CCH Axcess™ Document offers fully automated file retention to manage firm and client documents through the entire document lifecycle. During the recent CCH Connections User Conference in San Francisco, I spoke with a number of customers who didn’t realize the full potential of Document’s file retention capabilities. As we near the end of 2017, many firms are preparing to purge expired files from the Document Recycle bin to get ready for the coming tax busy season. So I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some tips on how your firm can get the most from CCH Axcess Document’s Recycle Bin and file retention capabilities.
Automatic File Retention
When files are added to CCH Axcess Document, you assign a class and subclass to each file. The assigned class and subclass drive the file’s retention calculation. For example, many firms assign a 7 or 8-year retention to the Tax class. Then, files assigned the Tax class are stored in Document until they expire and are moved to the recycle bin. These files appear on the Expired Files tab in the recycle bin, separate from user-deleted files.
Customized Recycle Bin Reporting
Firm Administrators can customize their view of the Recycle Bin by grouping, sorting and filtering data. They can also add, remove and rearrange some of the columns in the Recycle Bin grids. This summer, we added a new column that shows the Primary Partner, Manager or other client-responsible staff role, next to each file in the recycle bin. You can even group, sort or filter by this column. Then, once you’ve customized the view the way you like it, you can print or export the recycle bin grids. Deliver the report to the appropriate staff for review. To reduce the amount of time spent reviewing these lists, we recommend monthly or at most quarterly reviews. Any files that need to be restored can be restored. Any remaining files can be automatically purged by the recycle bin on a set schedule.
Automatic Purge on a Recurring Schedule
The automatic purge feature in Document’s Recycle Bin is one of the most powerful features of Document. Yet we find that a lot of firms are either unaware of it or they are afraid to use it. A properly configured Recycle Bin can save firm administrators and client-responsible staff several hours each month. It can free up storage for current documents, and ensure that your firm sticks to its written file retention policy. Your firm does have a written file retention policy, right? Keeping files longer than required by law can actually hurt your firm, if older files are discovered during e-discovery. Having an automatic purging system will help protect your firm.
Here’s how the Automatic Purge feature works. Firm Admins can choose to enable or disable the automatic purge. Once enabled, a number of purge options are made available. First, you can decide if you want to automatically purge user-deleted files or expired files, or both. Next, you can configure the recurrence pattern for the automatic purge. You can schedule the purge event to occur on nearly any schedule you can think of. For example, you could set it to purge every day, or once a year on December 31st, or just about anywhere in between. You can also configure the firm user to show in File Audit and File History, as the user who purged the files.
A new purge protection feature protects files from being automatically purged until those files have been in the recycle bin for a minimum number of days, which is set by the firm. This allows firm staff enough time to create and review a recycle bin report to look for any files that should not be purged. For example, if the firm sets the purge protection to 45 days, then any time the automatic purge runs, it will check each file to ensure it was deleted (moved to the recycle bin) at least 45 days ago. If it was, then the file is permanently purged. However, if the file was deleted less than 45 days ago, then the file remains in the recycle bin. The next time the purge engine runs and the file has been in the recycle bin for at least 45 days, then it would be purged.
Cloud Purge Restore
This summer, we introduced the Cloud Purge Restore (CPR) feature. With CPR enabled, The default firm administrator can recover purged files for up to 90 days from the purge date. The firm administrator must enable this feature beforehand. Then any files purged after that point can be restored within 90 days. After this 90-day period, or if the Cloud Purge Restore feature was not enabled prior to purging the file, the file is irretrievably purged and our customer support and development teams will be unable to restore these files.
With CPR enabled, the default firm admin can restore documents. They will see a Cloud Purge Restore tab in the recycle bin. That’s where they can view all the purged files from the last 90 days. To restore files, check the box in front of each file you want to restore and click Restore File. CPR restores the file(s) back to the recycle bin, including all previous file history and any available prior versions! From there, you can restore files back into Document. If the files were deleted because they had expired, update the file retention, or they’ll end up purged again.
Whether someone missed a file while reviewing the recycle bin report or accidentally emptied the entire recycle bin, the Cloud Purge Restore feature can really be a life-saver, but only if it’s enabled before the file(s) are purged!
End-to-End File Management and Retention
CCH Axcess Document makes it very easy to manage file retention and timely destruction. When configured properly, firms can set a recycle bin review cadence, deliver reports to appropriate reviewers, and purge the recycle bin on a set schedule. Files that firms need to retain longer can be restored back into Document, as needed. The new purge protection feature will ensure that the firm has enough time to review the files in the recycle bin before the automatic purge engine deletes the files from the recycle bin. And just in case a file is accidentally purged, if Cloud Purge Restore is enabled, your firm can recover that file for up to 90 days from the date it was purged. All of these features add up to significant time savings. They keep Document running smoothly, and ensure that that your firm is following its records retention policy.