Loose Leaf Bookkeeping: A better option than manual bookkeeping?


   oose leaf bookkeeping is another BIR prescribed mode of maintaining books of accounts. But unlike the manual books of accounts, you will need to apply for a permit to use (PTU) from your RDO. 

Typically the business owners who use loose leaf use Microsoft Excel spreadsheets for recording their sales, purchases, journals and general ledger the exact set of four books used in manual books of account. Loose leaf is also used by medium and big companies who are currently processing their permit for computerized accounting system (CAS). 

These days there are an abundance of affordable cloud based accounting software available for small businesses. But all of these cloud based accounting software are not yet accredited by BIR. Note that even adding the subscription fees for these software as business expense can be questioned. Since cloud based accounting software is something new, there are still no BIR regulation that can be used as guidance. And since only the small businesses are involved, it would take time for this to get sorted out. Meantime, cloud based accounting users can use loose leaf books of accounts.

There has been a bit of confusion on where the application for the PTU of loose leaf books of accounts should be filed. To address this, BIR has issued RMC no 68-2017 to clarify that loose leaf bookkeeping is to be considered as a computer aided manual bookkeeping. It goes further to advise that the venue for filing the application for permit to use loose leaf books of accounts should be at the RDO office where the business is registered. 

You can download a copy of this memorandum by clicking the button below.  

To register for loose leaf bookkeeping, you need to prepare the following three documents:

1. Duly accomplished BIR Form No 1900

2. Sample Format and sample print out of the books 

3. A Sworn Statement specifying the following:

  • Identify the books to be used, invoices/ receipts  and other accounting records together with the serial numbers of principal and supplementary invoices/receipts to be printed.
  • Commitment to permanently bind the  loose-leaf forms  within 15 days after the end of each taxable  year or upon the termination of its use. 

Sample F​orm No 1900

Sample format and print out

Sample Sworn Statement

It is important to note that if you use loose leaf books of accounts, you are required to print and bind your books for the year then surrender a copy to your RDO, deadline of which is every 15th of the following month after year end close.  

But although using loose leaf bookkeeping is a far better choice than manual bookkeeping, a lot of business still use for manual simply because registering for manual bookkeeping is the easiest. Registration of manual books of accounts can take less than an hour, loose leaf around a day and then for a computerized accounting system, the registration can take at a minimum six (6) months.

Below is a comparison of the three types under 5 categories, where we'll see that among the three, loose leaf books of accounts is the best option. 


Easy to register


Easy to use



Average Score


Loose Leaf

Computerized  Accounting System

What do you think? Do you agree with the ratings above? Let me know by typing your comments below.  


About the Author

Edna Diano-Verano, Founder of CPA BPOnline