Making a record of the computer system and its contents

March 2011

Part 3 Making a record of the computer system and its contents

66.33 Details of the computer system

In addition to the information required by the FCU (see Part 2 of this chapter), details should be obtained and recorded on the preliminary examination form SRHO (Schedule of Records handed over) or the preliminary information questionnaire (as appropriate) as to:-

  • the make and model of the principal hardware used by the business,
  • from whom the equipment was purchased, 
  • whether it is a purpose built system and if it is, who advised the business on the installation or who designed the system.
  • If the software is a standard package, the official receiver should obtain details of:-

o when and where it was acquired,

o whether any modifications have been made and if so by whom.

Any user manuals, which most software packages will have, should also be recovered. For additional information on listing records and completing form SRHO refer to Chapter 10 Part 3, especially paragraph 10.24.


66.34 Details of the system’s operators

In all cases the official receiver should make a written record of who was responsible for the system’s operation and detail any specific instructions which may have been given by them as to the type of data to be recorded. The names and addresses of the key individuals who input the data into the system should also be noted. In larger organisations there will always be some form of IT manager who could provide valuable information as to passwords, individual roles, operating systems etc.

Enquiries should be made as to the completeness of the records in exactly the same way as with manual records, e.g. the date when were they last written up and by whom. The official receiver should obtain details of the passwords used by all of the main operators of the system, particularly the company officers or bankrupt who will have a higher level of access to the data recorded. Details of the password(s) are not likely to be available from any other source and will be essential for access to the computer data.


66.35 Obtaining a hard copy printout

Obtaining a hardcopy printout, in a comprehensible form, may be the ideal way to deal with computerised accounting records and where possible this should be obtained. It will establish exactly what information is stored on a system and is a permanent copy of the data stored in the computer’s memory at the moment of intervention by the official receiver. Consequently, where practical, a printout of the accounting records should be obtained. Where the director or bankrupt can print out all the data on the disk and the amount of data on the disk is not excessive, he/she should be asked to do so. If the printout is obtained from the director or bankrupt or made in their presence, this could provide a defence to any later criticism that the data has been corrupted or erased as a result of the intervention of the official receiver, or that all the data has not been printed out.


66.36 Ensuring printouts are relevant

Printing large amounts of data is very time consuming, might be expensive and may result in a large volume of papers of limited value to any enquiries. In many cases the insolvent may already have printouts of the computerised data as back up or for periodic management reports and accounts. The official receiver should concentrate on the final period of trading from the date of the last audited accounts (if any), or if management accounts are available, from the date these were last prepared. Where a recent complete set of printouts has been made from the stored data a further printout will only be necessary for the most recent transactions not covered. This may reduce the printouts required to manageable proportions. The practicality and necessity of making a printout should be assessed in each case on its merits.


66.37 Obtaining a signed statement once printouts obtained

Once the official receiver has obtained a printout of the contents of the disk, a short, confirmatory, signed statement (to which the printouts are annexed) should be sought from the insolvent, and bookkeeper if possible, stating that the printout is a complete record of the contents of that media. This is to counter the possibility of an accusation at a later stage that data has been lost in the copying or otherwise corrupted. To enable its use for evidential purposes in a prosecution the attention of the director or bankrupt should first be drawn to the relevant provisions of the Perjury Act 1911 and reference to this should be included in the statement. In all cases, the person who makes such a confirmation must be sufficiently familiar with the system to be able to know the truth of such a statement of confirmation. This statement would be in addition to the Schedule of Records handed over and any narrative statements (see Chapter 11 Part 4 Narrative Statements).


[Back to Part 2 Action to be taken when computerised records are discovered] [On to Part 4 Storage and protection of computerised media and accessing imaged copies]