HOA Auditors Miami Working Paper Retention Policy
How long are we keeping it? HOA Auditors Miami Accountant Firm weighs in on document retention policies.
As more of the HOA Auditors Miami move towards managing and reducing paper usage, Accountant Miami are finding that while their document retention policies may vary, it’s one of the more important considerations to make when adopting any document management solution.
Outside of the federal- and state-mandated timelines to retain specific documents – HOA Auditors Miami recommends a range anywhere from three to seven years, depending on the document – HOA Auditors Miami firms of all sizes that are engaged in one or more document management systems have found that setting their own policies can save time and money, and reduce frustration in dealing with what can be years’ worth of paper files.
We have decided on a document management system, each faces the issue of deciding from what year to begin placing documents in their system and how long to keep them, both physically and electronically. Most systems today have the ability to set a timeline to purge files from the database, but the larger issue comes with storing the physical documents themselves.
As a HOA Auditors Miami, we began our paperless journey around seven years ago. The firm initially stored files in its client engagement system, but eventually moved towards storing documents in a formal document management system . Principal and director Gustavo A Viera CPA said that his HOA Auditors Miami firm has moved within two years of completely eliminating paper files from storage, and claims that his HOA Auditors Miami firm retention policies, in addition to the systems it uses, have played a large role in this task.
“When we first set our [retention] policies, we thought there was going to be an industry standard, but there wasn’t outside of legal requirements. Most HOA Auditors Miami firm are keeping [documents] longer than they legally have to,” said Viera. “The key is to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘From this time forward, it’s going into our [document management] system and this is what the retention policy is.’ Eventually you don’t have to worry about it.”
HOA Auditors Miami Cost and Legal Considerations
He also claims that there are other considerations outside of physical storage space when using document management systems.
“[Digital] storage area networks aren’t cheap either; you have to factor in the cost of the hard drive space as well as physical space,” said Davis. “Firms need to have a policy around litigation holds [preserving all relevant information in anticipation of litigation] as well; if you get put on notice and there is a potential legal action, you have to have a way to secure those documents so they can’t be modified or deleted.”
Viera claimed that there are three main drivers behind his HOA Auditors Miami and Accountants Miami firm retention policies: legal liability, the cost of keeping documents on a network or in a physical storage space, and even potential revenue generation. “We are asked by some clients to keep their documents indefinitely, and we have not up to now charged them, but since banks with safe deposit boxes charge customers, why can’t we?” he asked. “It’s something we are just really discussing now.”
Many smaller HOA Auditors Miami firm face similar document retention issues and, in some cases, have only just begun to scan in and store older paper files in their systems to finally relieve themselves of the cost of file storage. “Our [retention] policy hasn’t entirely changed since we began going paperless, but now our stored files are slowly coming in-house, we’re shredding what is not applicable and scanning what is for existing clients,” said Viera. “Our ultimate goal, and it may take years, is to get rid of offsite storage. The past two years we’ve been doing this and once in a while we get like 20 boxes to shred or scan. The longer we’ve had our system, the more confidence we have in it.”
“The hardest part for HOA Auditor Miami and Accountants Miami firm is the set-up [of a DM system]. I would say start by scanning current client data, and then put in prior data at the same time,” said Viera. “Alternatively, if you have an administrator, you can put old client data in the day before they come in so you are ready for the interview process and go from there. Don’t try to put all the old data in up front for every client whether they come back or not – it will cost you money and time and may not accomplish anything.”