Document Retention and Destruction Policy

Posted on Wednesday, October 09, 2013

There are only two policies of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 that are required to be implemented by nonprofit organizations, one of which is a document retention and destruction policy. 

A documentation retention and destruction policy describes how, where, and for how long the organization’s documents are kept, as well as, how and when documents are destroyed.  It is important that the policy also include a statement that all destruction will be suspended immediately upon any indication of an official investigation or when a lawsuit is filed or appears imminent. 

In addition, guidelines for handling electronic documents versus paper documents should be addressed, including the format for saving documents, accessing the information, procedures for backing up information and procedures for archiving documents.

Retention periods vary for different types of documents.  Some governing documents may need to be maintained permanently by the organization while monthly statements may need to be kept for only seven years.   The organization’s policy should include a list of documents and the length of time the organization should retain each document.  Below is a list of some common documents and the suggested period each should be maintained by the organization.

General

Financial

Governance

Grants

Human Resources

Posted by: Carrie Minnich, CPA

Posted in Mission Minded Nonprofits

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