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Even in the digital world, it’s still important to keep a hard copy of certain business documents. We want to be able to trust the digital world, and for the most part, we can, but things do go wrong from time to time. With the following 7 hard copies available to you, you can relax knowing that the most important documents have a physical backup on the off chance that anything happens to your digital files.
#1. Tax Returns
Having physical copies of tax returns is super important. Even though tax return records can often be destroyed after seven years, you should make sure that you have copies of tax returns that you can rely on from the moment they are created.
#2. Invoices and Receipts
If you have what’s considered a ‘physical’ business, it’s vital that you keep hold of receipts and invoices for several months at least. Generally, customers have up to four months from the date of purchase to dispute a transaction or otherwise file a complaint, so it’s extra important to have hard copies of these invoices for added peace of mind.
#3. Any Documents With Original Signatures
With so much of business being strictly digital currently, hard copies aren’t typically worried about or focused on as much as they used to be. However, permits or other documentation with original signatures or seals are things that you will want to keep hold of. Sure, you could rely on copies or digital imitations, but nothing beats the real deal.
#4. Documentation Required to Be Displayed by Law
When you own a business, you’ll always be subject to laws and regulations regarding your paperwork. Business licenses are one thing that you may want to have a hard copy of. It’s much easier to source a paper copy of required documentation if you have a visitor than it is to trawl through your online database. Plus, it allows quick access for anyone carrying out an audit.
#5. Any Operating Agreements
Operating agreements essentially summarise who is in charge. If anything untoward happens, a physical copy of an operating agreement can help you to receive the help you need in little to no time and makes it clear who makes the big business decisions within the company.
#6. Bank Statements and Payroll Information
When looking at a company from a financial perspective, these types of documents are the most important. Should any discrepancies occur, you have the peace of mind that there are physical copies available for you to rely on, as well as online copies. This doesn’t have to take up too much space either – make use of a digital cutting table and store your copies in one large folder.
#7. International Documents
Although digital filing systems are the norm in most Western countries, it might not be the same for other countries, so it’s important to keep physical copies of any financial correspondence with foreign countries. It might be worth having digital copies and physical copies just to make international communications that extra bit easier, too.
As you can see, even in the digital world, there are still some business documents that it is essential to keep a hard copy of – be it required by law, or just as good practice.