Retention of accounting records and other corporate records

One of the most common questions that clients ask us is, “How long should we retain our accounting records?”

This is clearly an important issue because, regardless of whether they are in paper, electronic or some other form, the longer they have to be kept, the more expensive it is for the organisation.

The actual period that records are kept will depend on a number of factors including:

  • Legal and related requirements
  • Costs
  • The organisation’s own need to access the document
  • Historical value

Each type of document needs to be assessed separately. In the case of many types of document, it will be sufficient to keep them only for the period required by statute; others will be essential reference material in future years and the organisation might, therefore, decide to keep them longer than the period required by law.

In the tables, we set out the suggested retention period for the documents most commonly held by charities and give a brief explanation of the retention period given.

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