When preparing to have your documents shredded it is important to consider the retention periods of your different types of documents. Depending on the information contained in a document will dictate how long you should keep it before disposing of it. Categories of documents such as business, financial, insurance, personnel, tax, purchasing & sales, and shipping & receiving all consist of different types of documents that have varying lengths of retention. Some of these documents have permanent retention periods as well. So while shredding is an important process in securing the privacy of your documents, it is important to know the proper retention period for your documents before sending them off to be disposed of.
DOCUMENT RETENTION POLICY
One thing to consider is a document retention policy — the bones of a successful records management system. A DRP outlines an organizations legal and compliance recordkeeping requirements in order to ensure that records are kept as long as legally allowed and that obsolete records are disposed of properly. A well-maintained document retention policy will ensure that everybody in your organization, from the top to the bottom, adhere to the legal and ethical requirements.
A document retention policy is the foundation of an effective records management program. The policy defines an organization’s legal and compliance recordkeeping requirements. A company implements a DRP in order to ensure that its records are kept as long as legally and operationally required and that obsolete records are disposed of in the appropriate manner. If followed properly, the DRP will ensure that employees adhere to approved recordkeeping requirements consistently.
A properly managed document retention policy can provide the following benefits:
- Demonstrate compliance with federal and state laws and regulations
- Improve the ability to locate and retrieve records when needed
- Improve business efficiency by a consistent implementation of recordkeeping policies.
- Provide better utilization of resources by removing outdated records
- Reduce litigation risks
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