Record-Keeping: The Basics

What does the successful sole proprietor and the booming international corporation have in common? 

An effective and efficient record-keeping system.

A successful business depends on successful record-keeping. One of the most important responsibilities as a business owner or manager is to create and maintain a thorough record of business-related matters. 

Beyond legal requirements and regulation compliance, an efficient and effective record keeping system allows a company to:

  • Avoid costly fines, penalties, and other issues
  • Reduce processing time for orders and projects
  • Secure sensitive client and company data
  • Provide better customer service
  • Track business trends and details
  • Comply with legal regulations and other requirements

How long is a business required to keep records?

It depends.

The answer to this question varies with different factors; location, industry, type of business, number of employees, and others. Many businesses apply a year-specific rule-of-thumb (i.e. eight years) to retention of business documents, but this is inadvisable. The reality is actually more complex than a one-size-fits-all guideline, and some business documents are required to be kept permanently!

What are the common methods of Record-keeping?

  • file folder-based

    • Uses manila or other type of file folder to store and organize related documents.

    • Required equipment: fire-resistant locking filing cabinets, hanging folders, labels, office floor space

  • Paperless local

    • Uses a local computer (in-office) to store and organize documents according to an internal file structure. Should be backed up to an offsite server or service at close of business daily.

    • Required equipment: A computer (specifications dependent on use of document storage system), subscription to backup service

  • Paperless Cloud

    • Uses an offsite service to store and organize documents according to a personalized file structure. This should be supplemented with a local backup of all files at close of business daily, if only on an external storage device.
    • Required equipment: A computer to access the cloud service, local backup device, possible subscription to backup service

Where To start? 

Here at PNW Financial Concierge! Whether you've got a Mount Hood of papers just waiting to become organized and/or paperless, or if you're already organized in paper and are ready to make the switch to paperless, you're in the right place. We truly enjoy putting organization and technology to work for our clients, and are excited to bring you with us into the future of business management! 

Learn more about Going Paperless and Business Organization services.