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Director’s Corner Article – October 2015

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Maintain Meticulous Business Records: Here's How

How important is it to have a process for maintaining business records? Absolutely incredibly important!  Many business owners find this out the hard way when they apply for a loan or receive a call from a government entity.

Where did we put our Articles of Incorporation? Have you seen our original operating agreement? Do you know where I can find our payroll taxes from 2010? Believe me, you don’t want to be asking these questions when you need these documents for a loan application, a certification process, or to prove to the government that you’ve paid your payroll taxes.

If you are just starting your business, now is the time to make sure that you understand all of the record keeping requirements for the type of business that you have formed and think about your records development and management process along with a safe place to store all of your business’ original documents and licenses.

According to Iron Mountain, a leading firm in records management, the number of laws and the severity of punishment governing records management continues to increase. This means it’s even more paramount that organizations follow best practices for proper records management. Every business needs to demonstrate “good faith” intentions to follow these best practices consistently and accurately.

Whether your business is small or large, Iron Mountain recommend the following as best practices for business records management:

1) Consistency is Everything

     a. Develop a single Records Retention Schedule for your organization and implement it consistently

     b. Write Records Management Policies and Procedures and apply them consistently

     c. Formalize records destruction practices and destroy records consistently and systematically.

2) Focus on developing your Records Management Policies and Procedures around these five best practices areas:

     a. Retention

     b. Policy & Procedure

     c. Access & Indexing

     d. Compliance & Accountability

     e. Disposal

Iron Mountain explains each of these concepts in more detail in their “Best Practices Guide,” which you can download for free at the link below. It’s an excellent framework to follow as you figure out how you are going to manage your business documents, now and into the future.

Make sure records management becomes part of your business planning! Do it today!

Download the Iron Mountain Record Management Guide:

http://www.ironmountain.com/Knowledge-Center/Reference-Library/View-by-Document-Type/White-Papers-Briefs/R/Records-Management-Best-Practices-Guide.aspx

Portia Ash
Director
Northwest Ohio Minority Business Assistance Center

 

Last Updated: 6/30/19