They’re all made of paper, but that doesn’t mean you can send all your corporate paperwork for document shredding at the same time. There are legal requirements to retain some documents for a minimum amount of time, and there are generally accepted best practices for others.
Retention Guidelines for Document Shredding
Your business should create and follow a retention schedule for your corporate documents. You can use it to determine when it’s time to shred documents. Depending on the nature of your business, your document retention schedule may be different from other companies. Check the list below for a guideline on how long you need to keep certain types of documents.
Shred or Recycle Immediately
As long as you have the original, you can destroy or recycle any photocopies of a document. But it’s important to note, if you recycle any document, photocopy or original, take steps to protect the sensitive information it contains. You may be legally bound to do so.
Store for at Least 3 Years
Any corporate document, from correspondence to packing slips, should be kept for at least 3 years. You may not be legally bound to do so, but it may save some big headaches later on.
Store for at Least 4 Years
Financial documents, including statements, and shipping and receiving documents, should be kept for four years.
Store for at Least 6 Years
Insurance documents and general, production and purchase correspondence should all be held for at least six years.
Store for at Least 7 Years
Employee records and files, tax documents and other financial documents, beyond financial statements, should be stored for 7 years
Store for at Least 8 Years and Over
You should store many documents for at least 8 years, and some should never be destroyed. These can include legal documents, like statements of claim, and historical documents, like your general ledger.
If you found this post helpful, check out our recent article “The Drawbacks to Owning an Office paper Shredder“.