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A records retention schedule ensures that an organization keeps the records it needs for operational, legal, fiscal or historical reasons, and then destroys them when they're no longer useful. You may base your records retention schedule on your own experience and research of legal mandates or on what other companies are doing.

Whatever your method, use your retention schedule as a guide, not as an executioner. Retain records longer if litigation, a government investigation or an audit seems likely. In the event that a legal action does transpire, immediately cease all disposal activities.

You have to know what you have and how long to keep it—legally and for your own business purposes—before you can establish an efficient records management system. That's why it's important to inventory your records and draw up a company retention schedule.

You must also consider state and local statutes of limitations as well as regulatio...(register to read more)

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