With the advancement in technology, the amount of paper documents a business maintains has decreased. Maintaining paper records is still important due to concerns regarding system failures and lost data. And, companies are required to keep certain records for set periods of time.
It’s easy to get into the habit of storing records in back offices and warehouses. Over time boxes accumulate and you start storing them in areas designated for other uses. Having a records retention schedule is important and a way to end the overaccumulation of documents.
By having a schedule, your business is intentional when it comes to securely destroying documents that you no longer need.
Does your business need a records retention policy? Keep reading for tips on helping your business manage its records.
What is Records Retention?
Records retention is the act of preserving documents and records generated by a business. Each industry has its own guidelines on which records need to be saved and which can be destroyed.
For example, most business records should be retained for a minimum of seven years. There are some records such as deeds and mortgages that should never be destroyed.
Records are often kept in file cabinets and boxes. If you have a lot of documents and documents that you will maintain indefinitely, you may want to consider hiring a records management company. They’ll store your important documents, saving you space while leaving you with the peace of mind that you can easily access them when needed.
Key Steps to Creating a Records Retention Schedule
Creating a records retention schedule has multiple layers that will touch each area of your business. Whether it’s accounting records, payroll, or purchasing, a schedule needs to be devised for each area.
Part of running a business includes being aware of compliance regulations that affect your industry. Rules for record retention can vary between healthcare, banking, card processing, and human resources-related businesses.
You’ll want to review records retention rules in advance of creating a schedule.
Develop a Team
Your business may have multiple departments. Create a team with a representative from each area. This way you are not creating a one size fits all solution. Your records retention schedule needs to be specific to each department. In addition, you want each department in compliance with the schedule.
Review of Records
In cases where you’re implementing a policy for the first time, creating an inventory of existing documents is important. Understand what you have on hand and where it’s stored.
While doing your inventory, prepare non-essential records for your first document destruction appointment.
Creating a Policy
With your team in place and all compliance regulations understood, create a records retention policy. This is a document outlining rules for retention and paper shredding. The policy is distributed to all personnel along with the newly created records retention schedule.
We Can Keep Your Records Safe
Having a records retention schedule helps your business in many ways. Most importantly, you are in compliance with industry standards. If you need help creating and implementing your Records Retention Policy, contact us. Our team of specialists can help your company develop a schedule and destroy data when needed.