bookkeeping, the tax office also needs receipts so that, for example, expenses can be deducted as income-related expenses.

The most important document types at a glance

In accounting practice, three common document types are distinguished.

1. Own documents (internal documents)

These are documents issued by the company itself. These can be payrolls or inventory lists as well as outgoing invoices. A self-receipt can also be created for accounting and the tax office if original invoices have been lost. Own receipts are often submitted later for travel expense claims.

2. External documents (external receipts)

External vouchers are the vouchers that are created by other companies or business partners. Classic external documents are invoices or receipts. However, they can also be credit notes or bank vouchers. An incoming invoice from a supplier also counts as an external document.

3. Emergency vouchers (replacement voucher)

If neither own nor third-party vouchers can be posted because they are not available or cannot be issued, the accounting department can make do with "emergency vouchers". However, this type of receipt is a very rare exception. The tax office may reject substitute receipts if they are submitted more frequently.

Posting receipts - this is what matters

In accounting, no entry may be made without a receipt. Accordingly, it is important to book business transactions with the appropriate documents. Posting is only possible when a document is available.

Receipts are usually posted in the system in three successive steps. According to the GOB, this posting and processing must be comprehensible and transparent for third parties.

1. Preparation

All receipts are first collected in the accounting department and sorted chronologically. As a rule, each individual voucher is marked with the date of receipt, usually with stamps. Often the receipts are checked directly after receipt, e.g. the invoice amount listed in them or the payment terms.

Subsequently, all receipts are filed or stored in digital form. Depending on the scope, separate folders are created for certain types of receipts, e.g. for fuel receipts or bank statements.

Important: The processing of receipts must be done in a timely manner. This means, for example, that own receipts must be entered within ten days of a business transaction. For third-party receipts, a deadline of eight days applies. If cash receipts are involved, they must be documented on a daily basis.

2. Account assignment and booking

In the following step, the different documents are posted to the corresponding posting accounts. This creates so-called booking records. These are data records that must post the following information for each voucher:

  • Posting amount
  • VAT (percentage and total)
  • Type of account
  • Contra account
  • Debit or credit entry
  • Invoice number/document number
  • Date
  • Booking note: Here, for example, an additional note is made on the business transaction.

3. Archiving

After posting, receipts must be kept for at least ten years. In this way, all business transactions can be traced in the course of a tax audit. Archiving does not have to be done in paper form, but is also possible digitally. However, the GoBD and the HGB must also be taken into account here.

The sense of supporting documents

Documenting and booking as well as archiving receipts is obligatory for companies. At the same time, this obligation offers a high level of protection. This way, companies can precisely control and check expenses internally. In addition, companies are safeguarded in the proper posting of receipts in the event of a tax audit.

Submit receipts in the tax return

Since 2018, the so-called "obligation to show receipts" no longer applies to the tax return, but only the "obligation to keep receipts". This means that all receipts no longer have to be submitted in the tax return without being requested. This is intended to relieve the tax offices. At the same time, bookkeeping is simplified.

However, the obligation to keep receipts means that companies must provide the relevant receipts in the event of queries from the tax office. The abolition of the obligation to show receipts does not release companies from the obligation to keep receipts for at least ten years.

Record receipts digitally via app

The travel expenses app shows its strengths in the recording, account assignment and archiving of receipts. The app makes it child's play to save expenses digitally and process them in your accounting software via an interface, e.g. DATEV. In this way, you not only save valuable time in travel expense accounting and reimbursement of expenses, but you also receive legally compliant and GOB-compliant storage of your business transactions.

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