Magazine article The CPA Journal

Document Destruction and Privacy Protections

Magazine article The CPA Journal

Document Destruction and Privacy Protections

Article excerpt

CPAs have a legal obligation to have client records properly destroyed, or they may find themselves in direct violation of the 1974 Federal Privacy Act. An on-site document destruction company to destroy end-of-retention files can supply effective legal protection by providing a notarized document-destruction certificate that proves a third party shredded the files on-site. This certificate states where, when, and who shredded the stated files. The company is in compliance with all identity-theft laws and acts by properly disposing of end-of-retention files and possessing proof thereof.

A third-party document-destruction company also facilitates better use of file space because less space is required for unneeded records. It also limits exposure to the new Federal Rule 26 concerning electronic discovery, which requires an entity to produce all records requested within 85 days of a discovery request or risk summary finding against the individual or business. Legally disposing of end-of-retention records decreases the time and effort needed to search for files.

Outsourcing document-destruction also saves time and money because the individual or company no longer needs to own or lease, and then maintain, a consumer shredder designed to handle only a few sheets of paper at a time. Commercial shredders easily handle thick files, metal clips, and staples. A typical banker box of files weighs approximately 60 pounds. A commercial shredder can shred 30 to 50 such boxes per hour.

Finally, 17 trees are saved for every ton of paper that is shredded and recycled, so using a commercial shredder also helps the environment because all shred is recycled rather than used as landfill. …

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