No matter what industry your business or non-profit organization operates in, you have important documents including company financial files, employee records, third-party agreements, customer information and more. How do you decide what to keep and what can be destroyed? How long are you maintaining records?
Formalizing your company’s record retention with a written policy and implementing an electronic document management solution can help you be more efficient with your resources, automate document retention and destruction and ensure you remain in compliance with applicable regulatory requirements.
Why Every Organization Needs a Records Retention Policy
For some companies, records retention is driven by complex laws and regulations that specify which documents companies must keep and required retention periods for each document type. Even if your company is not subject to such regulations, creating and adhering to a formal, written records retention policy is in your best interest.
If your business is ever involved in litigation, your records retention program may protect you from liability. When required to produce records to defend against a lawsuit or regulatory inquiry, you need to be able to provide requested documents or explain why they cannot be produced. You’ll likely be in a stronger position legally if you can point to your company’s records retention policy that clearly establishes reasonable retention periods, rather than simply being unable to produce requested documents and records.
Elements of an Effective Records Retention Program
In addition to having a formal retention policy for business records, you need processes to support that policy.
Business document storage must be secure. Numerous privacy laws put the onus to protect and preserve sensitive information squarely on the businesses capturing and retaining such information. When your company uses an electronic document management solution, you control who can – and cannot – access the files and records you keep. This makes electronic document storage much more secure than relying on manual storage in file cabinets or shared network drives.
Makes Storage and Retrieval Simple
While your records maintenance policy needs to focus on document retention and destruction, it’s also important to store documents in a way that makes it easy to get to them when you need to. Companies that implement Treeno Software’s Electronic Document Management (EDM) solution know that their records are indexed for easy retrieval. This improves the ability to serve customers, meet regulatory needs and respond to legal information discovery requests.
In companies without formal records retention policies or strategies, files are often saved using disparate naming conventions. Records of the same type may be found in various places around the company under different file names or categories, making it difficult to find and use the information when necessary.
Implementing an EDM solution gives consistency to the way records are captured and stored. That means you can be confident you’ll be able to produce all relevant records if required to do so.
Having a records retention policy includes creating document “sunset dates”, after which point you no longer need to store records. Your procedures should identify how records will be destroyed. If you use Treeno’s EDM solution, document destruction can be automated, based on your company’s specific policies and requirements.
Keeping documents longer than you need to comes with a price. Implementing a document management solution saves your business money by limiting storage costs and lowering your liability risk.
Automate Your Organization’s Record Retention with Treeno’s EDM Solution
If your business needs help with document management and retention policies, Treeno Software can help. To learn more about our EDM solution, contact us today.