Even the smallest business may face difficulties if it doesn’t follow proper management of internal documents.
Not only is confidential information at risk, but also problems may arise in an IRS audit or during future litigation.
Knowing what documentation to keep and what is permissible to destroy requires maintaining a set of procedures all employees can and must follow.
There is also the factor of compliance regulations.
“Destruction and security of private information is paramount to meet the multiple compliance requirements of various regulatory agencies,” says Abe Niedzwiecki, vice president of technology at CNG. “This can easily be accomplished by employing a document-shredding policy and an electronic document-management system.
“In light of the many recent natural disasters (earthquakes, tornadoes, floods), implementing a paperless office solution will not only protect your critical business documents, but also will ensure privacy of information and business continuity,” Niedzwiecki says. “Imagine the multitude of private information scattered by these incidents. Document management can literally save the day in disaster recovery.”
Do’s and Don’ts for Document Shredding
- Do—Check with the regulatory agency governing the business to determine whether it can consider the electronic document as the original.
- Do—Make a backup of electronic documents before destroying the original paper copy.
- Do—Establish an internal policy describing which document (electronic or paper) will be considered the official legal original.
- Do—Store the location of the paper document using index information within the company’s electronic database for quick and easy retrieval if needed.
- Don’t—Assume that a regulating agency will accept the electronic document as original.
- Don’t—Destroy the original without retrieving the electronic copy and checking the image quality.
- Don’t—Shred the original without insuring documents that contain signatures can be accepted electronically.
For a complete summary of the rules and suggestions as to how to develop a company policy on document retention, go to: http://www.cabinetng.com/media/when_to_shred.pdf