What needs to be archived?
Companies archive various types of documents and data. This can include everything from correspondence with customers and invoices to annual financial reports, encompassing everything generated within the company. However, when it comes to archiving business records, there are legal requirements where the option of archiving voluntarily is removed, and storage becomes mandatory. The obligation to retain documents is based on the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) or, in the case of digital data storage, on the Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles (GARP).
Critical to the obligation to archive is that the documents have tax relevance. However, not every document needs to be retained for the same period. Here, too, the legislator has established specific guidelines in the form of retention periods.
The primary business records that are subject to mandatory archiving according to the legislator include:
- Books and records
- Annual financial statements, consisting of the balance sheet and income statement
- Management reports
- Opening balance sheet
- Work instructions and other organizational documents necessary to understand these records
- Received commercial and business letters (e.g., emails)
- Copies of sent commercial and business letters
- Booking receipts