Culling through paperwork to figure out which records to scan, store or shred is time consuming. However, lack of proper categorization of your documents leads to increased legal risk. In this blog post we offer tips for applying the right solution for your paper records inventory.
Do they need to be kept?
Fear of legal and financial trouble leads many business owners to keep business records longer than necessary. But doing so also comes with burdens. There’s the cost of maintaining space to store everything and the need for someone to keep tabs on everything. Proper record keeping isn’t easy, especially when added to all the normal daily tasks. Add in the sheer number of record keeping requirements that must be considered, and you’ve got an overwhelming situation.
According to the Canada Revenue Agency, the following records should be kept indefinitely:
- documents concerning long-term acquisitions and disposal of property
- share registries
- historical information impacting business share or liquidation
How often are they needed?
The storage of these documents should align with your company’s disaster recovery provisions and be safeguarded off-site in a facility that minimizes theft, fire, flooding and other man-made and natural disaster risks. Other documents that have to be kept for several years but do not require regular access can also be stored off-site in a commercial records centre.
Paper records that are regularly retrieved and utilized to support your business processes are good candidates for a document scanning solution. When these records are converted to electronic files, physical storage space is reduced and records can be viewed, shared and collaborated on digitally. Electronic files can also be integrated into your business continuity plan by providing a backup to hardcopy documents.
Can privacy protection be maintained?
Shredding alleviates storage costs and the headache of managing hardcopy documents. However the following should be considered before destroying any files:
- compliance obligations
- retention policy guidelines
- internal audit requirements
Once you’re sure a set of documents can be safely disposed of without legal consequences, you’ll also need an efficient and secure method of destruction. A one-time purge service allows for no-longer-needed files to be destroyed confidentially and with minimal staff involvement. A Certificate of Destruction is issued upon completion of the process.
A system that provides routine destruction of records should also be put in place to ensure that any paperwork that is not needed is shredded regularly. The disposal of obsolete paperwork is often postponed indefinitely due to the time-consuming and frustrating process of using a commercial shredding machine. A scheduled shredding service facilitates regular disposal of confidential information by enabling paperwork to be conveniently dropped into a locked collection container. On a scheduled basis, the containers are collected and records are either shredded on-site or securely transported off-site for destruction.
When used together, document scanning, storage and shredding helps your organization better manage its information.
Docu-Dépôt provides records and information management solutions to businesses throughout Montréal and Québec. To find out more, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.
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