Seven Year Rule, Not True For All Document Retention Policies

Do you have a stack of files that need to be reviewed and possibly shredded? Many think seven is the magic number, but retention periods very for different documents. Before you shred anything, consult both your legal and accounting staff to determine the length of time for that specific record. Consider the following for your records retention and destruction plan:


  • Document type and what laws can affect their “shelf life” – Patent work, trademarks, building plans, etc. all have different records storage lengths based on local or Federal regulations that need to be taken into account when deciding how long to hold onto that particular document.


  • A retention schedule – It’s not always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to retaining documents. Federal law says all records on hand can be reviewed during an audit, regardless of the age of the document.


  • Destruction plan of action – When documents can be discarded, it’s critical to discuss safe and secure destruction methods. When considering a professional document shredding service, make sure they’re using a NAID (National Association of Information Destruction) AAA approved vendor signifying the highest level of excellence for information destruction.

Keeping records for too long or too short of time can have a negative impact on your business. You will be glad you took some time now to develop a records retention and destruction plan if or when you are audited.


Photo by Ryan Hyde

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