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Records Retention


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I'm winding down and as clients retire or move on, I'm wondering about record retention.  I've got filing cabinets worth of old 5500s, Plan Documents, valuations, trust accountings, etc.  All my paper has either been provided to me, or generated by me and sent to the clients.  

So, the questions are, how long do I have to keep this stuff?  Does anyone charge for "Record Retention?".  Do you offer to send the client all  your files?  

Shredder's looking hungry. ?

 

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If you can swing it (college interns) - scan, check the scan (by an intern other than the scanner) and then shred the paper (or return to the client).  We were able to fit 35 years of our firm on a 1Tb USB drive prior to our sale.  If you've got good a file naming convention, it's easy to track down info.  That way, if there are ever any questions, you've got it all.  Of course this may be above and beyond what's legally required, but you may be the last standing repository of this information. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

The date in the file name should not be necessary for chronological sorting, but there are other reasons why you might want to include a date in some of the file names.  I wouldn't put a date in every file name though.  A good naming convention should not make the file name so long and cluttered that it takes more time than a quick scan to pick your file out out of a folder.

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13 hours ago, Mike Preston said:

Horrible idea, every software should be able to sort chronologically without including the date in the file name itself.

The metadata on the file will show the date the file was created or last updated. If we are talking about scanning documents, the date in the metadata would be the date the document was scanned, not the date of the original document. If you wanted to set the timestamp on the file to something other than the date it was scanned, you would need to do so manually. Every file manager in existence lets you rename files. It is not usually so easy to modify a file's timestamp without some specialty software.

This kind of metadata is also sometimes lost when files are backed up or restored. Well-designed software would carefully preserve it but sadly that is not always the case. The information contained in the file name is much more likely to survive.

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