Mar 01 , 2023

CFO Minute: Start Your Year Off Right

AIOAs CFO Minute Blog

The start of a new year means it’s time for the annual office file purge! Many small business owners wonder how long they should keep business records. This can be a sensitive issue for many due to the harsh consequences if you toss something that should have been kept. If you aren't digitizing your records, here are some basic retention timelines to think about for your business.

Permanent Records (Keep indefinitely)

    • Stock Records
    • Corporate/Leases
    • Corporate Documents (Incorporation, Bylaws, Charter, etc.)
    • Insurance Records
    • Retirement Plan Documents (401K)
    • Insurance Policies
    • Tax Returns
    • Board Meeting Minutes
    • Tax Payment Checks
    • Notes/Loans Payable
    • Annual Financial Statements
    • Trademarks
    • Legal Correspondence
    • Investment Trade Confirmations


Seven-Year Records

    • Accounts Payable Ledgers and Vendor Invoices
    • Sales Records
    • Accounts Receivable Ledgers and Customer Invoices
    • Payroll Registers
    • Employee Expense Reports
    • Cancelled Checks
    • Expired Contracts/Leases
    • Notes Receivable


Three-Year Records

    • Monthly Financial Statements
    • General Correspondence
    • Expired Insurance Policies
    • Credit Card Statements
    • Purchase Orders
    • Bank Statements

All retained records, whether paper or on data storage, should be kept in secure cabinets. Once the specific time period for the record has lapsed, the records should be destroyed, either by placing them in a shredding bin, or by taking them to a shredding or secure data destruction facility. Under no circumstances should financial records be put in the garbage or a recycling receptacle.

Have questions about this topic or other financial questions? We are here to help whenever you need us. Feel free to contact us at or book a free consultation today to get the conversation started.