Instructions for Meeting the CRA Record Keeping Standard

QuickBooks® and QuickBooks Online complies with CRA Electronic Record Keeping rules found here: Keeping Records

Here’s how: To meet the CRA standard, simply export your General Ledger report to a common *.CSV type file. For example, Microsoft Excel meets the standard required.

How long do you have to keep your records? Keep your General Ledger a minimum of seven years if you’re self-employed, and longer if you are re-assessed. I say seven years because the requirement is six years from the date of the last assessment or re-assessment. If there are capital assets that aren’t amortized, it could be longer.

If you’re a corporation, keep your General Ledger forever. The corporate General Ledger is one of the things a company must keep forever, along with the Minute Book. It’s important to prove the share transactions, as well as the continuity of retained earnings since inception, against dividends, capital dividends (tax free) paid and changes in retained earnings recorded on the T2 Corporate tax return each year.

Request permission to destroy records earlier than required.

To create a General Ledger report, here are a couple of tricks and tips:

  1. Modify set “Advanced” to “In Use.”
  2. Edit columns to include extra useful information. For example, include the Item Detail to show which Items are being used. Sort the report in a different order, depending on the extra columns you’ve included in the report. Break apart the ‘amount’ into debit and credit instead. Add Source Name, Sales Tax Code and/or Sales Tax Amount columns.
  3. Turn the report sideways for columns to fit on a page. Format the spreadsheet to include all columns and shrink to print on one page.
  4. Create other detail reports that include the ability to Total By and Sort By. The General Ledger “Total By” is automatically fixed because Total By is required to be locked for the accounts in the Chart of Accounts.
  5. Filter the General Ledger for any name to see all of the transactions for that name.
  6. Select the total of either the Income Statement or the Balance Sheet, to more easily access the Transaction Detail report for those reports, and in lieu of sorting by account, “Total By” Payee Name because that includes all the names. Then, “Sort By” Date, or “Amount” from largest to smallest.

The possibilities are limitless. Always reconcile the total of a report to ensure it agrees to the total of the report you started with. If it doesn’t, check if you’ve limited yourself by not using Payee (as in Customer/Vendor/Employee/Other), as that will automatically filter those reports.

To learn more about the creation of working paper files directly from QuickBooks reports and using the extensive features of the report module, here are 5 hours of training videos, a sample data file and Microsoft OneNote sample working paper binder.