What Business Documents Should You Shred Immediately

Posted  April 29, 2021  by  Jenny Green

Different coloured bull dog paperstacks with workers hand holding a pen.

What Business Documents Should You Shred Immediately?

To shred, or not to shred? That is the question – for good reason. Knowing exactly what business documents to shred immediately is a challenge for any organisation, regardless of size. But even so, protecting the privacy of any sensitive data you hold is paramount.

Failure to do so will almost certainly result in a data breach and the subsequent fines and reputational damage that can follow at the hands of the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC).
In this article, we’ll explore some of rules and regulations surrounding business documents. Combined with a look at the confidential information you should aim to shred immediately, to protect your customers, employees and company, with the support of Shred-it.

How Long Should You Keep Business Documents in Australia?

Part and parcel of knowing what to shred requires an understanding of business record keeping requirements. But many organisations are unsure exactly how long they should keep hold of certain documents, such as tax records.

In response to this specific question, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) 1  states that: you need to keep most records for five years, starting from when you prepared or obtained the records, or completed the transactions.
Perhaps most significantly, however, in the entire time you hold such sensitive documentation, your records must not be changed and must be stored in a way that restricts the information from being changed or the record damaged.

Once this time has passed, secure document destruction is recommended to ensure old business and tax records never fall into the wrong hands. Which is where it pays to work with a partner like Shred-it, who prides itself on its world-class business document & paper shredding services and secure chain of custody.

But beyond tax records, there are many other business documents you should shred immediately. So, if you’re unsure exactly what documents to destroy, we’ve created a list of five of the most at risk records you should always securely dispose of.

Some Business Documents You Should Shred

But what are some documents you should shred? Here we list some of the key business documents that you will want to ensure are destroyed correctly:

1. Old Invoices
Invoices are an important part of every business; it’s how we get paid after all. But leaving old invoices lying around or disposing of them insecurely is a data breach waiting to happen. How would you explain to a client that your failure to shred an invoice has led to their confidential information being stolen?

2. Bank & Credit Card Statements
Bank or credit card details and statements might seem like a straightforward one, but you’d be surprised at the amount of times this sort if information finds itself in the rubbish. So, don’t take the risk, opt for paperless online statements where possible or securely shred these documents as soon as they’re done with.

3. CVs
CVs are less obvious, but when you think about it, the name, phone number, address and email address are a golden ticket for data thieves, all contained within one convenient piece of paper. Once you’ve interviewed a candidate and are done with their CV, ensure the document is securely disposed of immediately.

4. Old Pay Slips
Discarding of old payslips in unsecure rubbish bins – in the office or at home – could see your address, bank account number and other personal information falling into the hands of bad actors. So, why take the risk? Securely shred payslips as soon as you have safely recorded any information you require.

5. Photo Identification
Documents that contain photo identification, such as old identity cards, can gift data thieves a ready-made template to start assuming your digital identity. Our specialty shredding services can help with the secure destruction of such items, but don’t leave it to chance and wait until it’s too late – destroy these items the minute they’re no longer needed.

Protect Your Business with Shred-it Australia

If you’re ever unsure as to what business documents you should shred immediately, it’s always worth checking in with official bodies such as the OAIC and ATO. But our committed team will always be happy to answer your enquiries and assist you in any way possible.

For other sensitive documents, such as those listed above, there’s only one way to make sure confidential documents don’t end up in the wrong hands – and that’s to destroy them.
By introducing a Shred-it All Policy, this can greatly reduce the risk of human error in the handling of sensitive information.

Get in touch today for a no-obligation quote, or to learn more about the ways we can protect and serve the exact needs of your business.
1 Australian Taxation Office (ATO)

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