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Document Retention

Document Retention

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Consider creating a Records Retention Program for your company.

What Is a Records Retention Program, and Why Create One?

Creating Records Retention Guidelines for your organization, and incorporating them into your company handbook for all employees, will highlight what documents your company receives or creates, how long they will need to be kept, and when and how they will be destroyed.

Compliance is one of the main reasons for maintaining a Records Retention Program. The increasing number of State and Federal laws and regulations, and the increasing penalties for non-compliance is an escalating potential financial risk for businesses that fail to comply.

A solid Records Retention Program, which is regularly reviewed and updated will not only take away employee doubt and confusion as to what may be destroyed, and when, it may also help in demonstrating your considered approach and concern to the importance of handling documents correctly in cases of litigation.

Destroying qualified records in line with your Records Retention Policy, on a regular basis, avoids the need to “Panic Shred,” and makes the best, and most economical use of your available storage space.

You should always consult a legal professional for specific legal requirements for your specific business, and local, or state requirements.

Business Records Retention Guidelines.

Specific businesses will have specific data and record retention requirements, and it is always best to seek legal advice when adopting a records retention schedule.

The following list of document retention requirements is to be used as a general guide only, and is by no means intended to be comprehensive for all business circumstances.

 Accident reports and claims (settled cases)

 7 years

 Accounts payable ledgers and schedules

 7 years

 Accounts receivable ledgers and schedules

 7 years

 Audit reports of accountants

 Indefinitely

 Bank reconciliations

 1 year

 Bank statements

 7 years

 Cash books

 Indefinitely

 Charts of accounts

 Indefinitely

 Checks (canceled, see exceptions below)

 7 years

 Checks (canceled for important payments, i.e., taxes,
 purchases of property, special contracts, etc.)

 Indefinitely

 Construction documents

 Indefinitely

 Contracts and leases (expired)

 7 years

 Contracts and leases still in effect

 Expiration + 7 years

 Correspondence (general)

 3 years

 Correspondence (important)

 Indefinitely

 Deeds, mortgages, bills of sale, titles

 Indefinitely

 Depreciation schedules

 Indefinitely

 Duplicate deposit slips

 1 year

 Electronic fund transfer documents

 7 years

 Employee personnel records (after termination)

 7 years

 Employment applications

 3 years

 Expense analyses and expense distribution schedules

 7 years

 Financial statements (end-of-year, other months optional)

 Indefinitely

 General and private ledgers (and end-of-year trial balance)

 Indefinitely

 I-9s (after termination)

 3 yrs after hire or 1
 year after
 termination,
 whichever is later

 Insurance policies (expired)

 3 years

 Inventories of products, materials, supplies

 7 years

 Invoices to customers

 7 years

 Invoices from vendors

 7 years

 Journals

 Indefinitely

 Leases

 See Contracts

 Licenses

 Indefinitely

 Loan documents, notes

 Indefinitely

 Minute books of directors and stockholders, including
 by-laws and charter

 Indefinitely

 Notes receivable ledgers and schedules

 7 years

 OSHA logs

 5 years

 Payroll records and summaries, pensions, payroll taxes

 7 years

 Petty cash vouchers

 3 years

 Property appraisals by outside appraisers

 Indefinitely

 Property records including costs, depreciation reserves,
 end-of-year trial balances, depreciation schedules,
 blueprints and plans

 Indefinitely

 Purchase orders (purchasing department copy)

 7 years

 Receiving sheets

 1 year

 Sales records

 7 years

 Scrap and salvage records (inventories, sales, etc.)

 7 years

 Subsidiary ledgers

 7 years

 Tax returns and worksheets, agents' reports, any documents
 relating to income tax liability

 Indefinitely

 Time books/cards

 7 years

 Trade mark registrations

 Indefinitely

 Voucher register and schedules

 7 years

 Vouchers for payments to vendors, employees, etc.
 (including allowances and reimbursement of employees
 officers, etc., for travel and entertainment expenses)

 7 years

 W-4 forms

 4 years

 Workers' comp. documents

 11 years

Remember that these are just guidelines. Apply them reasonably to minimize the risks in your individual circumstances. And if you have any questions, be sure to Ask Alice!

Medical Records Retention Guidelines.

Medical record retention guidelines are more complex than those for regular businesses, or private individuals.

Adera have found that the AHIMA have consistently provided pertinent and comprehensive information to the healthcare industry.

The AHIMA (American Health Information Management Association) is a health information management (HIM) professional association over 60,000 members strong.

Since its’ founding in 1928, AHIMA has remained committed to quality healthcare through quality information.

Our partners in the healthcare world have frequently recommended the AHIMA as a solid resource for accurate information.

The AHIMA’s guidelines for medical record retention my be viewed by clicking on this link.

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