Document Archiving 101
6 Document Archiving Practices Your Business Should Follow
In recent years, the “go green” movement has convinced many businesses to start the transition from paper record-keeping to digital files. Companies that utilize digital files have probably noticed one significant change, more physical space because they no longer have to store boxes and filing cabinets of paper files. However, many businesses still have plenty of old records they either need to keep or are not comfortable discarding. Document archiving is a great way to reduce clutter and free up some of the office space.
Document Archiving Practices to Consider
Like any new strategy or office practice, there are often questions on how to make the transition smooth and seamless within an organization. Here are six recommended document archiving practices you should follow.
Create a retention strategy.
The first step in archiving documents is creating guidelines on what to keep, throw away, and what to transition to digital files. Specific files like tax returns must be kept for seven years, while items like credit card statements only need to be retained for three years. Create a guide for retention, so organizing is easier, and office personnel can understand what to keep moving forward.
Organize existing files.
Before you decide to throw all of your documents into boxes and send them to storage, it is best to audit what is currently there. Otherwise, you will pack away items that you no longer need to keep on hand. Using the retention strategy, create a three-pile system to organize paperwork – one pile to keep, one to shred, and one to scan and save.
Scan and discard.
Businesses don’t have to keep every paper on hand; many can be converted to digital files and will take up less space on the cloud or hard drive. To speed up the process, invest in a high-speed scanner that scans quickly and efficiently.
Choose high-quality storage.
Documents that you plan to keep in storage should be placed in sturdy containers. Avoid corrugated boxes when possible, as they are not as strong as plastic totes or metal filing cabinets. Using these types of storage helps to prevent moisture from ruining the files and better withstands moving and stacking.
Find a storage location.
While you may not plan to access the files regularly, there is a chance you will need them. Look for a space that is easily accessible by those most likely to need them. A warehouse, such as Econo-Courier, is a great offsite storage solution if you don’t have adequate space or expect to outgrow the existing area.
Create a filing system.
Don’t forget to label every folder and bin with details on its contents. Include a description of the files and date they can be discarded on the outside of the containers so they can be easily pulled when the time comes.
Every business can benefit from document archiving and organization. Invest the time now to keep your space in an orderly fashion. If your business could benefit from warehouse services for storage, we can help! Contact Econo-Courier today for more information.