Why is archiving documents so important? What is it about? What consequences await companies that do not archive documents? How much time should the documentation be kept? Is it better to keep a company archive in the company's headquarters or to have it archived by an external company? You will read about it below.
Archiving of company documentation is an obligation of every entrepreneur resulting from legal regulations. Therefore, when running a company, it is worth knowing its rules.
Why should company documents be archived?
Storage of documentation is a statutory obligation. Documents are divided into archival and non-archival. The former must be kept in perpetuity, while the latter must be kept only for a predetermined period of time, after which they are destroyed. Archiving is the correct and safe storage of company documentation.
Land and mortgage registers and court records are archival documents. These non-archival documents, i.e. in the case of companies, accounting, tax, personnel and ZUS-related documents must be kept for the time specified in the Act. During this time, the relevant offices may inspect the documentation.
What is archiving?
Archiving documents is a process that consists of: classification, marking and safe storage, so that they are not damaged or stolen and that unauthorized persons do not have access to them. On the other hand, authorized persons should be able to access them quickly. One of the elements of archiving is lacking, i.e. finding out the outdated documents that can be destroyed. When the services of destroying documents and archiving are outsourced to a professional company, you have a guarantee of security, order and limitation of the risk associated with losing or undesired destruction of the documentation.
In terms of archiving documents, there is a great deal of freedom in the choice of method, but there are many good practices that are worth applying in your company archive. One of them includes: division into folders, binders and boxes, marked and arranged chronologically. It is also important to use materials that protect documents from degradation and make digital copies just in case. Documents should be protected against destruction, theft, unauthorized access, fire, flooding and other such events, therefore the company archives should be monitored and guarded. Only professional archiving guarantees the security of company documentation.
What consequences await companies that do not archive documents?
The consequences of not archiving depend on the type and value of the documentation. These include: fines, fiscal penalties, civil and even criminal trials. It is better to avoid them and store the documents properly, and if this is not possible on site, it should be commissioned to a professional company. Then the entrepreneur is sure that the services of destroying documents and archiving them are provided correctly.
How much time should company documents be stored?
Companies are obliged to keep accounting, tax, personnel and ZUS-related documentation. How long such documents should be kept depends on their type. Accounting and tax documents must be kept for 5 years from the end of a given calendar year. This includes: tax books, revenue records, VAT registers, invoices, fixed assets records, equipment, kilometers, inventory documents. Annual returns are an exception as they are submitted in the following year and not in the one to which they relate. The end of the tax year does not mean that the company will not be audited in the future.
HR documents require long storage, as they are the basis for future calculations of employee pensions. The period for which they need to be archived is 50 years after the termination of the employment relationship. This type of documentation includes: time sheets, payrolls, personal files. It is important that the documents are not destroyed during archiving.
Documents related to the Social Insurance Institution, i.e. copies of settlement declarations and monthly reports, should be kept for 5 years. However, this period applies only to documents submitted from the beginning of 2012. Those submitted earlier must be archived for at least 10 years from the date of their submission.
Archiving within or outside the company?
The decision on the location of the company's archive should be dictated by whether there are suitable conditions for storing documents in the company's headquarters. The place designated for the archive must be properly adapted for this purpose. Many documents must be kept for years, and there are also those that constitute a company secret. Improper archiving can expose the company to additional costs and even losses.
Storage of company documentation is safe if the archive is organized in a proper way, i.e. if the documents are protected against threats. They must be protected against destruction and access by people who are not authorized to view them. The company's archive should be guarded and even monitored. The room should be connected to the alarm system and have a fire protection system. When confidential or classified documents are stored in the archive, they cannot be accessed by unauthorized persons. If there is no such place in the company, a better solution is to outsource the archives to an external company. Thanks to this, it is also possible to reduce the costs associated with the storage of documentation.
Companies providing document archiving services
There are many companies on the market dealing with archiving and destroying documents. They usually offer comprehensive services in this area. The offer is tailored to the requirements of a particular business entity and the applicable legal regulations. The proposed document archiving system is optimal and effective. Companies of this type cooperate not only with private entities, but also with state and local government administration units.
Such companies are not only involved in organizing the documentation, but also in creating company archives from the attitudes. The purpose of using document archiving services is to improve the functioning of the company archive, secure the documents to keep them intact for a certain period of time, and to gain quick and easy access to them. The services provided include: archiving, destroying documents, storing the documents of existing companies and entities in liquidation/ bankruptcy, scanning of documents, relocation and transport of documents, developing office and archival procedures, servicing archives on site at customers' premises or training in document management.
Many attractive offers in the field of archiving company documents can be found on the website: https://aleo.com/pl/firmy/uslugi-dla-firm/.