Occasionally, it is necessary to take time to do housekeeping for your business. Housekeeping tasks may include destroying old files in storage that are no longer needed or cleaning up your hard drive to make your computer more efficient. These are chores no one really likes, but will be beneficial to you if you make the time to do them.
Here is our recommended “Business Housekeeping To Do” list:
Organize your filing system:
- Make separate files for each:
- Payroll timesheets/cards, reports/records, deposits, and tax returns by period (purge annually);
- Paid invoices alphabetically by vendor name (purge annually);
- Sales records by period (purge annually);
- Deposit records by period (purge annually);
- Bank statements and check stubs by period (purge annually);
- Client invoices alphabetically by client name (purge annually);
- Financial statements (purge annually, keep year-end statements with permanent business operating files), and
- Business operating files, such as building or equipment lease, insurance policy, etc. (keep in current files permanently, or until new lease/policy replaces old one).
- Purge—remove from current files to box up for storage
- Periods—time frame of work cycle, such as monthly, quarterly or annually.
- Box up your old files for storage:
- Keep accessible until tax return is filed, then move to storage;
- Number the boxes, prepare a contents list that can be placed in the front of each box, and save this information on the computer—Contents list should include (as applicable):
- Box number;
- Department, client type, etc.;
- Client name;
- Description of contents;
- Date to storage;
- Dates of contents, and
- Destruction date.
- Convert your old address book or rolodex to computerized records.
Purge old files from storage and destroy:
- Use the following Recommended Business Record Retention list to determine when files can be destroyed (not thrown away), and
- Check with any applicable industry regulatory agencies that might govern your type of business. Regulatory agencies have requirements on length of time you must keep records. These could be different from the following general retention list.
Clean up your computer hard drive:
- Copy old documents to a CD for storage, and delete from the hard drive;
- Remove programs no longer used, and
- Run performance maintenance programs to improve efficiency.
These are general recommendations that pertain to most businesses. If you have specific questions that are not addressed in this article, please contact Henssler Financial at 770-429-9166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recommended Business Record Retention Time Periods
Expiration + 7 Years