Does your organization have a Document Retention and Disposal Schedule?
To make sure everyone in your small business, large corporation or nonprofit organization knows which documents to keep and destroy; it’s essential that you have a Document Retention Policy set up. This should be formalized with all departments agreeing on the plan as well as active enforcement by relevant authority within said organisations
Before creating any company’s document retention Policy consider these questions,
- What type of business are you?
- How do Australian Government laws pertain to this type of business?
- What kind of documents do retain (invoices, receipts, purchase orders, etc.)?
- Legal retention periods for each type of document?
- What is your secure document destruction process once the retention period is over?
Document Retention and Disposal Schedule
What do you when you know which documents you can safely dispose of?
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How Do I Create a Document Retention Policy?
Document retention policies will not be the same for every business. This is because each business:
- conducts different activities with different levels of risk (for example, the tobacco industry);
- is controlled by different regulatory requirements;
- holds different types of documents; and
- has unique financial and space constraints.
For this reason, it is important that you take the time to consider your own business situation. This will help you to put systems and strategies in place that are appropriate for your business. Taking a systematic approach to document retention, as opposed to an ad hoc one, will help your business:
- be more efficient; and
- reduce the risk of a court inferring that your business destroyed documents on purpose to cover something up.
Decide How You Will Dispose of Documents
It is important to establish:
- a process for how to dispose of documents;
- whether these sorts of decisions are to be made by senior members of your business.
Any sensitive personal and commercial information should be confidentially destroyed, for instance, by shredding the documents. If stored electronically, you should subject the sensitive information to secure electronic deletion.
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