What to Keep and How to Store It
Despite predictions made decades ago, the age of paper hasn’t gone quietly into that good night, and any business office is likely to benefit from document storage tips. Two of the top considerations about paper for any business is what to keep and how to get rid of documents that aren’t retained.
What to Keep
Paper records kept on file in your business will depend on your industry and location. Understanding federal, state, and industry regulations is important to remaining compliant with document retention requirements. Some items any business will want to keep on hand permanently or for a number of years include:
- Employee records
- Tax-related documents
- Titles or any document that prove ownership of an asset
- Certificates of bonds or stocks
- Financial records
- Documents that relate to any legal action take by or against the company
Document Storage Tips for Retained Items
Many of the items your business must retain are likely to contain sensitive or personally identifiable information about the business, employees, or customers. Protecting that information is paramount to regulatory compliance and future business success.
Tip #1: Invest in secure storage options such as locking file cabinets and a dedicated file or archive room.
Tip #2: Protect documents further with firewalls or fire-proof storage cabinets.
Tip #3: When possible, scan documents into an electronic record even if you must keep the hardcopy on file — it never hurts to have a backup copy.
What to Throw
Don’t clutter your office with unnecessary pages. Employee scratch pads, copies of training presentations, and other miscellaneous paperwork doesn’t need to be retained past usefulness. If the document contains any sensitive information, train employees to throw it in a shred bin instead of a wastebasket. Having an All-Shred Policy at work makes it easy to train employees and maintain confidentiality.
When using electronic means for document storage, shred hard drives and other storage devices when you are done with them. It’s surprising as to the amount of confidential information that can be stored in a copier’s hard drive. By using a professional shredding provider like Sergeant Shredder, document storage and proper disposal can be simple and painless.