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St. Petersburg Startups: 5 Tips for Storing Your Business Records

A close up of hands of a business person signing documents.

Record keeping is an essential facet of business management. If you’ve never maintained your own business records, take time to learn the best practices before standardizing your document management system. Here are five tips for business owners to store their business records. 

1. Go Digital 

When it comes to the safety of your business records, digital documents will always be safer than paper documents. Digital records are easier to secure through firewalls and password protection, and having a database of information makes it easier to find specific documents when needed. You should destroy your paper records by shredding them after transitioning to a digital record management system. 

2. Perform Regular Audits

Having business records is only half the battle; it’s also vital to ensure the documentation is correct and up-to-date. In order to maintain accurate records, audit your documents on a regular basis and verify the information. A good rule of thumb is to check the accuracy of your forms once or twice a year. 

3. Create a Standard Practice for Record Storing

Your employees should know the best practices for securing and storing business records to perform accurate recordkeeping in your absence. Make sure to train new employees on the best ways to keep documents and review and update this process at least once a year. 

4. Know What to Keep (and How Long to Keep It)

There are federal laws that dictate the kinds of documents your business will need to maintain records on, as well as how long those records must be kept. Most of these documents (including papers such as I-9 statements and FMLA leave) should be held anywhere from one to four years. 

The requirements on how long to maintain the document depend on the document type, so make sure to research and make sure your business complies with federal laws.

5. Purge Records Often

There is a minimum number of years that certain documents must be maintained, but many document types can be destroyed once they are no longer needed. Purging records can eliminate unnecessary clutter from your database and keep certain documents safe. Secure shredding is typically an accepted method to destroy sensitive client records.

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