What Is a Document Retention Policy and Why Do You Need One?

Did you know there are federal rules and regulations governing the billions of dollars in documents and records created by businesses every year? Do you know which documents to save and which can be destroyed?

If the answer is no, your company needs to set up a document retention policy or hire a professional to do so. Not having a policy governing your company’s documents could lead to severe troubles.

But what is a document retention policy? Why do you need one? Continue reading to learn the answers to these questions and more.

What Is a Document Retention Policy?

A document retention policy is a set of basic rules laid out to help your company manage confidential documents. An excellent policy should detail document management from the time they’re created until the time that they’re destroyed. Both digital and physical documents or records should be included in your company’s policy.

What Documents Should Be Included?

All important (and some seemingly unimportant) documents and records should be included in your company’s retention policy. A few primary examples of documents you’ll want to include in your policy are:

  • Invoices
  • Emails
  • Voicemails
  • Contracts
  • Operating agreements
  • Tax returns
  • Meeting notes
  • Corporate documents
  • Corporate bylaws
  • Purchase orders
  • Social media posts

This isn’t an all-inclusive list. There may be other documents or records your company should detail the management of. There may be variations in document types between industries or company sizes.

Why Do You Need a Policy?

Understanding how long each type of document has to be kept can save a lot of trouble. Keeping records too long, for example, can create unnecessary clutter in your office or workspace.

Federal guidelines dictate how long certain documents (like tax returns) need to be kept. Destroying documents too soon can lead to legal problems, which create unneeded stress.

Why Should You Outsource Document Retention?

Proper document retention can take a lot of time and effort. This is why it’s highly recommended you outsource your company’s policy and management to a document management company.

Outsourcing document retention ensures someone can manage and store essential records around the clock. These professionals can help avoid legal issues while also avoiding unnecessary clutter. Best of all, this effort doesn’t require you to hire a new full-time employee to manage it.

More Questions About What a Document Retention Policy Is?

A document retention policy lays essential rules on how documents or records are managed from creation until destruction. These policies are crucial because they help companies avoid both clutter and legal issues. If possible, outsourcing this task is highly recommended.

Do you have more questions about what a document retention policy is? Or would you like to inquire about professional records management assistance?

Contact us today. One of our associates would be happy to answer any questions you still have. They can also give you more information on professional management services if desired.