You may view document retention as a nuisance, but it's usually much more than that: a legal requirement. And what you don't know about it can hurt you.
Companies need to understand the rules and regulations concerning retention of documents. According to James True, vice president of business development for Cabinet NG, "managing document retention is critical in any regulated industry."
True offers five tips for companies concerned about compliance and retention:
1. Companies are accountable. Laws apply to companies even if the companies aren't aware of them. Each industry has its own requirements regarding document retention. Companies need to learn what laws their business must follow.
2. Companies should establish a written corporate policy for document retention and follow it. Having a retention policy is better than not having one, but if the company doesn't follow the policy, it can be worse than not having one.
3. Companies should apply tools to help automate retention-policy enforcement. Document management is a great tool to automate corporate retention policies.
4. Companies should remove documents in accordance with regulations and company policies. In some cases, a company can be held liable for a document's contents if the document is still in the company's possession after the retention period has been satisfied.
5. Companies should monitor the regulations for the industry. Laws and regulations change over time, especially with advancements of the paperless office in the past several years. Companies need to make sure their corporate policies are current with the law.