How long should you keep important records and documents?

Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA is a Principal with Holbrook & Manter, CPAs
Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA is a Principal with Holbrook & Manter, CPAs

We are all guilty of it- we don’t take the time to review all of our important records on a regular basis. Before we know it we have file folders stuffed to the brim with documents from many years ago. Piles cover our desks and filing cabinets comprised of papers we are hanging onto because we aren’t sure how long we should keep them. When it comes to business and personal accounting records, there is a method to the madness.  I will lay out some general guidelines below to hopefully help you keep legal and tax problems at bay.


Type of record                                                               Retention period

Accounts payable ledgers and schedules                         7 years

Accounts receivable ledgers and schedules                    7 years

Auditors’ report                                                                 Permanently

Bank reconciliations/statements                                   2-3 years

Cash disbursements                                                          Permanently

Cash receipts journal                                                        Permanently

Financial statements                                                        Permanently

Fixed asset records                                                           Permanently

Employment applications                                               3 years

Insurance policies (expired)                                            3 years

Insurance records, current accident reports               Permanently

Inventory listings and tags                                              7 years

Invoices (to customers, from vendors)                         7 years

Payroll records and summaries                                         7 years

Personnel files (terminated)                                          7 years

Stocks and bonds certificates (canceled)                         7 years

Tax returns and worksheets, revenue agents’

reports, other documents relating to

determination of income tax liability                          Permanently

Time books/cards                                                              7 years

Training manuals                                                               Permanently

Brian E. Ravencraft, CPA, CGMA is a Principal with Holbrook & Manter, CPAs. Brian has been with Holbrook & Manter since 1995, primarily focusing on the areas of Tax Consulting and Management Advisory Services within several firm service areas, focusing on agri-business and closely held businesses and their owners. Holbrook & Manter is a professional services firm founded in 1919 and we are unique in that we offer the resources of a large firm without compromising the focused and responsive personal attention that each client deserves. You can reach Brian through or at

Check Also

OSU Dean’s Charity Steer show final tally for charity is $247,148

The donations are in and an impressive $247,148 was raised by the Dean’s Charity Steer …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.