How long should I keep business records

Most businesses generate paperwork that needs to be retained and accessed regularly. There are many different forms of paperwork – business records, tax figures, expenses, employee records and many more. Whilst many companies will have some form of digital storage for this important information, there are certain documents that need to be physically retained and safely stored – and these documents can take up considerable space!

Renting a business storage unit for your archive storage is an effective and affordable option to consider.

Here are some of the types of documents that may need to be retained by your business – and some guidance as to how best cater for that storage:

Certain business records need to be archived for specific periods

Depending upon your business, there are certain documents that you may need to legally physically retain for specific time periods. These are some of the items of paperwork that you should consider for business document storage and the storage time frames required for them:

  • All sales information – till rolls, invoices, bank statements, cash receipts, accounting records and deposit slips.
  • PAYE records – All Pay As You Earn payments made to employees, tax deductions, National Insurance payments, statutory payments and any student loan payments.
  • All receipts, purchase invoices, bank statements, credit card statements, motoring and mileage expense records.
  • All assets, liabilities, expenditure and income records.
  • Benefit records such as sick pay, maternity, paternity and any employee benefits.
  • If your business is VAT registered all VAT accounts records.
  • All staff records.

ALL THESE documents need to be stored for specific timeframes:

  • Tax and Accounting documents – for Private Companies, 3 years – for Public limited Companies, 6 years
  • Immigration Checks – 2 years following employment termination
  • Expense Accounts – 6 years
  • Salary Records – 6 years and 3 years after end of pay reference period
  • Annual Leave and Working Time Records – 2 years
  • Maternity and Paternity – 3 years from relevant tax period/year
  • National Insurance and HMRC correspondence – 3 years from end of related tax year
  • Accident and Injury Reports – 3 years

Effective document archive storage

All these documents need to be kept in good order and condition – to maintain the necessary quality, files need to be stored in dry, clean and secure spaces, free from damp and humidity and, of course, theft! When packing away your documents for storage consider these aspects:

  • Use the height in your storage unit – maximise this space by using additional shelving or tall storage racks
  • Ensure the most popular, or most frequently required, items are stored nearer the front of your business document storage unit
  • Ensure that the heavier boxes are kept at the bottom the storage stacks – this is to minimise any potential collapse of the stack which may damage the documents – or the people accessing them!
  • Have a comprehensive inventory of all documents packed away and where they are placed in the business storage unit. This will make accessing the documents quicker and easier when they are required.
  • Try to leave a free walkway or passage through the stacked document boxes – again to make it easier and quicker to locate any document when needed.
  • Ensure that EVERY box is labelled clearly and accurately! It is always worth labelling every side of the box to make identification easier.

Business document storage facilities will offer both long and short term contracts for storing your important items safely and securely, whilst allowing you permanent access to your items.

Chelsea Self Storage

Chelsea Self Storage we have 30 years experience in providing the ideal storage solutions for businesses. We understand the optimal storage methods for archived documents and records and can help you calculate the right size of unit you’ll need to maximise your budget. With some of the lowest competitive rates in the capital, we’re convinced that we can offer a file management solution that’s just right for your business.

We are conveniently located near Kensington, a short walk from the Kings Road in Fulham, and have satisfied clients right across London who can testify to our capability and customer service.

If you need to reclaim valuable office storage space then contact us today and we’ll be happy to help you archive your records safely and securely.