Document storage can be a tricky issue. Every business and every state in the US has different laws about what needs to be saved and for how long. It’s something that every business owner faces. And in general, the larger the business the more storage is needed and the more complex this issue can become. Keeping good records is just part of it all, because over time, the sheer volume of paperwork can begin to turn an otherwise organized workspace into a cluttered and unpleasant world in which productivity and order have become a thing of the past.
But in an effort to help our clients stay happy in their office space, we are proud to offer superior storage options. This includes climate controlled storage which is by far one of the most effective ways to protect those extremely valuable pieces of paper. Keeping them away from the elements and in top condition for the many years they must be held onto is of vital importance. And while there are many area specific rules governing just exactly how long this period of time is, the following are some general rules based on the type of document storage being done.
Storing Financial Documents
Most people know that financial documents should be stored for 7 years. Keeping this in the back of your mind, there are several exceptions to this rule. Some things can be kept for less time such as time cards and other earning records which are required to be stored for only 3 years. Also, paperwork such as trial balances and expense reports must be kept for 6 years. But some financial records are legally required to be made available by a company 8 years after the date of issue such as canceled checks. It is also good to keep things such as end of the year financial statements on hand for the indefinable amount of time which is the entire life of the business itself. Also an important thing to remember about all financial forms that are stored electronically is that they are required to be submitted in a physical form. This builds a pretty strong case for taking the printed materials you already have and deciding its time to get some document storage space.
Human Resources Paperwork
While individual applications for employment should be kept on file for 3 years from the date of original application, the general rule of thumb for most types of personnel files is 7 years. While many consider 6 years to be a safe time frame to store documents such as personnel files, expired contracts and disability reports, they can be requested and admissible in court up to 7 years after their original date of issue.
Insurance Document Storage
Insurance forms inhabit the full spectrum of possibility with regard to how long they need to be kept. The range can vary based on the type of document from 4 to 10 years. Already settled insurance claims must be stored for 10 years, while documents such as fire inspection reports must legally be held onto for 6 years. But when in doubt, if your business is in possession of any non company related financial or insurance related form, it is a good idea to store these documents for 5 years to avoid legal hang ups and to make sure that its being held onto for a long enough duration.