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Paperless... or not?

I have just started using Xero and I notice that it has the facility to attach scanned copies of invoices - I just wondered if anyone knows if scanned/electronic copies of invoices are acceptable to HMRC nowadays?

Does anyone run a paperless office and know if this is true or not?

Also, can anyone recommend a good scanner and/or software?

Any advice, as always, much appreciated!

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30th Mar 2012 15:07

I hope so!

The only original documents we keep these days are signed Engagement letters and some MLR documents!

We use a high speed Canon scanner DR-2580C which came complete with Capture Perfect and Adobe Acrobat. We have had this scanner almost 5 years and it is still in perfect working order but we have replaced the rubber feed rollers a few times.

We have Brother multi-functions for the occasional smaller/larger item that won't go through the scanner which is auto sheet feed.

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By JAADAMS
30th Mar 2012 15:08

Check out these comments

http://www.accountingweb.co.uk/category/tags/paperless-practice 

The above is a thread to comments/articles /discussions on working within a paperless office - you might like to take a look. There is even a review of the use of a Canon scanner!

Jennifer Adams

Assistant Editor

 

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30th Mar 2012 16:41

@ Shirley

We have that scanner too - it is fantastic - but have you found anywhere to buy new rollers without it costing a small fortune?

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30th Mar 2012 17:00

Nope!

Over £50 for replacement rollers .... I did consider taking some sandpaper to the old ones though to see if that would make them last a little longer, but overall ... going paperless has saved us loads of dosh, loads of time, and loads of space too!

We were considering subletting half of our office now we need so little space but we have to consider the confidentiality aspect of our business and not sure I want the hassle!

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12th Apr 2012 11:03

Cleaning pickup rollers

ShirleyM wrote:

Over £50 for replacement rollers .... I did consider taking some sandpaper to the old ones though to see if that would make them last a little longer, but overall ... going paperless has saved us loads of dosh, loads of time, and loads of space too!

We were considering subletting half of our office now we need so little space but we have to consider the confidentiality aspect of our business and not sure I want the hassle!

I'm not familiar with that particular scanner but if the pickup rollers are rubber, you can clean them with "Dry Cleaning Fluid" that you can get in the detegrant section in the larger supermarkets.

So long as it doesn't have any oil in it, it should be fine.

Pour the "Dry CLeaning Fluid" onto a cloth and gently rub the rollers to remove the silicone oil that is picked up from the paper.

N.B. MAKE SURE YOU USE RUBBER GLOVES as the fluid will take the oil out of your fingers.

Another option is to use Cellulose thinners (Hammerite do it) but you need to be very careful with this not to get it near any plastic parts.

Have fun,

Roger Neale

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30th Mar 2012 17:14

I have to confess

I have taken them apart and cleaned them in lighter fluid, which worked for a bit, but still appalled by the cost of a small piece of rubber!  We got stung for customs duty when we bought them from US as well, just to add insult to injury.

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By ksalter
31st Mar 2012 09:01

FREE Practical Guide to the Paperless Office - available here.....

http://bit.ly/freepaperless

 

 

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12th Apr 2012 10:45

Yes, they do - my business is based on it!

Hi,

My company - Receipt Bank - is a service that collects receipts and invoices both on behalf of firms and from clients direct (using iPhone, Android, email, post, etc).

We scan the items and extract the data for use in bookkeeping systems (including Xero).

As you can tell this whole business is dependent on the fact that HMRC (and other authorities around the world) now accept scanned and digital versions of receipts and invoices.

HMRC confirmed its acceptance of electronic invoices in this communication:

“Records may be preserved on optical imaging systems, and the originals discarded, provided that what is retained in digital form represents a complete and unaltered image of the underlying paper document.”

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20110720224136/http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/bulletins/tb37.pdf

Hope that helps!

Michael

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12th Apr 2012 11:25

@Roger

Yes, they are rubber. Many thanks for the tip. I will give it a try on some old rollers.

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12th Apr 2012 13:27

Rubber rollers

@ShirleyM  The problem with rubber rollers is three-fold.

The rubber does deteriorate over time.The rubber picks up minute dust particles which fill in the "pores" and clog the surface of the rubber making it smooth.A lot of paper that has been printed picks up very small amounts of silicone oil that comes from the printer. It is particulalry noticeable on high-volume laser copier/printers where they often have a silicone impregnated fuser roller, to stop the toner sticking to the roller. This causes silicone to be transferred to the paper and subsequently is deposited on rollers when the document is scanned.

Sorry if you weren't really interested in the background but I thought it might help.

 

Roger

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12th Apr 2012 12:01

HMRC

To specifically address the original question.  Yes, HMRC are fine with scanned images - you do NOT need paper invoices.

In Tax Bulletin 37 (October 1998), HMRC said...

 

For unincorporated business we have already indicated in Tax BulletinIssue 21 (February 1996) that records may be preserved on optical imagingsystems, and the originals discarded, provided that what is retained in digitalform represents a complete and unaltered image of the underlyingpaper document. We are now able to go further. Both in the case of companiesand unincorporated businesses we can accept other methods which preservethe information in the records in a different form. This is so long as thosemethods capture all the information needed to demonstrate that a completeand correct tax return has been made and are capable of yielding up thatinformation in legible form. Businesses need to bear in mind this secondcondition when they change or up-date computerised accounting packages andensure they have the software to access the old data. Precisely what information needs to be preserved in this way will vary frombusiness to business. But standard information, such as contractual termsand conditions printed on all invoices, need not be reproduced as part of therecord of each transaction. 

 

We accept of course that companies which store information in accordance with the Code of Practice on the Legal Admissibility of Information stored inElectronic Document Management Systems (BSI 1996 DISC PD 0008) will thereby automatically satisfy the tax requirements.  

 

The code of practice referred to in the last paragraph is now known as BS 10008, as it became a full British Standard a few years back. 

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13th Apr 2012 10:59

Thanks Roger

You have answered something I was curious about.

One roller is very soft ribbed rubber. This roller 'grabs' the paper. It is clear that the ribbing gradually wears away, but the other roller which feeds the paper is quite hard rubber and doesn't seem to get worn, but does seem to get a coating on it and become less effective. I now know where the coating comes from :)

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By Cube
01st Mar 2013 14:06

Smoking

Not that anyone smokes any more !

Smoking fumes accelerate the clogging up of rubber (making it shiny and non-tacky) on rollers in scanners, faxes, printers and photocopiers (anywhere I suppose), making the paper-feed fail.

In a smoking environment, if you clean the rollers with alcohol, the removed 'dirt' is yellow :)

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