As a business owner you have a legal requirement to hold certain records for a number of years.   In general, you must retain certain accounts records and documents relevant to your business for a period of 6 years.  You may have to keep customer documents for a warranty period of a year or more.

If we are looking at healthcare records, there are differing retention periods for differing categories of patients and retention periods may be up to 25 years.

Employers must keep a record of their employee’s working time for 3 years and a legal firm would have to keep client records for 5 years after they have worked with them.  Even charities, non-profits, sporting clubs and many groups are bound to hold records for a certain period to comply with legal obligations.   It is always advisable for an organisation to check in with its own industry regulator on retention periods.

Storing Documents

This leads us to the challenge of storage.  You will have to think about where these records can be kept ensuring they are safe while at the same time allowing access should that be required.  Storing such records takes up valuable space, is costly and the place used must not be damp or unsecure.  Many will outsource the storage to a warehouse facility, this comes with a cost and means that if you do need to access them, it’s a bit of a hassle.

Digitisation

The answer is, of course, digitisation. Revenue themselves have stated that they will accept digital copies of records, in fact this has been the case for some time now.  And, if Revenue will accept digital then most other organisations will be of the same mindset.  Imagine taking all those records for the past number of years out of storage and having them returned to you in digital format.  This is a reality for many of our clients every week.  We will collect those boxes, scan each one carefully, index them according to your requirements and deliver them back to you in a digital format.  Then the paper copies can be securely destroyed.  No hard work from you, saving storage costs and ensuring the information is now secure and accessible by authorised people.  If you want to find out more about how we can arrange that for you just get in touch.

 

*For advice on Medical Record Retention in Ireland please see

https://www.hse.ie/eng/gdpr/data-protection-covid-19/record-retention-policy-2013.pdf

Or  visit www. ICGP.ie