Running a business can generate hundreds, sometimes even thousands of documents. Managing them all while you need them can get overwhelming. But figuring out how to archive documents once you’re done with them is even more difficult, and mistakes can have serious legal consequences.
Good document archiving can help your business run smoothly, and it keeps you out of trouble when you’re filing your taxes.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about document archiving.
What is Document Archiving?
Document archiving is when you store documents you are not currently needing to refer to, but need to be able to review with ease. It’s vital to organize your archives properly. There will usually be hundreds or thousands of documents archived for your business, so being able to find what you need is important. There’s no point in keeping all these important documents if you can’t find them when you need to.
It’s also important that these documents are securely stored. A lot of the archived information is sensitive. Only those with the right authorization must have access to your archives.
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What Documents Should Be Archived?
The most vital documents that need to be archived are anything relating to your business’s legal or financial processes.
When in doubt, you should probably archive it. Some of the legal documents you should be archiving include business plans, entity or registration documents, employee contracts, business contracts, and leases. Some of the financial documents you should be archiving include payroll documents, bank statements, invoices, and receipts.
But these aren’t the only documents you can hang onto. Archiving documents is a system that should work for your business needs. Some less important documents which might be useful to hang onto could include agendas and meeting minutes.
Why Do Documents Need to Be Archived?
Financial information is kept for tax purposes. While businesses are expected to keep up to date with their tax returns, they need to be able to provide proof that they are audited. The rule of thumb is to keep anything tax-related for up to three years after you have filed them.
But this isn’t the only reason to keep financial information! Referring to your financial documents for things like tracking expenditure in different divisions can be incredibly useful for improving your business financial management.
For legal purposes, it is important to keep track of documents, even if you will seldom refer to them. These could be things like entity or registration documents.
But sometimes it can be helpful to refer back to some older documents too. For example, you could refer to your business plan every year, and update it where need be. This is a great way to stay in touch with the mission of your business and re-evaluate your business’s goals.
Improved Document Archiving Improves Businesses
Document archiving is vital for successful business administration. It is important to keep everything, but it is even more important to be able to organize and use what you have kept. The key to doing this is having a good document archiving system.
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