Legal & finance tips for divisions

APA's Office of General Counsel and Office of Financial Services answer questions and provide tips for division leaders.

Document and Information Retention

A flood can happen as can a fire. A computer can crash and if it has not been backed up, the files can be lost forever. Where are your documents? Are they safe?

A flood can happen. Are your documents safe?Throughout the years, a division generates many documents that are either legal or historical in nature. They receive receipts and create financial records, enter into contracts, publish. In all cases, as leadership changes from year to year, documents and information get lost, misplaced, or worse, destroyed. Even divisions that have longstanding administrative assistants or executive directors can run into problems. Legally, we have requirements to keep documents (e.g., contracts must be kept for three years after they have terminated) and for historical purposes, it is important for the division to keep records of where they have been and what they have been doing. Several times a year, we are asked if we have copies of contracts, bank statements, investment fund signature authority cards, etc., from five, 10 and even 30 years ago. In most cases, unfortunately, we do not have these and we spend a lot of time with the division trying to locate these documents or recreating them, as necessary. Much of this can be avoided.

The Office of General Counsel and the Division Services Office can act as a repository for your documents. You can email them to us or send them to us for scanning and return. Feel free to be overly broad in what to save. Our systems are backed up on a constant basis and are redundant so losing a document would be very tough. We encourage any and all divisions to take advantage of this service, it is free and it complies with best practice and the law.

This repository is mainly for business records that are in active use. There is also the APA Archives for storing the permanent history of the division, documents that are not in active use. For more on the Archives, see Chapter 8 of the Division Officers Handbook.

APA's Central Office can provide division leaders with finance or legal support. For additional questions, contact:

  • Finance questions: Jennifer Aldridge or Holly Flynn
  • Legal/contract questions: Jesse Raben