Figuring out what paperwork should stay in your records and what’s adding to your clutter can be a difficult process. Regardless of the situation, almost all paperwork has an expiration date. Thankfully, we’ve thrown together some tips for managing paperwork to ensure finding the information you need doesn’t consume the majority of your day.
What Can Stay, What Can Go
Identifying what can stay and what can go is the most difficult process, so here’s a quick breakdown of how long some papers should stay in your possession in order of importance:
- Permanently: medical records, health records, social security card, annual reports, and wills
- 10-5 Years: Bank statements, cancelled checks, credit card statements for tax returns, home repair bills/contracts, investment records, medical insurance payments, real deed, title, mortgage, tax files, and supporting papers
- 1 Year: Utility bills, minor home contracts, telephone bills, and pay stubs
- Life of Product: Auto/Motor Vehicle titles, registrations, investment records, warranties, and owner’s manuals
Electronic Versus Paper
As you’re rifling through paperwork to see what stays or can be discarded, it brings up the question as to whether electronic or paper filing would work better for your archiving purposes. Before you break out the scanner or empty out some boxes for filing, here’s a few questions to ask yourself:
- Does it take a long time to retrieve documents you’ve filed?
- How often do you find yourself retrieving documents?
- Are filing cabinets or boxes taking up too much space?
- Are you regularly going through old paperwork?
The situations above will vary drastically between business owners and the average record keeper; therefore, identifying what works best for you and your business is entirely up to you. With electronic filing being on the rise, it should be no surprise that it’s becoming the popular route to archive materials. This method not only makes it easier for filing, but also saves hours of work when compared to record keeping practices used in the past. Our document management experts can help you find the right solution for your business. Connect with us today for a free, no-obligation quote.