Why Accountants Need To Review Their Shredder Policy During Tax Season

shredding during tax season

Digital identity theft is the primary concern for most business professionals, including accountants. Yet during tax time, strategic dumpster diving is a common technique used by identity thieves. Focused on dumpsters behind office buildings where accountants and tax preparers conduct business, identity thieves rely on the hectic busy season to create lapses in document-based identity theft prevention.

Shredding Policy Basics

  1. Ensure all employees know what documents must be shredded. Create a list of key documents as reference for all employees.
  2. Shred all documents during working hours. Avoid leaving slush piles of paper to shred while not in the office. Cleaning crews may accidentally toss these papers if they appear as trash.
  3. Ensure shredder bins are emptied regularly. When employees are busy, full shredder bins often lead to documents being set aside to be shredded later, only to be discarded as regular trash.

Choosing a Shredder for an Accounting Office

Select a paper shredder that accommodates the size of the office.  Large, commercial shredders are ideal for any size shared office as they require less frequent emptying. Small office shredders placed by employee desks work well too. Automatic shredding is the latest in shredder technology and allows documents to be safely destroyed even after office hours with computerized settings. Learn more about Automatic Shredding

Make sure to use cross-cut shredders. Strip cut shredders are okay for households, but do not provide adequate document destruction for businesses. Cross-cut shredders grind documents into 5/32” x 1-1/2” cross-cut particles.(Security Level P-4).  For greater peace of mind, consider a micro-cut shredder.

Learn more about shredding security levels

Lax  Tax Document Destruction in the News

 

Why Businesses Are Upgrading to Automatic Shredders

With government regulations demanding compliance with identity protection guidelines and an increase in high volume shredding, companies are seeking new ways to improve productivity of the shredding process with automatic paper shredders.

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Many businesses choose off-site shredding companies as a convenient solution. However with this hands-off service, comes a few drawbacks including high prices and a risk of exposing confidential information to an external vendor.

Many businesses instead are using automatic on-site shredding. The single cost purchase of an automatic high volume shredder provides long-term shredding without the hefty service fees of shredding services. And an on-site commercial shredder keeps all confidential information in the office.

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Most importantly, auto feed paper shredders also provide a hands-free experience. Users simply load the bin, push the button and walk away. From a productivity standpoint, this means employees spend less time shredding and more time on other more important tasks. Another important feature are safety locks, which prevents the shredder from being opened after it begins the shredding process, so confidential documents remain safe until completely destroyed.

Automatic shredding also allows the shredding process to occur in a timely manner, eliminating the risky build-up of confidential documents waiting to be destroyed, making confidential shredding an important perk of automatic machines.

The value of automatic shredding spans across many industries that handle sensitive materials.

Healthcare

Medical clinics and hospitals can quickly destroy reams of sensitive patient information as medical records clerks purge old files in less time.

Law

Law clerks find automatic shredding useful for past client records or destroying the duplicate paperwork of a long case.

Finance

Accountants use automatic shredding to maintain a consistent storage and destruction cycle for business records. Large quantities of sensitive documents  are usually in immediate need of shredding, and the process can take accounting clerks weeks to properly dispatch such paperwork.

Real Estate and Mortgage

Credit apps from home buyers quickly pile up on a realtor’s desk, unfortunately a desk often left unattended while showing homes. Automatic shredding saves real estate companies time by allowing these documents, which often contain social security numbers, bank account numbers and driver’s license information, to be quickly shredded without delay.