Policy: 801 - Records Retention
Statement of Policy:
This Policy covers all types of fiscal records. This includes general financial administration records, gift and grant administration, payments and receipts, state banking and cash management, general ledger, capital improvement and projects, internal controls, and collection.
Background to the Retention Schedule
In early 2006, the PRB approved a General Records Schedule (GRS) governing fiscal records for State agencies. In the course of reviewing the applicability of the GRS for University use, it became apparent it did not meet University needs; and the terminology of the State GRS made it difficult to interpret it within the University System accounting system. Thus, the decision was made that the UW System would opt out of the State GRS, and it would create its own retention policy for fiscal and accounting records or UWS GRS. In November 2006, a team was created from the newly formed UW System Records Officer Council along with Doug Hendrix, UW System Associate Vice President Financial Services, and Laura Dunek, UW System Records Officer to develop a draft GRS.
On January 31, 2007, the Public Records Board (PRB) approved the University of Wisconsin System General Records Schedule (UWS GRS) on Fiscal and Accounting Records.
What is covered by the new GRS?
The new UWS GRS provides retention policy on nearly all types of fiscal records. This includes coverage for general financial administration records, gift and grant administration, payments and receipts, state banking and cash management, general ledger, capital improvement and projects, internal controls, and collection.
ONE CAUTION: Items relating to credit card documentation (UWS GRS Section FISC 110) are still being reviewed and at this time there is no recommendation for length of time for record retention. There were concerns expressed by the Attorney General Representative (AG) to the PRB in which the recommended retention for credit card documentation may not be sufficient; therefore, the retention for those items should NOT be implemented at this time. As soon as we have clarification from the AG, an announcement will be circulated through this newsletter as well as a notice will be posted to the Archives and Records Management Services (ARMS) website.
What does this mean for your department?
You should feel free to implement the retention times specified in the UWS GRS. It is not necessary to seek further approval from ARMS or Business Services. Exceptions from UWS GRS are the same exceptions from previous retention policies. Records scheduled for disposal which are subject to open audit questions or investigations, legal investigations, or open records requests MAY NOT be destroyed. Scheduled disposal must be suspended in those instances. With electronic recordkeeping, it is critical that accounting services and departments have the capability to suspend destruction/deletion. A REMINDER: Changing a record format or its storage media does not change its status as a record or the need to retain it an appropriate length of time.
How do I know if I am responsible for implementing and maintaining this policy for Record Retentions?
Are you the official record holder of the particular record item or record series? If so, your office has primary responsibility for implementing the retention time.
Acronyms per Record Retention Schedule:
- EVT - means the event which closes the records. For fiscal records, this is normally the end of the fiscal year.
- FISC - means fiscal year.
What is still needed to fully implement the GRS?
Further guidance will be developed on credit card retention (Section FISC 110), management of copies, supporting accounting systems maintained by individual departments, and the interpretation of certain records within the Shared Financial System. As these items are developed, notices and articles will be posted in Business Services News and on the ARMS website - http://archives.library.wisc.edu/RM/rechome.htm.
Where can the new UWS GRS be obtained?
Acronyms per Record Retention Web site:
- AG – Attorney General Representative
- ARMS – Archives and Records Management Services. ARMS helps campus offices determine what records need to be kept and for how long.
- GRS – General Records Schedule – schedule used as guidelines for length of time to save fiscal records
- PRB – Public Records Board – body responsible for the State’s records policies
- UWS GRS - University of Wisconsin System General Records Schedule
Who should know this policy?
Deans, Directors, and staff dealing with fiscal and accounting records.