Every year, companies benefit from expiring retention periods. What was perceived as a handbrake in the old days – after all, who enjoys archiving? – is now turning out to be liberating. After all, after the expiry of specific deadlines, you can erase many documents easily and without a second thought. This creates digital space on storage media and pays off. The kicker: With a smart archiving system, you can automate the entire process at a moment’s notice. The archiving system also takes care of the erasure at the end of the retention period. In this way, rather than completing these tasks manually, you can devote your attention to interesting, productive tasks.

The same procedure as every year, James – especially when it comes to retention periods

One thing is certain: As the new year gets underway, business owners should ask themselves which papers and documentation can be erased right now. It doesn’t matter whether you still use a paper shredder for paper documents or permanently erase digital documents. For all business documentation, it is time to erase and/or destroy accounting and business records after a specified retention period has expired.

Retention period set – for automatic erasure in the future

With a sophisticated archiving software package such as EASY Archive, this naturally takes place on a fully automatic basis. All you have to do is set the required expiry date for each type of document. When this date is reached, the archive simply displays the documents marked for erasure as a proposed erasure. You then initiate the erasure process with a click of the mouse. It goes without saying that this process can also be automated. This pays off as it saves time, money and nerves.

Without an archiving system, however, there is no way around manual erasure. But how long do certain types of documents have to be kept for? The legislator stipulates the following retention periods:

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There is a ten-year retention period for the following documents

  • Records
  • Work instructions
  • Organizational documents
  • Accounts receipts
  • Opening balance sheets
  • Annual financial statements
  • Commercial and accounting records
  • Invoices

There is a six year retention period for the following documents

  • Commercial and business letters
  • Other documents and records

The end of the calendar year is the start of the retention period

Before you rush headlong into shredding files and documents, however, here is a rule that you should keep in mind. As a basis for the calculation of the respective retention period: The period always begins at the end of the calendar year in which the most recent addition/change was made to the document. This should be taken into account because it can result in changes to the schedule of the retention period. If, for example, you processed a document dating from 2008 in 2010, you can only erase this document from 01.01.2021.

EASY Archive – relieves you of tasks otherwise completed manually

It goes without saying: Until recently, erasing old documents to which the retention periods no longer apply was always carried out manually. It was a task that came around each year. Discarding old documents at home isn’t so difficult. In a company, however, you should use an appropriate archiving solution. This allows you to avoid time-consuming and expensive routine tasks, and free up your employees for more productive work.

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About Thomas Meysel
Thomas Meysel has been product manager for EASY applications since June 2016. In his spare time he travels as a passionate hobby chef and author of cookbooks on East African cuisine. If the cooking results are unsuccessful, he reduces his frustration by going to the Borussia Dortmund football stadium.
Thomas Meysel
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