Even in this increasingly digital age, a small business can still create a mountain of paper. You’ll likely try to store it somewhere or shred it. Shredding is the more secure option, but how do you decide what to keep, or permanently destroy?. This blog will review some standard business documents and when, or if, you should shred them.
As a small business owner, it’s inevitable you’ll undergo a tax audit at some point in your business operations. Play it safe, and keep your tax documents stowed in a secure, accessible location, for a minimum of seven years.
After seven years, your documents can be shredded with no liability or tax audit implications.
Also, the Canadian government requires that employers keep employees’ tax records for six years before they can be shredded.
Obviously, any documents containing banking information should be shredded ASAP. Anyone with malicious intent to access your finances can do a lot of damage with access to account numbers, personal identifiers (think birthdates and address), and names of your banking institutions. If this information falls into the wrong hands, there’s no telling how much financial damage can be done in your name. Always be sure to shred these documents as so as they are no longer necessary.
According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, employment records should be kept for a minimum of three years after the employee has left the company. These documents ensure that the information is available in court if you’re sued.
The same three-year rule applies to human resource records. If there are any issues involving harassment at your workplace, these records are important to have in the event of an investigation.
Any legal documents should be kept indefinitely. You never know when you may need them again. This includes items such as deeds and titles for vehicles
Destroy your insurance papers after they’ve outlived their usefulness. They contain sensitive information that could be dangerous if they are stolen.
Shred your bills after you’ve paid them. Keep the receipts in a safe place. You’ll likely need them around tax time.
It is worth remembering that these are guidelines: If you are uncomfortable with the idea of permanently destroying important documents, then don’t! t. Storing it is a simple solution, but make sure it’s a smart solution too, by storing it in a secure area.. Ensuring the security of your documents, whether by shredding or storage, will bring you peace of mind and, hopefully, a more organized office!
Whatever you choose to do with your files , Western Archives and Storage has what you need to do it right. Below we’ve shared some of our shredding and storage services.
If you need to shred documents, Western Archive and Storage offers:
- On-site shredding
- Off-Site shredding
- Hard drive and media destruction
If your records need to be saved, Western Archive and Storage has a professional staff that will come to your place of business or home and assist you with organizing, labelling, and packing your documents. You can also take advantage of our 1-2-3 scanning process, where we collect, scan and deliver your records. For more information, please visit our storage services page.