GAP 200.240, Retention Period of Accounting Documents

  1. Policy Statement
  2. General Responsibility
  3. General Guidelines
  4. Document Retention Schedule - Controller's Division
  5. Document Retention Schedule - Financial Services Departments
  6. Document Retention Schedule - Other Departments

 


 

I. POLICY STATEMENT

Duke University has put into place guidelines in order to standardize retention of accounting documents, designating specific retention periods, as well as official methods and locations for storage.  

Minimum retention requirements for accounting documents are established as part of an effective internal control program to ensure the University can provide the documents requested by any federal, state and local agencies within the Statutes of Limitations.  Other benefits include ensuring preservation of historical accounting documents, optimizing the use of space, minimizing the cost of document retention, and ensuring the proper destruction of outdated and useless documents.

All University accounting documents should be retained in the manner outlined in this GAP. Official accounting documents of the University should be destroyed in accordance with GAP 200.250, Destruction of Accounting Documents

When referencing the document retention schedule, keep these factors in mind:

  • Retention periods are classified by broad categories of documents for the departments of the Controller’s Division (see section IV) and by department for all other relevant accounting documents generated by Financial Services (see section V). If you are unsure as to what category a particular accounting document belongs, please e-mail, AcctgSysAdmin at duke.edu, for assistance, or call (919) 684-2752. Do not destroy the accounting document until a retention period is established.
  • Retention periods for departments outside of the Controllers Division and Financial Services should follow the general guidelines outlined in section VI. If you are unsure as to what category a particular accounting document belongs, please e-mail, AcctgSysAdmin at duke.edu, for assistance, or call (919) 684-2752. Do not destroy the accounting document until a retention period is established.
  • If you are aware of an audit of Duke’s financial records being conducted by a federal or state agency, do not destroy any accounting documents that may be required for the audit until completion of the audit.
  • Where documents having one retention period cannot be separated from documents having a longer retention period, both documents should be retained for the longer period.
  • Duplicate copies of a document (i.e., documents that are not the original or official copy) do not need specific approval for their destruction.
  • Documents in this procedure, which have retention periods of less than one year or are to be retained until superseded do not need specific approval for their destruction.

 

II. GENERAL RESPONSIBILITY

Each department or unit that maintains University accounting documents is responsible for establishing document retention management practices that adhere to the policies outlined in this GAP and GAP 200.250, Destruction of Accounting Documents.

Each unit’s administrative manager or a designee must:

  • implement the unit’s and/or office's document management practices;
  • ensure that those practices are consistent with this policy;
  • educate all other staff in adhering to these practices;
  • ensure that access to confidential files is restricted; the carryover of these restrictions to University Archives should be negotiated at the time of transfer;
  • destroy inactive documents that have exceeded their applicable retention periods, if they have no archival value. The University Archivist should be contacted if you have inactive documents that may be of historical value. If you question whether a document or class of documents has archival value to the University, contact the University Archivist.

On-line transactions
Administrative offices responsible for maintaining on-line applications retain the on-line transactions. Example: Administrative Services Management (ASM) has oversight of the SAP system.

Internal Billing transactions
Departments initiating the invoices retain the original documents

Microfiche
Departments responsible for the microfiche retain the original fiche.

 

III. GENERAL GUIDELINES

Sponsored Research

Financial documents supporting sponsored research, statistical records, and all other documents pertinent to an award should be retained for a period of three years from the date of submission of the final expenditure report. For awards that are renewed quarterly or annually, retain documents for three years from the date of submission of the quarterly or annual financial reports, as authorized by the Federal Agency.

Exceptions to this general guideline are:

  • If litigation is pending - retain documents until settled.
  • Documents representing real property and equipment acquired with federal funds retain for three years after disposal.
  • Documents transferred or maintained by federal awarding agency - no retention period.

     

Departments

Original documents from external sources should be maintained a minimum of 7 years with a few exceptions. Retention of departmental copies is at the discretion of the department. Departmental procedure should be established.

Administrative Departments

Original documents, files, film, and microfiche should be maintained for a minimum of 7 years with a few exceptions.

Office of the University Archivist

The University Archivist will be a resource for developing retention guidelines for documents not covered by this procedure. The University Archives is the official repository for permanent but inactive documents.

 

IV. DOCUMENT RETENTION SCHEDULES - CONTROLLERS DIVISION

 

 FINANCIAL-RELATED DOCUMENTS - CONTROLLER'S DIVISION
  Type of Document   Reponsible Department   Required Retention Period
Account reconciliations (assets and liabilities)   Appropriate department   7 years
Accounting reports (monthly departmental reports)   Appropriate department   7 years / 3 years
Accounts payable invoices, check requests, and related documents   Appropriate department   7 years
Actuarial reports (FASB plans, WC, LTD, health plans)   Appropriate department   Permanent
Annual GAAP financial reports   Financial Reporting   Permanent
Banking records - deposit and withdrawal records, voided and canceled checks, and other bank-related documents   Appropriate department   7 years
Correspondence with governmental and other external regulatory parties   Appropriate department   Permanent
Departmental policies, procedures, and other related documentation   Appropriate department   3 years
General ledger master data   AcctgSysAdmin   1 year + CFY/Permanent
Information / Income / Corporate Tax Returns   Corporate Tax   Permanent
Payroll -  time cards   Payroll   7 years
Payroll - Personnel-related documents   Appropriate department   7 years
Payroll - record of payment and deductions   Appropriate department   7 years
Payroll and other tax-related documents filed with federal and state authorities (W2, 941,1042s, etc.)   Appropriate department   7 years
Personnel files - departmental copies including performance measurement documentation   Appropriate department   3 years after seperation
SAP Journal entries and related back-up documentation   Appropriate department   7 years
Sales / Excise / Miscellaneous tax returns and support   Corporate Tax   7 years
Supporting documentation for Annual GAAP financial reports & interim reporting   Financial Reporting   7 years
Supporting documentation for Information / Income / Corporate Tax Returns   Corporate Tax & Financial Reporting   7 years
Unclaimed property filings and supporting documentation   Corporate Tax   Permanent

 

V. DOCUMENT RETENTION SCHEDULES – FINANCIAL SERVICES

Budget and Analysis (University)
Bursar's Office
Employee Travel and Reimbursement
Endowment/Investment Accounting Office
Plant Accounting
Treasury Operations

 

VI. DOCUMENT RETENTION SCHEDULES – OTHER DEPARTMENTS

Departments
IRS and CN Department of Revenue Agreement