document retentionDepending on your industry, document and record retention can be vital – if not required by law – for your company to do business.

Due to required document retention policies in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA), document management and retention has risen to a high priority among CIOs and others.

Consider the need to retain agreements to meet legal requirements when contracting to local, state or federal entities. As a post on the website Government Video points out, “…when you do business with the government, you are under a duty to retain contract, cost, and pricing records for a certain period of time, generally three years from the date of final payment… For certain records, the period runs from the end of the fiscal year in which the cost was incurred, so that the actual retention period could last even longer.”

An important and often overlooked component to a proper document retention policy is the timeline for document expiry and destruction. Of course, just having these policies in place does not guarantee that the right steps are being followed according to schedules.

For some companies, the number of start dates for different contracts can be difficult to track. If your company conducts a majority or large share of its business with government, the number of dates to track can be dizzying.

Now here’s a little-known fact: using contract management software can actually help you adhere to document retention (and destruction) policies. Blueridge’s Contract Assistant software features a way to set alerts on different records. How easy would it be to track expiration and destruction dates when your software simply alerts you of key dates. Both the Standard and PRO editions allow alert setting (the multi-user PRO version features more alert options as well).

If you really want to make your life easier, consider the Contract Assistant Enterprise Edition which features email delivery of alerts. The alerts – set by user or admin-level users – via email ensure that no matter how busy you may be, you’ll be reminded of key dates.

For tips on how to get started on crafting your own document retention policy, or to refine your existing policy, check out these links from CIO.com, ASAE Center for Association Leadership, and Information Management Magazine.

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