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Records Management for Tax Season and Beyond
Is tax season driving you crazy? The mad scramble to locate and organize financial records is stressful and time-consuming. And even though you’ve had plenty of time to get your ducks in a row, you find yourself in the same predicament during the first quarter of every year: unprepared and unorganized.
How you handle your documents during tax season is likely a strong indicator of how you manage the rest of your information. It can also provide you with the impetus you need to move forward with a better plan for managing your records. We’ve outlined several solutions for organizing your documents so you can meet the challenges of tax season and become more efficient and productive overall.
Keeping up with paper records is a pain. Throughout the year, they get filed away in various places without a systematic process. You may have a general idea of where your documents are located but locating and retrieving them still eats up your time. Scanning your records to an electronic format makes searching for and retrieving the information you need easier. After all, if your accountant is using electronic files, shouldn’t you be doing so too?
Convert to Electronic Files
Luckily, these days many printers come equipped with scanning functionality, making periodic scanning of receipts and documents relatively easy. If you’re hoping to scan a large volume of files to reduce your overall dependence on paper, time and cost can be saved by using a professional document scanning service. Trained and screened imaging technicians scan your old documents and convert them to digitally readable format. Using high-volume, professional imaging equipment and quality assurance processes, your paper records are:
- sorted and organized prior to scanning
- digitized and indexed
- tagged for enhanced search capabilities
You’re also provided with optical character recognition (OCR), coding and bates stamping options to support specific workflow options.
Backup and Protect
If you decide to convert your paper documents to electronic files, you’ll want to make sure that you back up your digital information. Disaster recovery experts also recommend protecting backup data in a location separate from your primary place of business. A data protection service offering offsite media vaulting can help you make sure that all of your critical information is safeguarded against theft, natural disasters and accidental data loss and is able to be quickly recovered.
Store Archival Retention Documents Offsite
Tax-related records should typically be retained for 3-5 years. While you can scan past years’ tax documents, as long as they are properly organized and indexed, it may be more cost-effective to maintain them in their current hardcopy format. It’s important to make sure they are stored in a place that protects them unauthorized access and disaster.
A professional records storage service allows your documents to be stored offsite and managed within a secure records center. After you close your files, those that require retention can be picked up by your records management vendor, transported to their offsite storage facility, and tracked with barcode technology. Like your electronic records, your paper documents can be also be indexed, providing you with a more thorough account of your information. Since retention periods are managed for you, documents can be destroyed precisely at the end of their lifecycle, thereby reducing your audit exposure. Professional records storage and management provides ongoing protection for your records and enhances the administration of your information.
Records Management Center provides records and information management solutions to businesses throughout Augusta, Evans, Thomson, and Martinez, GA, and Aiken, SC and the Central Savannah River Area. To find out more, please contact us by phone or fill in the form on this page.