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Retention of Key Business Records

Proper record keeping is an essential component to running a successful business. Whether that means a banker’s box stuffed with hanging files or an ftp computer server with all your company emails, the retention of key business records is vitally important. Failure to keep the proper archives can have serious legal consequences in the event of a lawsuit or regulatory investigation. A Hoffman Estates and Des Plaines attorney can advise you on what types of documents that you should save, and for how long.

A business record is anything that signifies a log, records an event or transaction or reflects a communication. Each different type of business record has its own optimum retention window. Some items should be kept permanently on file, while others can be safely disposed after a certain span of time. It is important that your business adopt a clear retention policy as to which records are archived, the span of time required for each type of document, and the manner of retention. In today’s (almost) paperless age, your policy should also address electronic records, including provision for periodic back-ups and archiving of e-mail and other electronic information.

Accounting Records

Accounting records are financial documents that pertain to a business’s fiscal transactions. Whether you track these items in-house or defer to an accounting firm, maintaining meticulous records can rescue your business in the event of an audit or other interaction with the IRS. These types of records can include invoices, receipts, payment records, inventories, tax returns, and profit and loss statements and many other documents.

Employment Records

Whether you have a fully staffed human resources department or operate on a smaller scale, keeping records relating to your employees will aid your cause during any dispute. Employment records might contain employee W2 forms, retirement plan agreements, benefit enrollment, performance reports and worker’s compensation benefits. You should keep all paperwork relating to employees currently on the payroll and during a predetermined window of time after their termination.

Corporate Records

In order to maintain compliance with federal and state law, corporations must keep permanent records of certain items like their bylaws, stock transactions and Board of Director’s meetings. Other types of corporate records can include the business’s property register, dividend schedule, organizational charts, internal audits and annual reports.

Your plan should be tailored to your individual business needs. Contact a Hoffman Estates and Des Plaines lawyer today to make sure your business is in line with any retention schedules required by law.

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