End of Year Project: Review Retention Policies and Purge Expired Files

Our ebook, Firm Operations: Office Productivity Projects, provides instructions for 9 projects firms can complete before tax season. Varying in complexity from a few hours to a few weeks, the projects span areas including managing client and firm data, improving client service, and preparing staff to succeed. The project below, “Review retention policies and purge expired files ” is a sample project from the ebook. 

Many firms purge expired files prior to the start of tax season. Obviously, getting rid of unneeded documents is not just a good way to cut clutter and make space for new files. It’s also vital to minimize the firm’s liability. After all, keeping documents too long can be just as risky as not keeping them long enough.

The Basics

Stakeholders: A document management champion, firm administrator, file owners

Supplies: Digital files, recycle bin

Frequency: Monthly

Get started

  1. Open the CCH Axcess Document recycle bin and view the expired files tab.
  2. Group the files by partner, manager or client-responsible staff and then export the list for file owners to review.
  3. Restore any file that you don’t want to purge. Remaining files will be purged.

Take it to the next level:

Automatic file purging is faster, easier and more consistent than manual reviews. However, the only catch is that you need to be confident you have assigned your files to the correct classes and subclasses, and that you’ve set appropriate retention rules for each type of file.

Additional resources

For help setting up an appropriate file retention policy, a document management consultant can guide you through record retention best practices.

The AICPA offers a document retention guide to its members, which includes a sample document retention policy for firms to customize and adapt.

SEC Rules for Retention of Records Relevant to Audits and Reviews.

National Association of Enrolled Agents – Record Retention Requirements information.

Next steps

Of course, purging expired files is only one of the projects outlined in the Firm Operations: Office Productivity Projects ebook. Fill out the form below to request your free copy of the eBook.


Aimee Hall

Product Marketing Manager at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting

All stories by: Aimee Hall