Do I need to keep this?

Record Keeping Solved!

If you can’t squeeze another file into your overstuffed drawers. If you’ve run out of space to stash your storage boxes, you’re not alone. So much for the ‘paperless office’ we were promised decades ago, American businesses are drowning in it. What to do with all the copies of invoices, bank statements, receipts, personnel files, and other records? How long do you need to keep them? While you may not have a knack for record keeping, well-organized files prepare you for eventual tax time and help you better manage your business overall. Before you purge anything, visit or speak to your tax advisor regarding your specific situation. Certain types of businesses and areas within your business may have laws governing records retention schedules. However, there are some very general guidelines you can follow:

Keep these documents at least three years:
Bank deposit slips
Correspondence with customers, suppliers and vendors
Employment applications
Monthly accounts receivable and accounts payable records
Purchase orders, shipping and receiving reports
Sales records

Keep these documents at least seven years:
Accounts receivable and accounts payable ledgers and reports
Bank statements, canceled checks, and financial statements
Contracts and leases (expired)
Human resource records after termination
Inventory summaries
Invoices from customers and vendors
Loan payments and schedules
Payroll records and time sheets
Tax returns

Keep these permanently:
Annual financial statements
Articles of Incorporation and by-laws
Board meeting minutes
Charts of account and general ledger
Current contracts and leases
Company manuals and insurance policies
Depreciation schedules
Investment records, IRA records
Real estate records
Getting Started
Arm yourself with files, storage boxes and markers. Inside each box tuck a master list of the contents, then date and summarize the contents on the outside of the box. Now you’re ready to place them in storage. Follow similar guidelines for organizing your electronic files and be sure to back them up using an online service or other fail-proof method. Record keeping doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Some organization today can save you countless hours tomorrow. Looking for more record keeping ideas? Just ask your Burkett’s Office Supply Sales Rep.

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