Records Retention Schedule

A records retention schedule is a structured framework that outlines the guidelines and rules for managing an organization’s records, including documents, files, and data, throughout their lifecycle.

Types of Records in a Retention Schedule 

A records retention schedule encompasses various types of records that organizations produce and manage in their daily operations. These records can vary widely, depending on the industry, business, and regulatory requirements. Some common types of records that might be included in a records retention schedule include:  

  • Financial Records: This includes accounting documents, such as invoices, receipts, financial statements, tax records, and payroll records. Retention periods for financial records often align with tax and audit requirements. 
  • Employee Records: Including documents that contain information about employees, such as employment contracts, performance evaluations, and HR-related documents. Retention periods for personnel records are influenced by labor laws and industry standards. 
  • Legal Contracts: Contracts, agreements, and legal documents are crucial for businesses. They include sales contracts, vendor agreements, and partnership agreements. The retention periods may differ based on contractual obligations and applicable laws. 
  • Electronic Communication Records: Electronic communication recordkeeping compliance including records of instant messages, emails, and video calls, are vital for documenting business interactions. Retention periods for communication records are influenced by regulatory requirements and the importance of the correspondence. 
  • Corporate Records: These records involve corporate governance documents, such as board meeting minutes, bylaws, and articles of incorporation. Retention periods may be influenced by corporate governance regulations. 
  • Customer and Sales Records: Customer records, sales orders, and marketing materials are critical for customer relationship management. Retention periods are often determined by customer relationship needs and marketing strategies. 

It’s essential for organizations to tailor their records retention schedules to their specific needs and regulatory requirements, as the types of records and their retention periods can vary significantly across different industries and business contexts. 

Why Records Retention Schedules are Important 

Records retention schedules are pivotal in records management for several reasons:

  • Compliance and Legal Requirements: They ensure that an organization adheres to legal, regulatory, and industry-specific requirements regarding the retention and disposal of records. 
  • Risk Mitigation: By specifying how long records should be retained and when they can be safely disposed of, retention schedules mitigate legal and financial risks associated with the improper management of records. 
  • Efficient Records Management: They promote streamlined records management by providing clear guidelines on how long to retain records, where to store them, and when they can be destroyed, reducing clutter and optimizing information access. 
  • Cost Reduction: Properly managing records through a schedule can lead to cost savings by eliminating the need to store and manage unnecessary or obsolete records. 
  • Preservation of Vital Records: They ensure that crucial records, particularly those essential for compliance, legal defense, or historical purposes, are preserved for the required duration. 

Components of Records Retention Schedule 

A records retention schedule typically includes the following components: 

  • The record type 
  • How long it should be retained 
  • How and where it should be stored  
  • Directions on how it should be disposed of  
  • References to applicable laws and regulations that inform the retention periods and requirements. 

How Can LeapXpert Help? 

LeapXpert is a critical partner in the journey to full compliance by providing a complete electronic communications management solution. The LeapXpert Communications Platform maintains a record of all conversations between enterprise employees and customers to ensure that data privacy and governance standards are met. Integrated with leading third-party archiving, surveillance, and analytics platforms, all messaging records are securely stored and available alongside all the existing business data. Organizations can set customized retention periods for records and alerts for when data should be deleted. Book a demo now.