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Electronic accounting documentation in Russia

Russia has been making great strides forward to transfer accounting, payroll and other business administrative documentation into electronic form. This is very important for the economy in general, as outdated accounting and tax-related standards forcing the use of paper documentation have long been a serious burden for businesses. This need to use paper documents greatly increases the amount of time and money businesses spend on maintaining their accounting compliance.


In January 27, 2020, the head of the Russian Ministry of Digital Development estimated that transferring business document flow into electronic form will save businesses 1-3 % of their turnover in costs. We support this estimate. Globally the average companies spend on maintaining their accounting compliance is approximately 2,5 % of their turnover, which is a significant cost. It is reasonable to expect that in countries which require managing accounting documentation in paper form this cost can be even higher, which means that potential savings from switching to electronic documentation are also considerable.


In Russia electronic document management is gradually penetrating into all areas of business. This process was actively gaining momentum even before the outbreak of the pandemic in Russia. At the moment, the introduction of EDM is especially important when office visits are limited in many companies.


The use of electronic document management is determined by the Federal Law dated 06.04.2011 No. 63-FZ "On Electronic Signatures", Article 169 of the Tax Code of the Russian Federation, Order of the Ministry of Finance dated 10.11.2015 No. 174n.


EDM has been introduced in the public sector since several years. In the summer of 2017, the Government approved the 8-year Economic Development Program. According to the program, by 2025, 90% of all interdepartmental operations should be carried out electronically.


The implementation of the Digital Economy program is a driver of EDM development in Russia. The translation of paper documents into electronic form, the use of an electronic signature is a standard recommended by the state.


The coronavirus pandemic pushed the state and business to transfer documents related to labor relations into electronic form. On May 5, 2020, the draft Federal Law "On conducting an experiment on the maintenance of electronic documents by individual employers concerning labor relations with employees" came into force. Its main goal is to create mechanisms for maintaining and applying electronic personnel documents and to prepare proposals for changes in domestic legislation.


The transfer of personnel records management into electronic form is long overdue. Document flow on paper is outdated and inconvenient. This is especially true for large enterprises, where the volume of personnel documents is huge. These documents should also be archived for 75 years. EDM will simplify and speed up the work of HR services, as well as allow employees to have access to all local regulations online.


Right now, almost all accounting documentation in Russia can already be used in electronic form. Many of them, such as acts, invoices, waybills and others have recommended formats. Accountants are able to clear approximately 90 % of documents in electronic form, and this development is set to continue until the figure reaches 100 %. Right now the estimate is that that could be achieved in the next few years.


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