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BG351 Business Stationary

Business Guides


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The objective of this business guide is to summarise important considerations regarding the form, format, content and retention of business stationery and how Taxco can assist therewith in your business.


There are certain minimum requirements for the contents of business stationery, both paper and electronic depending on the type of business structure you utilise, i.e. close corporation and company registration numbers should be on all of their official stationary.

A Vat invoice has to display very specific information. Make sure that you know what they are for your business, as non-compliance can cost you in unnecessary loss of revenue or penalties.Electronic invoices needs to be sent encrypted. (128kB Encryption)

A Professional Look

A professional or unique look will enhance the image of your business.

Books and Records

All businesses need to keep records. They can be maintained by hand or may be computerised.

Each business should at least keep record of the following:

  1. Record of all goods and services supplied and purchased and all invoices, tax invoices, credit notes, debit notes, payments and receipts, bank statements, deposit slips, stock lists, paid cheques, import and export documentation relating thereto.
  2. Pesonnel records, procedures, salary register, payslips
  3. Charts and codes of account, the accounting instruction manuals, the system and program documentation which describe the accounting system.

These books, records and documents should be available for inspection at all reasonable times by the authorities.

Books, records and documents should be kept for a prescribed time ranging from 1 year to indefinite. It is very important to make sure exactly how long a specific record needs to be kept.

If you are considering purchasing computer software to maintain your records, obtain specific professional advice from our Certified Document and Information Architech division. .

What type of records must be kept?

Most businesses must keep up to 170 types of records for varying minimum periods. Business in specialist industries such as financial services must keep in excess of 450 types of records prescribed by law. The type of records to be kept varies substantially and depending on the specific law and can be classified as follows:

• Accounting and Financial;
• Assets under Management;
• Construction, Machinery & Equipment;
• Customers and clients;
• Employees and contractors;
• Health & safety;
• International operations;
• Legal and Administrative proceedings;
• Licenses and Approvals;
• Ownership and Title;
• Shareholders and stakeholders;
• Statutory and Regulatory reporting;
• Suppliers, vendors and agents; and
• Transactions.

Period of record retention

Periods of record retention varies from type but can be categorized as:

• 11% for between 48 hours to 2 years;
• 52% for 3 years;
• 25% for 5 years;
• 5% for between 10 and 15 years; and
• 7% must be kept from between 30 years to “indefinitely”

Document Storage – The Good and Bad

Documents are stored in one of the following ways:

Original document
Good – Best legal evidence
Bad – Document may deteriorate, cost of keeping and retrieval may be higher than the other formats

Scanned document
Good – Easy, fast retrieval
Bad – Documents can be altered

Microfilmed document
Good – Documents cannot be altered
Bad – Authenticity may be an issue if original document is destroyed, expensive conversion cost


Company records generally need to be kept for a period of seven years or longer and these documents include:

• The memorandum of incorporation and the rules of the company (Lifelong retention)
• Record of directors/secretaries and auditors.
• Copies of all reports presented at the AGM, including annual financial statements and financial records
• Notice and minutes of all meetings
• All communications sent to shareholders
• Securities register

Destruction of Documents

Business should formulate a formal document destruction policy to destroy all documents that have no commercial value and are not required from a legal perspective i.e.  Duplicates of documents.

Shredding is the most common and preferred method, whilst salvage disposal may not guarantee confidentiality and burning may create health, safety and environmental risks.

How can Taxco help?

Read more on this topic under the Document Imaging and Management Business Guide.

You will not only need to consider the design and cost of your stationery very seriously, but what to keep and where and in what format and for how long to retain your records to be compliant with legislation.

Taxco can help you to plan, design your tax compliant records, scan and suggest storage methods and answer any questions you may have about your business stationery and retention policy.

We further can apply on your behalf to SARS to keep original transaction documents for a period of only 1 year instead of 5 and you then keep the documents in electronic format for a period of 4 years thereafter. Huge savings on space and retrieval cost can be achieved in this way, with the added benefit of being 100% SARS compliant.

Taxco has the expertise of certified document information architects (CDIA+). For more details, contact us now to discuss how we can assist you to maintain your records in a cost efficient way that will make business sense.

This Guide is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use of Taxco Services and their Website.

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