We recently did a little refresh of our office space. We had to clear out all our furniture, retail items, and common office storage. What I found is that we have a lot of STUFF. I made it my personal mission to completely purge when moving back in. I am Marie Kondo’ing everything. Does this speak to my heart? Does this item spark joy? Well, let’s be honest, most items I have here at the office do not speak to my heart and they do not bring me joy. Does your insurance policy, employee file, or bank statement speak to your heart or spark joy? That leads to my next thought. What do I need to keep?
According to the US Chamber of Commerce website, document retention guidelines require businesses to store records for one, three, or seven years. In some cases, you will need to keep the records forever. It is best to consult your accountant, attorney, and other state record-keeping agency prior to shredding items.
What to Keep Indefinitely
Legal Documents, which include deeds, patents, trademark registrations, property appraisals, bill of sale documents, business formation records, and other ownership records. Your CPA may recommend keeping accounting records indefinitely.
What Can Be Shredded After Time:
Tax returns, payroll tax records, bank statements, credit card statements, investment statements, canceled checks, accounting records, financial statements.
OSHA accident forms
Hiring records which include job advertisements, applications, and resumes. Insurance, permits, and licenses can be destroyed once a replacement for expired ones are received.
Now that I know what I need to keep, how do I set up a secure, simple to access, digital filing system? There are pros and cons to data center storage and cloud storage. It is best to research and talk to professionals about best practices. For me, I like the idea of having digital files in the cloud as well as saved on some sort of external data storage for double the safety.
Mind you, I am not an expert, just a small business owner trying to simplify her life and find things that speak to my heart and spark joy.