Digital bookkeeping will be mandatory in 2009


Source: O Estado de S. Paulo, 26/10/2008

Almost everything in our society still depends on paper documents: money, stocks, receipts, invoices, deeds and a multitude of documents essential to the functioning of the economy, politics, culture, justice and public administration. Only recently have electronic or virtual documents become part of people's lives and culture. For many people, however, a digital, virtual, electronic invoice or even a receipt or important document that is not physical, tangible, of paper seems strange.

This situation, however, begins to change, with the introduction of the Public Digital Bookkeeping System (Sped), a project created by the Federal Revenue and which will come into force in 2009. Instead of doing your bookkeeping and accounting on paper, store tons copies in the same material or in microfiche, companies will produce and store their records in the form of bits, on magnetic tapes, on hard or optical disks, in their own or third party data centers.

As of January 2009, companies are required to deliver digitized tax and accounting documents, according to the rules of digital bookkeeping, digital tax bookkeeping and electronic invoice (NF-e).

A good portion of Brazilian companies, however, still do not know well what Sped is or how to implement this new type of digital accounting and tax records. In the old Brazilian style, of leaving almost everything to the last minute, many companies still simply ignore the mandatory adoption of this system that will undoubtedly change the relationship between companies and the tax authorities, within the process of modernizing the economy and the Brazilian public administration.


The electronic invoice has become mandatory since April 2008 for the cigarette and liquid fuel manufacturing and distribution segments. As of December 2008, several other segments - such as cement, beverages, medicines and automobiles - will also be required to issue the NF-e. The gas, steel, paint, aluminum, packaging, auto parts and other segments will be required to issue NF-e as of April 2009.

It is therefore urgent that all Brazilian companies start the process of adapting to the new system as soon as possible. Under the new law, no company that is part of Sped will be able to make commercial transactions or negotiations if it is not fully adapted to the new system.

In 2008, one of Sped's subprojects, the Nota Fiscal Eletrônica became effective in the sectors of fuels, beverages, tobacco, refrigerators, cements, medicines, electricity suppliers and others. To date, approximately 15 thousand companies have already issued the invoice in electronic format (NF-e). In 2009, this number should reach 45 thousand.

Why scan and virtualize documents? The Tax Authority's biggest argument in favor of implementing the Public Digital Scripture System is to increase market competitiveness, in order to reduce informality and bureaucracy, reduce costs, especially paper, printing, binding, space for filing and others . It will also be possible to unify the data of the companies, allowing for a huge crossover of data.

Sped has, among others, the objectives of promoting the integration of tax authorities, rationalizing and standardizing accessory obligations for taxpayers and speeding up the identification of tax offenses. The implementation of Sped software should take place effectively in January and June 2009, when the Corporate Income Tax is due, in which companies must also present the digital accounting bookkeeping (ECD), of the base year of 2008.


It is clear that the Brazilian tax authorities will be the main beneficiary of Sped, but with the drastic reduction of informality, there will be more ethics, equality and loyalty in the competition between companies - since all, practically, will be subject to the same taxation rules.

For Cláudio Coli, executive director of Mastersaf - a company specialized in the area - “the national implementation of digital bookkeeping along the lines of Sped may even make it possible to carry out a truly fair tax reform, capable of reducing the high tax rates in force in the country” . One of the current problems is the lack of transparency and lack of knowledge of the scope of any change in tax criteria. It is difficult to even know who wins and loses.


The internet sites most suitable for those who want to learn more about Sped are: