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Keeping Your SMSF Records in Order: Things You Need to Know

Self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs) are a popular choice for many Australians who want to have more control over their retirement savings. However, managing one requires a lot of work, including keeping accurate and up-to-date documentation. In this article, we will discuss the things you need to know to keep your SMSF records in order.

Why is it Important to Keep SMSF Records in Order?

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) requires SMSF trustees to keep accurate and up-to-date records. Failure to do so can result in penalties and fines. Additionally, maintaining good documentation ensures that you are complying with the superannuation laws and regulations.

What Records Do You Need to Keep?

SMSF trustees are required to keep a range of records, including:

1. Financial Statements

Annual financial statements, which must be prepared by the SMSF, consist of a balance sheet, an income statement, and a cash flow statement.

2. Investment Records

The SMSF is required to keep detailed documentation of all investments, which may include stocks, real estate, and other types of assets. This contains proof of purchases and sales, dividend statements, and rental income, among other types of documentation.

3. Contributions

The SMSF is required to retain records of each and all contributions that have been made to the fund, whether they be personal payments, contributions from an employer, or donations of any other kind.

4. Pensions

When a member receives a pension from the SMSF, the fund is required to retain the proof of the pension payments and any changes made to the pension.

5. Trust Deed

A copy of the fund's trust deed, which specifies the policies and procedures of the fund, must be kept in the SMSF's records.

6. Minutes of Meetings

The SMSF must retain minutes of all trustee meetings, which should include any decisions made during the meeting.

How to Keep SMSF Records in Order?

Keeping SMSF records in order can be daunting, but ensuring compliance with the ATO regulations is essential. Here are some tips to help you manage this task along the way:

1. Use Accounting Software

Using accounting software can make it easier to keep track of your SMSF records. Many accounting software programs are available that are specifically designed for SMSFs.

2. Keep Records Electronically

Electronic records are easier to manage and less likely to be lost or damaged. Ensure that your electronic records are backed up regularly to avoid loss of data.

3. Hire a Professional

If you find keeping your SMSF records in order challenging, consider hiring a professional to help you. An accountant or bookkeeper with experience in SMSFs can help you ensure compliance with the ATO regulations.

4. Regularly Review Records

Doing this can help you identify any errors or omissions and correct them in a timely manner.

5. Attend Trainings

Attending SMSF training courses or seminars can help you stay up-to-date with the latest regulations and best practices for managing your SMSF records.


Keeping SMSF records in order is crucial to ensure compliance with the ATO regulations and to avoid penalties and fines. The SMSF trustees are required to keep a range of records, including financial statements, investment records, contributions, pensions, trust deeds, and minutes of meetings. Using accounting software, keeping records electronically, hiring a professional, regularly reviewing records, and attending training can help you keep your SMSF records in order. By following these tips, you can ensure that your SMSF is managed correctly and that your retirement savings are secure.

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