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How long do I need to keep my records?

August 16, 2012

This is, by far, the most common question we are asked by our clients.  And I wish the answer was “seven years.”   But, unfortunately, the answer is, “It depends.”
If you go to ARMA Internationals website, you will find many helpful articles and resources to answer this question.  I will put a link to one such article below.
In the meantime, the length of time you keep the record depends on four factors

  1. How long you need the record in order to conduct day-to-day business
  2. If there are laws that dictate how long you have to keep the record
  3. If there is a need to keep the record to prove financial business such as taxes or accounting transactions
  4. If the record impacts or documents the history of your organization, like board meeting minutes.

Once you no longer need a record and once you are no longer required to keep a record, it should be disposed of.
Each type of record has to be retained based on the 4 listed criteria.  You, likely, have many different types of records.  Thus the answer is “It depends,”  when the question is “How long do I keep my records.”
Read this article for a Records 101 introduction to records retention.
Visit this article on arma.com
Don’t hesitate to contact us at Arkansas Records if we can be of service.
Sincerely,
David Reagler

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Arkansas Records Management is a professional service company based here in Hot Springs, Arkansas. We serve organizations throughout the state and our staff eats, sleeps, and breathes files, indexed fields, retention schedules, and audit trails. As records become more and more complex, and the task of properly managing your firm's documents is a key and often overwhelming task.

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