As we go through life, most of us accumulate an incredible paper trail. Maintaining financial records is a source of constant annoyance for most of us, with the filing cabinet far from our favourite piece of home furniture. Having said this, financial records are a necessary burden: without them, we’d be liable to all sorts of risks, relating to everything from over-taxation to lawsuits. There are a few measures you can take that you avoid these eventualities – even if they’re not exactly sexy.

Computer crashes

In order to minimise the physical presence of our financial records, we tend to store our documents on computers. Most of us also make the effort to back up our files, but this routine can sometimes be delayed for months on end, sitting at the bottom of a never-ending list of ‘to-dos’. This leaves us vulnerable to the functionality of technology, with is ultimately fallible. Computers are all well and good for short-term storage, but they can prove to be hazardous if they’re our only method of maintaining financial records. Maintaining multiple copies of all documents – either in the dreaded file cabinet, or through an alternative, third party such as a provider of document storage and destruction in Sydney – will help you avoid falling prey to the risks associated with temperamental technologies.

Electronic documents, especially when buried within far-flung folders and .zip files, can also prove difficult to access. Electronic document management systems, also known as EDMS in Sydney, allow individuals to easily access their desired documents, assured in the knowledge that their personal details are beyond easy access.

Document destructionprotecting-financial-documents-shredder

Depending on who you ask, all finance-related documents should be kept for between five and seven years. (We recommend consulting a financial expert for advice on your personal situation.) However, when you hit the lucky seven, its’ a good idea to get rid of those documents, to replenish space – physical and mental – for more tax returns, income forms and the like. Of course, there are a lot of professional services offering quick and easy document destruction. Alternatively, you could invest in a shredder, and enjoy the catharsis that comes with watching pesky pieces of paper severed into tiny, tiny strands.

Confidentiality and Privacy

Financial documents are intrinsically personal. You probably wouldn’t go shouting your income, your net worth, or your current state of debt from the rooftops, so it can be worthwhile ensuring that your documents are entirely confidential. To protect your documents from any prying eyes, external parties should be considered. Secure services with reputations for trustworthiness, such as Compu-Stor, should be looked at.  They allow you to rest assured, should you be a B-list celebrity or an ABC employee, that your income won’t be splashed across the pages of a tabloid newspaper any time soon.

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