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A Guide to Storing Important Business Documents

Iron Mountain

A Guide to Storing Important Business Documents

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The right document management workflow, that includes storage and destruction, is essential to running a efficient business.

The right document management workflow, that includes storage and destruction, is essential to running a efficient business. Whether you keep documents to stay in compliance or as part of internal and external standards, it is important to know which documents you should keep and which ones you should destroy.

Which Business Documents Should You Keep? 

Keeping your business documents may be essential in preparing financial statements, monitoring your revenue, tracking your deductible expenses, and preparing your tax returns. 

Furthermore, the IRS relies on your business records when they need to perform an audit on your business. 

Availing these documents helps to speed up the audit as they accurately explain the items reported. At the same time, a record of your business transactions can help explain discrepancies in your income or revenue if you are sued on this basis. 

So, which are the documents that you must keep? 

Tax Documents

"Tax documents" are any documents needed to file your taxes. These include:

  • Payroll records 

  • Gross receipts for sales or services

  • Accounts receivables 

  • Records of other income

  • Receipts 

  • Invoices

  • Any other documents that back up your credits, deductions, and income you report on your tax return.

Financial Accounting Records 

These are documents that include information on your expenses, equity, and income. The IRS may not require them, but they help make critical decisions and ensure the smooth running of daily operations. 

Please make the most of these records by keeping them close, and be sure to monitor them at regular intervals, say quarterly or monthly. Don't forget to verify each source of income and expenditure. 

Entity Documents 

You will rarely be asked by authorities to produce entity documents, like your certificate of incorporation, business plan, or EIN. However, all these are essential reference points and, when need be, could be used to prove you own your business. 

Permits and Licenses

Many state and local governments and industry associations require you to obtain some permits and licenses so that you are allowed to run your business. Therefore, you should store these documents securely and review them often to ensure you comply and avoid attracting fines and penalties. 

Proof of Insurance

It's essential to keep track of your business and personal insurance policy documents so that you have the contact details and identification information handy when you need to file a claim. Please keep these in a place they cannot be destroyed. 

Human Resources Documents

When your employee provides you with their personal information, you are obligated to protect this from being accessed by unauthorized persons. Some of these records include their contact information, 401k records, and past payrolls. These may also come in handy when filing your tax returns. 

Which Documents Can I Shred or Destroy?  

It's impossible to keep everything; thus, some documents must go. However, we can't throw it all in the trash because of the sensitivity of the information they contain. Shredding is a better method of destroying high-risk documents that should not land in the hands of malicious people. 

Iron Mountain is an all-in-one records management platform that can help destroy your paper documents safely and efficiently. We regularly pick up your hard copy records from your office and destroy them at our off-site records destruction facility. Here are a list of documents documents your business should regularly shred:

  • Outdated customer records

  • Purchase orders 

  • Employment applications 

  • Employee expense records 

  • I-9 Tax Forms after 

  • W-2 and W-4 documents

  • Tax Records 

  • Payroll records

Where Should You Store Your Business Documents?

Security is a top priority when deciding how to store your business documents. Another major factor when choosing is whether you want to keep your documents in-house or with a secure storage facility. 

An in-house document storage system involves storing documents at your premises. Although many businesses assume that they are saving costs by doing this, the truth is they are not. Instead, they jeopardize the security of these documents and could also slow down operations and hamper your employee's productivity. 

Off-site storage providers take this expensive endeavor in terms of resources and time and do it for you conveniently. For instance, Iron Mountain provides small and medium-sized businesses with safe and efficient storage in our secure off-site storage facilities. We index and tag all your documents using your easy-to-remember names, words, or initials and make them quick and easy to access through our online self-service dashboard. 

You have nothing to worry about regarding security because our facilities are governed using strict industry-leading procedures. 

How Long To Keep Business Documents




Tax Documents 

3 years minimum, 7 years maximum

Financial Accounting Documents 

Minimum of 7 years 

Entity documents


Insurance policies 

For as long as the policy remains active 

Employment tax records

4 years

Operational records 

At least 7 years


What Documents to Scan/Digitize

As we started by saying, the world is moving towards becoming paperless. And there's no reason to be left behind, especially not when we can help. 

Digitizing or scanning your paper documents is a sure way to take on the challenge. You can start by scanning or digitizing the following documents and leverage the advantages of cloud storage:

  • Contracts 

  • Invoices

  • Financial spreadsheets

  • Human resource documents 

  • Documents containing sensitive information 

  • Insurance policies 

  • Payroll records

  • Documents that require collaboration

Who Should Have Access To The Documents

Documents stored at an offsite records storage are only accessed by previously authorized personnel. Besides, security is vamped up to ensure your documents are kept safe at all times, even during transit. Our highly trained drivers follow strict guidelines when loading and transporting your protected files using patented security and real-time tracking.

If you are ready to improve your document management system, contact us today for the best document storage, shredding, and digitizing services suitable for every industry.

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