What Is a Fiscal Value?

Malcolm Tatum

"Fiscal value" is a term that is used to identify the worth of value of a record in terms of providing documentation for some type of financial transaction. Typically, records that have this type of value are maintained at least until the business or transactions relevant to those documents have been completed. At that point, the documents with fiscal value may be coded and filed away in hard copy form, or archived in an electronic format, allowing them to be easily retrieved in the future if necessary.

Man climbing a rope
Man climbing a rope

Determining the fiscal value of a document usually involves identifying the connection that the document has to a given transaction. This makes it possible to determine what value, if any, that document has in terms of providing some sort of evidence as to the veracity of the event, as well as providing proof of certain particulars related to that event. From this perspective, the fiscal value is also evidentiary in nature, serving as the basis for justifying the chain of events that occur with the event under consideration.

Since the fiscal value focuses on the evidence surrounding the management of some sort of financial transaction, financial documents of many types may be said to possess this type of value. Invoices issued to clients fit into the broad scope of this definition, since they provide evidence that the transaction did occur and that payment is still pending. The invoice continues to have fiscal value up to the point that the customer’s payment is received and is posted in the accounting records. At that point, the transaction is considered complete and the invoice is now considered to be of historical value, and can be archived for use in other ways, such as supporting documentation when the accounting records for that period are audited.

Many companies recognize records that document financial transactions related to an accounting period to be of fiscal value, at least until all the documentation and accounting records relevant to that period have been examined by a professional and are determined to be true and complete. Depending on the laws and regulations relevant to business record keeping within a nation, those documents may be physically kept for several years after the audit, making it possible to retrieve them when and if necessary. Doing so makes it easier to reconstruct the chain of events associated with each transaction and respond authoritatively to any questions or concerns about those transactions.

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