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The start of June brings with it the torrential hurricane season. While homeowners scurry to prepare for the unleash of storms, businesses, too, should be ready to protect their assets. Crucial to every business is their documents. Soggy paperwork has no credibility, so safeguard the company’s documents in preparation for hurricane season.
A business owner’s first step in protecting the company’s documents is knowing which files, paperwork and correspondence are critical to its operations.
What are common business documents to safeguard?
For many businesses, it is impossible to legally operate without permits. State or local governments may issue permits. Business owners are wise to keep these invaluable licenses secure at all times. Businesses that are vulnerable to the effects of hurricanes should doubly safeguard their permits.
2. Tax Records
The Internal Revenue Service may peek its head into your business operations if the agency wants to conduct random inspections. Avoid complications by securing all business tax records. Additionally, tax documents are essential for notating the progress of your business.
3. Shareholders’ Agreements
Shareholders’ rights are outlined in a document known as a shareholders’ agreement, also familiarly known in the business world as a stockholders’ agreement. This important document protects shareholders and ensures investing members that they are treated with the utmost fairness.
Also critical are documents that feature a corporation’s rules or framework. These policies are developed by management and are stipulated in the company’s bylaws. How important issues are handled is documented in the bylaws.
Not only do leases provide a business with the legal authority to occupy a space, but advantageous terms in past leases become useful when negotiating future leases. Rather than discard previous leases, safeguard all past leases. Securing current leases is a clear and obvious protocol.
6. Stock Certificates
Businesses that invest in companies should retain their stock certificates. These certificates show the number of shares owned by a company, the date, important signatures and an identifying corporate seal. Difficult to replace, stock certificates make settling proof of ownership easier.
7. Ownership Records
Documents that show the satisfaction of debts, deeds and loans should be safeguarded at all times. Property ownership records like mortgages are kept in the local county’s office, but in the unanticipated event of a mix up on the lender’s part, business owners should be prepared to display permanent records.
8. Board and Meeting Notes
Board and meeting minutes show the history of a company’s decisions. Board minutes are helpful during possible litigation provoked by governing bodies or during company audits. A company will normally have the only copies of the board meetings, so the documents should be stored carefully.
9. Business Contacts
Business contacts help companies run efficiently. Contact information, such as those for employees, business partners, accountants, lawyers and banks, must be protected in the eye of a hurricane or storm.
Given the clear necessity of business documents, it is evident that the above records are to be safeguarded with the utmost diligence. Business owners in the dark about how to protect their most critical documents may find solutions via the tips below.
What are best practices to protect documents?
Water damage is the number one enemy to important business documents during hurricane season. To prevent water damage, seal all critical, hardcopy records in accessible watertight containers. Waterproof bins may be housed onsite in a room on an upper floor.
Business owners who store important records in waterproof containers in the basements of their buildings should reconsider the storage location. Basements are notorious for flooding or springing leaks, leading to water damage to the documents kept in that part of the building.
If storing records in the basement is the only viable option, take steps to elevate the waterproof containers, even when the documents are stored in waterproof bins. For maximum protection, keep paperwork several inches off the ground to prevent water damage.
Another preventive measure is to install water sensors in the location the business documents are stored. Water alarms will sound when moisture is detected. Business owners have the opportunity to relocate the paperwork to a dry area before the documents are submerged in water and destroyed.
How important are digital file backups?
Technology makes it easy to back up files and reduce the need for physical copies. Scan the paperwork and store them on the cloud or a hard drive that is kept offsite. Records may also be retained on flash drives that are stored at a separate location. Regularly back up files to keep them up to date.
Digital copies, while a life saver at times, are not always practical. In the midst of a hurricane or storm, the power may be cut for an extended duration, making digital copies inaccessible. Having hard copies on hand pushes the reports of storm damage forward.
Hurricane season this year is expected to unleash 13 storms, which is slightly over the average 12 storms per season. Businesses are urged to prevent a mushy muddle of paperwork in the midst of hurricane season.
Storm and Water Damage Restoration
When water damage infiltrates your business, consult a water damage restoration company, like ServiceMaster Restoration & Cleaning. Skilled technicians will return your commercial property to its pre-disaster condition. Specialists handle flooding, structural damage, mold growth and repairs that result from storms.
With hurricane season approaching, businesses should keep the contact information of ServiceMaster Restoration & Cleaning on hand. When a surge of water submerges your business, ServiceMaster Restoration & Cleaning technicians are prepared to handle the restoration. The professionals will remove standing water, dry belongings affected by water damage and sterilize the area to curtail any outbreak of waterborne bacteria.
In addition to removing excess moisture from the property, trained technicians will board up or tarp the building to stabilize damaged roofs. If reconstruction services are necessary, ServiceMaster Restoration & Cleaning professionals are equipped to complete any and all reconstruction tasks.
Businesses in the Houston, Texas, area can rely on the storm damage repair services provided by ServiceMaster Restoration & Cleaning. Specialists stand by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to your emergency call.