When facing a growing inventory of important business documents, the last thing to do is ignore the looming task of document management. Although no one wants to deal with it, pushing it aside is risky and costly. To help you out, here are several suggestions for deciding what to purge and what to store:
What to Purge
Hanging on to documents for too long exposes you to legal problems and increases your overhead costs. So it’s important to keep the records that satisfy legal and compliance driven requirements and purge the rest. Documents to destroy typically include:
- Papers that can be accessed online
- Outdated financial records
- Scanned files
- Documents that are backed up digitally
Once you’ve decided what to purge, use a certified destruction service to shred your documents quickly and securely. Locked collection containers can be delivered to your office, enabling files to be discarded without having to remove staples and paper clips. When your containers are filled, the contents are collected by a screened shredding technician and professionally shredded. You should then receive a Certificate of Destruction for your records.
What to Store
A document purge leaves you with only the records you really need to keep. Although you may have envisioned being left with only a small percentage of your total files, you may be surprised at how many documents are left over from your purge. Archival documents and vital records that may need to be stored indefinitely include:
- Permits and contracts
- Tax records
- Stock certificates and shareholder agreements
- Board minutes and bylaws
To reduce expensive in-house document storage and file administration costs, consider using a records storage service. Your documents are securely stored in a commercial records center designed and equipped with the following features:
- Strictly controlled facility access
- Video surveillance
- Alarms with constant, live monitoring
- State-of-the-art fire detection and suppression systems
Each document is professionally organized and stored, and can be individually labeled, indexed and assigned a barcode for tracking. Your documents can be requested anytime by phone, fax, email or via an online form for secure delivery to your office.
Follow a Records Retention Policy
Your business should have a document retention policy so employees know what to keep and what to purge. A good document retention policy specifies the following:
- What should be retained
- How it should be retained
- The retention timeframe
Before setting a retention policy in stone, consult with your attorney to verify the legal requirements that pertain to your business. Once your retention policy is in place, make sure it’s well documented and distributed throughout your organization.
Knowing what to store and what to purge keeps your business running profitably and efficiently!
Sentry Storage Solutions offers records storage and paper shredding solutions to businesses in the Greater San Diego area and Chula Vista, California. For more information about our services, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.