Accurate records management can make or break your business. Why leave your success to chance when automation can make such a difference? Managing large volumes of records can be time-consuming, but M-Files can handle many of these routine tasks, allowing administrators to focus on more strategic activities. In addition to improving compliance
management, automation helps ensure the accurate, consistent, and secure handling of records.
A critical part of records management is knowing which record to keep and which to delete. Once you’ve determined this, you must also ensure that unneeded documents are properly disposed of. Even seemingly small mistakes can lead to big legal problems, which only adds to your stress. The good news is that by using M-Files you can automate the retention process by creating rules for each type of electronic document.
Organizations use records retention procedures to preserve important information for a specific period of time for administrative, financial, legal, and historical reasons. This applies to paper documents and electronic records such as Word documents and spreadsheets and includes things like purchase orders, contracts, and other correspondence.
The retention period for each document depends on how the records are classified, the needs of the business, and whatever laws and regulations govern the industry. For this reason, having a records retention schedule is critical to ensure all records are reviewed and managed regularly and accurately. Such a schedule improves security, reduces costs, and minimizes the risk of legal issues.
What kind of records should be kept? For compliance purposes, most businesses should retain six types of documentation. These include:
- Accounting records
- Bank statements
- Business loans
- Legal documents
- Permits and licenses
- Insurance documents
Businesses must also maintain employee information, including contact information, timesheets, pay stubs, insurance documents, etc. Depending on local laws and regulations that affect your company and business practices, you can likely think of more to add to the list.
How Long to Retain Records
How long you retain documents will depend on the types of documents you have. Here are some examples:
- Audit reports and financial statements should be kept permanently.
- Supporting documents such as bank statements, reconciliations, charge slips, and payable and receivable ledgers should be kept for seven years.
- Assets like stocks or real estate should be kept for seven years.
- Depreciation schedules and asset inventories should be kept permanently.
- Tax returns should be kept permanently, but supporting documentation must only be retained until the chance of an audit has passed.
- Employee tax records must be maintained for at least three years after the termination of the employee.
- Insurance policies should be kept for ten years after the policy expires.
- Most legal documents should be kept permanently, while some canceled documents (such as leases) should be kept for ten years after the cancellation.
This list could go on and on depending on the nature of your business, your local regulations, and the regulations of those you do business with. The entire process can be tricky as a manual operation, but by automating your records management process, you can eliminate errors, stress, and, most of all, risk.
Getting Started with Automating Records Management
The first step to automating your records management is to implement a document management system like M-Files. M-Files is highly customizable, so it can easily meet the specific needs of your business while also integrating with your existing technologies. You can automatically document access and changes with automation, making audits simple. You can also ensure compliance with regulations and policies by eliminating the human error factor.
Laminin Solutions can help you take charge of your records management. Learn more by contacting us today.