Every company, no matter the sector or brand, produces over the year thousands of papers concerning its activity or the employees. However, it’s not just any rubbish, but important documents including often sensitive or personal data. You need to care for those documents in a specific way, to not only make the job easier but also not cause yourself any trouble.
Where to store documents in the company?
Appropriate document storage is important not only from the organization but also from a legal point of view, since it’s every businessman’s duty, especially when it comes to accounting documents. Some firms decide on using an outside archive, however, the vast majority of companies prefer holding their documents in their own headquarters due to easy access and comfort. For this purpose though, you need to ensure the right conditions for the data to be safe and structured. Especially important while choosing a place is ensuring that the room is well secured from fire or other accidents, and only the authorized persons had access to it.
Which documents need to be stored in the firm?
- Records of the sale of products or services
- Cost and sales invoices
- Book of revenues and expenses
- Tax documents, such as documents related to tax collection and collection, tax books, and documents related to their keeping
- Accounting documents, which confirm any types of expenses related to running a business
- Natural inventory of inventory documents
- HR and payroll documents, incl. personal files, payroll documentation
- Agreements with employees, incl. payroll, payroll cards, civil law contracts
How long is the documents storage period in the Polish firm?
The majority of the business documents, e.g. tax books and documents resulting from running a business, taxpayers are obligated to store until the deadline of tax limitations, which is 5 years, from the year the settlement relates to. The same period of time refers to the documents from ZUS, aside from those submitted before 2012, which have to be stored for 10 years. It looks slightly different however in the case of the employee documentation. It’s because it depends on the date of signing or termination of the contract. If a person was employed from the 1st of January 2019, their files need to be stored for 10 10 years. In the case of employment before that date, the time of storing the documents will be 50 years. There is a possibility of reducing that time through appropriate requests, considering that the contract wasn’t signed before 1999.
However, what are we supposed to do with the documents in the case of a shutdown? Unfortunately, shutting down the company does not excuse the entrepreneur from storing the documentation if they hire other employees, because that involves also sensitive personal data. The period of storing the documents stays the same, and according to the regulations, they are entitled to indicate an appropriate subject, like an archive, which will store their documentation.
How to store the documents in the company?
Crucial is not only a place but also the way we store the documents. One of the things you need to remember is to ensure good access to the documentation. That means both the access for employees as well as for visits of bodies authorized to control. What is also important, is an appropriate organization of the documents. You need to keep the division into billing periods, and arrange them according to the way of bookkeeping. Moreover, the documents should be arranged according to reporting periods and some of them are worth signing and organizing in a proper order, which will make searching for the specific document significantly easier.
What to do with the documents after the storage period?
Alright, so it’s been those 5, 10, or 50 years of archiving the documents, so what next? We can’t keep them forever, because it’s not only impractical but also, from a legal point of view, against the law and can cause quite a penalty. So what do we do with those documents and how to get rid of them?
After the required time has passed, the files from a given year can be safely utilized. However, you need to remember to do it the right way. Above all, the crucial thing is to destroy them in a way that will prevent recreating the confidential data. You can use for that the services of a professional company that specializes in destroying documents or do it yourself, using the shredder. Of course, we also have to get rid of the data contained in other carriers. It’s also important to create a protocol from the course of liquidation, where, aside from documents, you should also name persons responsible for the liquidation.
Methods for storing the documents in the firm
Once we have a properly adapted and secured place for keeping the files, and we know how to store them, it is worth to taking care of the practical methods of organizing specific documents, to keep the order and make them easy to find.
Starting with a single sheet, it’s best to dress them in a special document sleeve to avoid potential destruction. The greater amount can be put into folders or binders – preferably signed – so that you can immediately see what’s in them, which saves a lot of time. What’s more, the binders themselves, if we have a lot of them, can be put into archival cardboard, focusing in one place all the documents from the same category. Whereas the old documents, which are rarely or never used, can be deployed into archiving boxes and kept somewhere in the back, so they don’t take up the space of those more needed but are still well secured.
Digitalization of the documents – storing in electronic version
Aside from the documents that you need to have in a paper version, a large part of the documentation can be stored only in the electronic form (it concerns those documents, which were originally created in this form). It is very comfortable because they are all located in one place, so both the access and searching for the data are much easier. However, it can involve high risk, since the digital data, though resistant to external factors, is more prone to getting lost, dissemination to unauthorized persons, or even loss. That is why it is best to use a professional system for archiving documents – it not only secures the data from different dangers but most importantly, it improves work, allowing for quick exchange between the employees and contractors and allows to save time and space.
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No matter if we decide to store our documents only in paper form, or in the electronic version, the key is to properly secure and organize the data. It is important not only from the legal point of view but also in terms of the functioning of the entire company. This affects the organization to a great extent and makes managing much easier, so it’s important to especially take care of this area.
Marketing manager, daily expanding her knowledge in marketing and new technologies. Graduate of Film and Television Production at University of Bradford. In her free time, she likes watching films, taking pictures and learning to play piano.