It is important – whatever the size of your business – to keep certain documents secure to ensure that you are operating legally. Retaining documents for compliance is very important and there can be serious consequences for companies who do not adhere to the regulations.
It may seem confusing, but it is not something you have to worry about if you do everything you are supposed to. With continuous technological advancements this is becoming easier than ever to achieve. Here are five things you need to know about retaining documents for compliance to ensure you don’t fall foul of the law.
It is both important and a requirement to keep your data safe. To lose or damage files is a criminal offense. The most efficient way of ensuring your documents aren’t at any risk is to put them in to storage. Here they will be collected in purpose-built protective cases, sealed and catalogued before being stored away. So you can rest assured that your information is safe from when it leaves your hands to the moment it is returned.
Create electronic versions or copies of any documents with Kelly's Document Scanning. This handy system will mean you can then request on-demand scanning or bulk scanning of any files, with the electronic versions then available for instant access anywhere in the world 24/7. This is both quick and efficient, and means that you can free up space so you don’t end up with an office full of papers that can easily get misplaced or lost.
Keep a regular check on your documents, first of all to make sure they remain up-to-date and in line with regulations, but also to ensure you know who has access to them. Access to the information is important so it can be retrieved as quickly and smoothly as possible if needs be, but you also need to make sure access is limited. Know who has access and keep it to authorised personnel; obviously it is important to have more than one person with access in case of emergency, but at the same time too many people will lessen the safety of the information.
Do not destroy documents too soon…
There are some records that you must keep, a few of which are dependent on the nature of your business, and then other records that must be kept for a certain period of time before they can be destroyed. For example, tax records, employee records and health and safety records all have strict guidelines as to how long they need to be stored for. It is better to keep a document while you work out how long you need it, because it is too late after you have destroyed it.
…Or keep longer than they are needed
Having said that, do not keep documents longer than they are needed. Your record keeping must comply with the Data Protection Act 1998 which states that documents should not be kept longer than necessary, but doesn’t state how long ‘necessary’ is. This will take some common sense and must be looked at in line with the time period that documents can’t be destroyed in.