5 Expert Tips for Archiving Paper Documents Back

5 Expert Tips for Archiving Paper Documents

In this post, we offer you five tips designed to help you archive important paper documents more effectively. At Secure Storage Services, we truly believe there is a direct connection between the profitability and efficiency of your business, and how well you manage your documents, that's why document archiving is one of the core pillars of our business. This is particularly important for 'document intensive' businesses such as law, accountancy and finance.

One of the most important aspects of document management is archiving. Many of you will be legally required to archive client documentation until Statutes of Limitation have expired. This is because important documents maybe needed during legal proceedings at a later date. Many of you may also choose to archive documents as part of your overall document retention policy, and this may be agreed on a voluntary basis.

If you do not follow good practice when it comes to document archiving, you may run into legal problems, dissatisfied customers and bottlenecks in your business. You can avoid this by following many of the 'best practice' recommendations that follow.


Tip #1: File Purge

Each document you retain must be archived for good reasons. These reasons are typically written up into your 'Document Retention Policy'. If you retain all non-essential documentation, you will make life extremely difficult for yourself and your customers.

We thus recommend you purge all non-essential documentation at the outset. For instance, you may choose to purge documents that you are not legally required to retain. However, we recommend you ensure documents are purged safely, efficiently and securely. Will also recommend you invest in the service of a reputable off-site shredding company. You will be supplied with a 'certificate of destruction' following the completion of the destruction process.


Tip #2: Ensure retention periods meet legal requirements

Ensure retention timelines follow those set out by law or industry regulations. Many professionals must hold paper documents for seven years. It is thus essential you do not hold documents for a period less than that prescribed by these laws or industry regulations. A failure to hold documents within the limits prescribed by law could result in you receiving a substantial fine.

It's equally important not to store paper documents for an excessively lengthy period. This will usually mean you waste your money by holding paper documents when you are not required to do so. To ensure documents are kept for the right amount of time, ensure you have your 'document retention policy' reviewed by a solicitor and archiving professional. This may save you a substantial amount of money in the long term.


Tip #3: Choose storage space wisely

Whilst the vast majority of paper documents are not recalled before destruction, you must still take reasonable steps to ensure documents are not damaged during the agreed retention period. This means documents must be stored in a safe and secure environment. Paper documents are particularly at risk of damage and theft.

We recommend you invest in secure an offsite document storage service. Here, your documents will be stored on high-density shelving units. This will protect your documents from moisture and dust. Your documents will also benefit from 24/7 CCTV coverage, climate control and fire detection/protection systems.


Tip #4: Ensure documents are easily retrieved

When you invest in document archiving services, one factor that's usually taken into consideration is document retrieval. Often, when documents must be retrieved, they typically must be retrieved quickly. This means it is essential to consider the issue of document retrieval before you implement a document archiving system.

When you invest in offsite document archiving, you need not worry about document retrieval. This is because the service proper will take care of this on your behalf by barcoding documents and the boxes they sit in. Many document archiving companies also offer you a super-quick 'scan on demand' service. This allows you to access required documents within hours rather than days.


Tip #5: Digitise paper documents

This tip really follows on from tip #4 above. When documents are considered 'active,' you may benefit from having them digitised. Digitising important documents will allow you to access these documents within seconds. We recommend you seek out the services of a document scanning company. This company will digitise paper documents using Optimal Character Recognition (OCR) technology. This allows your digitised documents to be located using a simple keyword search.


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