The 5 Most Important Questions to GoBD Answered

The GoBD apply fully since 1st January. We explain what elements companies have to pay attention to after the transition period in their bookkeeping and what the correct software can contribute.

What does GoBD stand for?

The GoBD comprise of formal requirements for bookkeeping and the electronic processing of the data that is necessary for bookkeeping. The abbreviation stands for guidelines for the proper management and storage of book, records and documents in electronic form, as well as for data access.

The guidelines were published in a written statement by the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) in November 2014. Since 1st January 2015, the new regulations replaced the generally accepted principles of computer-based accounting systems and regulations of data access and verifiability of electronic documents that had been valid until that point (GDPdU).

What does the GoBD mean for businesses?

The GoBD specify the fiscal and commercial requirements of financial management to ensure proper accounting when data is processed electronically. Therefore, if a company uses certain hard- and software to complete its bookkeeping, the so-called data processing system must fulfill certain requirements.

The basis for the GoBD is the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP, or GoB in German). The GoB are based on rules from real life bookkeeping. The rules include concrete – strictly speaking formal and material – requirements for bookkeeping. The formal requirements arise from trade and tax laws. Bookkeeping is materially correct if the transactions are traceable, complete, correct, timely and orderly recorded and are subsequently posted and processed.

GoBD for tax payers

To whom do the GoBD apply?

The GoBD apply exclusively between the taxpayer and financial authorities. The taxpayer can therefore solely be responsible for ensuring the correctness of accounts, that is, the compliance with GoBD regarding the financial authorities.

In doing so, the taxpayer also assumes responsibility for the processes and procedures that are used to complete their bookkeeping duties. If, for example, a company uses bookkeeping software, it does not thereby emit its tax liabilities to the tax office. Thus, the responsibility always remains with the entrepreneur as only they are in a relationship with the tax office.

What is “GoBD-compliant”?

You are in line with the GoBD if you are keeping account books – whether in electronic or paper form – which are noted in the GoBD principles of traceability and verifiability and the principles of verity, clarity and continuous recording. These principles must be verifiably complied with for the entire duration of the retention period.

  • Bookkeeping is traceable if bookings and other required services can be verified with a corresponding receipt (document principle).
  • Bookkeeping is verifiable if an auditor considers both current and historical procedure contents for the duration of the retention period to be auditable both retrogradely, that is from booking until the receipt, as well as progressively, from the receipt until the booking.
  • Bookkeeping is true, clear and continuous when it is complete, accurate, on time and unchangeable, among other things.

Is SMACC “GoBD-compliant”? Does SMACC have a “GoBD-compliant” certification?

Since the GoBD is only applicable in the direct relationship between the taxpayer and the tax office, the software used for current bookkeeping can never be “GoBD-compliant”.

Among other things, this is because the taxpayer is not only obliged by law, but is also the only one capable of ensuring full compliance with the GoBD. Because proper bookkeeping records include the complete bookkeeping process. This already begins with the receival, sorting and digitization of the invoices by the taxpayer and ends only with submission of the tax declaration. As a bookkeeping software like SMACC is not used for all these steps, the compliance with GoBD cannot be fully controlled and monitored.

For this reason, SMACC is not able to guarantee “GoBD-compliance” since SMACC can only undertake the assigned tasks, for example posting and processing documents in current bookkeeping. However, the obtainment, sorting, digitization or forwarding of invoices remains in the hands of the customer. If the legal requirements are not adhered to at this point, this could lead to a lack of compliance. SMACC has no influence on this as a service provider.

Moreover, a “certificate” which confirms a supposed GoBD-compliance is a pure marketing tool, which does not however offer the customer any legal certainty. An official certificate from the Federal Ministry of Finance, which is responsible for the compliance with tax requirements, also does not exist for this reason. This has been clearly clarified by the Ministry:

“Certificates” or “test certificates” by third parties may serve as a decision-making criterion for businesses for the selection of a software product, but they do not (…) hold any binding force on financial authorities.


Modern software can support businesses to meet the legal requirements of proper bookkeeping. However, ultimately businesses themselves are responsible for ensuring GoBD compliance throughout the entire process.

At SMACC, we are happy to assist you in all financial processes so that you are well prepared for fiscal bookkeeping and record keeping requirements. The software equips you with many possibilities to set up your bookkeeping and processes within the law while simultaneously reducing your manual workload significantly.

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