Record retention policy

Oxfam America adheres to US accounting standards and endeavors to use best practices with regard to the retention and destruction of records.  The guidelines below are for all financial records maintained or generated at agency headquarters in Boston.  Regional offices may retain records longer than the guidelines according to local law and custom, but in no case should records be destroyed in a time frame that is shorter than below.

Retention guidelines

FINANCIAL DOCUMENT TYPE

RETAINED FOR

Accounts payable (A/P) ledger

7 years

Invoices from vendors

7 years as support for A/P ledger

Invoices from OA to partners/suppliers

7 years

General ledger (G/L) transaction data

7 years

Transactional support work papers

7 years as support for G/L

Fixed-asset paid invoices/documentation

5 years after asset disposal

Revenue ledger

7 years

Supporting documentation for revenue (contribution) transactions

7 years

Correspondence, contracts, work papers relating to permanently restricted funds and temporarily restricted funds treated as endowment funds

Permanent

Internal audit work papers, analyses & correspondence supporting any material financial transactions or balances for audited financials or any other audit or review, including reviews by grantors of Oxfam America work

7 years

Work papers related to 990 filings including functional expense allocations

7 years

Final 990 filings

Permanent

Charts of accounts

Permanent

Bank statements

Permanent

Contracts and leases

Permanent

Correspondence—legal and audit

Permanent

Employee payroll records

Permanent

Time and attendance reports

7 years

Training materials

Permanent

Union agreements

Permanent

Records for the current year and a minimum of one year prior are maintained securely on-site in compliance with Massachusetts and federal privacy laws.

Prior-year records are maintained off-site at a reputable document management and storage facility that meets or exceeds the Massachusetts and federal privacy law standards.  Records must be maintained in such a way that they are accessible for review by auditors and grantors upon request.

Destruction guidelines

At the expiration of the retention period, all financial documents will be destroyed fully by shredding on-site or at the document management facility in order to safeguard privacy.

In the event that any inquiry into any aspect of finances is under way, or any employee or officer of Oxfam America has any knowledge that such an inquiry might be undertaken, all document destruction will be immediately suspended until the inquiry has been satisfied. The agency does not condone and will not tolerate destroying, altering, or falsifying records with the intent to impede or influence such an inquiry.  Should such an event occur, the agency will pursue all legally available means and remedies.

Regional offices

Regional offices may establish their own record retention policies where local law or custom dictates longer retention of records.  In no case may the regional office retain records for less than the periods of time indicated in the table above.  Where regional office policies differ, regional directors should ensure that there is a written policy, and that the current version of this policy is on file in Boston with the controller.

Retention of other records

The following other areas of the agency maintain records in a manner consistent with Massachusetts and federal privacy laws and other employment or business law:

Executive office—board and governance documents

Human resources—personnel and employment documents

Resource development—donor records, donor transactional records, pledges, and contracts in compliance with Massachusetts Payment Card Industry standards