It’s hard to believe another year is almost over, but as you and your team wrap up this year, it’s important to get things lined up for next year. Fortunately, five steps can help any company – large or small – ensure they end Q4 with a bang and head into the New Year set up for success.

Follow our Year-End Business Clean-Up Checklist to get organized, ensure compliance and enhance the security of your information:

1. Shred old documents.

While there is no doubt that the Digital Age is upon us, the reality is that the majority of businesses still create, process and store plenty of paper. Over the course of a year, paper can pile up. Beyond the hassle of organizing and dealing with those files, all that paper can make you less efficient and keeping any document past its retention date creates compliance and possibly legal risks.

Now is the time to purge the documents your company no longer needs. To ensure your business information, your employees’ personal information and the sensitive data of your clients stays protected, you must securely shred all documents that have reached the end of their retention period.

2. Free up office space with off-site records storage.

Of course, there are certain documents that your organization may need to keep for business reasons or due to state and federal regulations. Although these items may not regularly be referenced, they must always be accessible and secure. Often the most cost-efficient and secure option is to outsource your storage to a certified records management partner. This will ensure the security and the integrity of your documents, as well as allow for a variety of retrieval options whenever you need them. And, it frees up your costly office space for other uses, like growing your business.

3. Convert your paper documents to digital formats.

Regardless of whether your organization is quick to try the latest technology or is still in the process of figuring out their digital strategy, your most frequently used documents should always be easily accessible. Did you know that the average worker spends 1.8 hours each day searching for and gathering information? Why not eliminate wasted time and increase employee productivity by digitizing your business documents? Not only will you free up your team’s time, but converting your physical documents to digital will consolidate your business information into one central repository where it can be accessed and shared securely.

4. Step up to a fully integrated records management solution.

An effective records and information management (RIM) solution can help streamline your business processes and increase efficiencies. You operate in a hybrid paper and digital world. An integrated RIM program can handle all your records, retention and destruction needs, increasing your efficiency and productivity while simultaneously lowering your risk. Find a solution that can handle newly created electronic forms and documents, while easily accounting for your historical archives and active records. Organizing yourself this way will compound your efficiency in future years.

5. Train your employees.

Last, but certainly not least, consider bringing your employees up to speed on information governance. Every member of your team should understand how different records are created, stored and discarded. This extends to newer record types such as social media, tweets, instant messaging and more. All of these record types need to be managed and understood to ensure your compliance and, most importantly, to keep your risk to a minimum.

Get ready for your best year yet!

Ending the fourth quarter with a business clean-up is a great way to tie up any loose ends around the office before you ring in the new year. Partnering with a RIM provider can help you check off every item on this list and ensure your records management strategy meets all your business needs in the year ahead.