Document Retention for Compliance: Everything You Should Know 


Organizational policies must address how, where, when, and for how long corporate, employee, and client documents are handled and stored. It’s a critical compliance requirement for all types of organizations. Document retention policies are not just useful—they are the law – whether it is SOP documents, training documents, contact information, design controls, device history records, you just name it. 

It can be challenging to comply with compliance and document retention policy requirements and create, distribute, store, and destroy confidential documents, but failing to follow these policies has an even greater cost. Therefore, following the guidance provided by regulatory bodies pays off to avoid steep penalties and button up your document retention policy

What can you do to ensure confidential records and comply with document retention regulations or even exceed them? 

You can use advanced technology solutions like Cloud-Based Document Management Solution! 

For choosing the right document management solution for your business, you must understand certain aspects of document retention. In this post, we will understand what exactly document retention is, what are its best practices, the important elements that contribute to document retention policy, and the best options to meet your document retention needs. 

So, what is document retention? 

Document retention, or records retention, is how your organization stores, maintains, and archives important and confidential information over time. It’s essential to store confidential information across your front, middle, and back offices in a secure, accessible location every day, whether it’s administrative paperwork, financial performance reports, or supplier onboarding documents. 

It is vital to keep documents as long as allowed by regulatory, legal, or business governance practices – or as short as necessary – as evidence that certain decisions are made, transactions are completed, or critical actions are taken. 

The documents and records of financial services organizations and other highly regulated industries are almost always required to be maintained, managed, and archived for a specified time regardless of the organization’s own retention policies. At any time, you need to have access to information, organize it, and make sure it’s safe. This is precisely why a document management system is so crucial. 

Related Article: Top 7 Challenges Document Management Software Help Overcome

Always Remember: Whether you are 100% digital or heavily dependent on paper processes, you must track how long these files need to be kept, access older content when needed, and protect confidential information.

What is the purpose of a document retention policy?

A practical and efficient records management program must destroy documents when necessary unless they are legally required to be retained. Retaining documents effectively involves: 

  • Implementing a system that complies with the law regarding document retention.
  • Providing access to valuable documents when needed.
  • Saving money, space, and time.
  • Avoiding allegations of selective document destruction.
  • Disposition of non-business, unneeded, and outdated documents regularly.

What Should You Consider When Creating a Document Retention Policy?

Every company has different needs when it comes to document retention policies. Developing a document retention policy requires the collaboration of company management, administration, legal counsel, and auditors.

Once policy is created, it must be easily accessible to all the employees in latest version. It ensures that everyone in the company is on same page, when it comes to follow best-practices and policies. Paper-based systems may not be as effective as a cloud-based system for version control, improved accessibility, traceability, and security. Make sure you rely on the right document management system to support your document retention policies.

How Do You Identify a Good Document Management System?

Your firm and its designated administrators must have easy access to your document and records management system, which is secure enough to protect customer information and intuitive sufficient to support your workflow. The following are things to consider:
  • Advanced Security and Access Controls

    All employees should not have access to every document across all functions, departments, and offices. Only designated users should access certain documents based on their knowledge needs. Therefore, make sure you choose a document management system that offers advanced security and access controls so you can share your data across multiple locations without being concerned about its safety.

  • Easy Retrieval and Scalable Storage

    Documents and other records should be accessible immediately by designated users; data should be centralized, easily maintained, and easily shared. Another essential thing to remember is scalable storage that can accommodate your growing document retention needs while meeting compliance. In the end, a cloud-based system is the best way to manage documents.

  • Assistance During Audits

    Accessing audit documents and locating them quickly and efficiently is essential but saving money can also be achieved. For example, reducing your fees and auditor hours is possible by having a document management system that supports the auditing process.

  • Automatic Tracking and Maintenance

    A good system tracks and maintains records automatically from origination to access, storage, archiving, and classification. Moving your firm forward with an automated system can save you time and money. But, to succeed, your organization needs a simple and reliable tool.

One of the most powerful and reliable tools is Qualityze Document Management Software. It is simple to use. Delivered on the cloud platform, it provides the required flexibility, security, and scalability to manage your documents on a centralized platform.

Qualityze Document Management comes with advanced tracking capabilities that assist with document retention activities. It automatically stores the controlled documents, maintaining version control so you and your teams stay updated with the latest guidelines and policies. It supports capabilities like Digital Signature, Watermark, and Third-Party Integration.

From SOPs to training documents, Qualityze Document Management enables you to manage all your controlled documents in a hassle-free manner. The software has configurable workflow so you can align business processes with best document management practices.

Here is what you can expect with Qualityze Document Management Software.

  1. Centralized database to manage all your document in one place.
  2. Advanced security controls to ensure security for every document such as compliance reports, training documents, audit reports, audit checklists, and more.
  3. Digital Signature validation at every step of document workflow.
  4. Audit Trail to ease tracking of document related actions. For example – Document creation, the owner of document, date of creation, release date, approver, and much more.
  5. Email Approval to avoid delays in publishing important documents such as policies, design controls.
  6. Color-Coded Icons so you can easily track where you are in the document workflow.
  7. Automated storage of documents.
  8. Integration with Training Management Software so you can easily create document-based training programs for your employees, suppliers, and customers.
  9. Built-in Version Control so you and your teams refer to the updated documents whenever required.
  10. Watermark functionality to mark the authenticity of the documents released.
  11. Configurable workflow and fields so you can design your document workflow in accordance with your business requirements.
On the top of all, you can easily meet compliance requirements for digital documents. Listed above are a few of impressive functionalities of Qualityze Document Management System. You can experience the Qualityze difference by requesting a free demo right now.

If you need more information about Qualityze Document Management and want to know how it helps align document retention strategy, please contact our customer success team at, or call us at 1-877-207-8616, and we will be happy to help.