Choosing the Safest Way to Handle Your Business Documents
Wed, Aug 05, 2015
By: Jim Beran
With regulations constantly changing, technology always evolving, and criminals working harder than ever to get a hold of sensitive information, deciding whether to store or destroy your business documents can be confusing, even stressful. What needs to be saved? What needs to be destroyed? How? When? Where?
To answer common document storage and destruction questions, we’ve put together and quick and simple infographic to keep records management streamlined. Please share this with colleagues who you think could benefit from it, and let us know what you think too!
Key points from the infographic above:
- Main reasons to store documents: records retention laws, monitor business, streamline finances, protect important information.
- Various records must be maintained a minimum number of years:
- Monthly financial and credit card statements – 1 year
- Employee taxes – 4 years
- Income tax returns, accounts payable, invoices, employment records, financial and operational records – 7 years
- Business ownership records – Permanently
- 75% of the time businesses spend on paper documentation is wasted in searching, filing and retrieval.
- Main reasons to destroy documents: protect against identity theft, follow destruction regulations, avoid liability, remain organized, efficient, and compliant.
- Media (CDs, DVDs, hard drives) can and should be destroyed too.
- 7% of Americans are victims of identity theft each year, costing them an average of $3,000 each.
- Many nonessential documents are considered inactive after 3 years.
*These business records retention periods are general guidelines. We recommend that businesses review their specific business records retention periods with legal counsel.