Retention of Accounting Records: A Global Survey of Laws and Regulations (2019)

by William Saffady, Ph.D, FAI

Project Underwritten by ARMA International Educational Foundation


This report surveys legal requirements for retention of accounting records in 200 countries and territories. Globally, more than 1,000 laws and regulations specify retention periods or have significant implications for retention decisions related to accounting ledgers, financial statements, fiscal audit reports, accounts payable and receivable documents, and other records related to an organization’s accounting transactions and financial condition. For each country and territory, the report identifies, summarizes, and cites minimum retention periods mandated by accounting laws and tax laws, as well as applicable statutes of limitations specified in contract laws. The report also identifies legal requirements related to storage locations and formats for retention of accounting records. Links are provided to the full text of cited laws and regulations.

The report is intended for records managers, compliance officers, information governance specialists, attorneys, risk managers, financial officers, and others who need to know how long, where, and in what format accounting records must be kept to comply with legal and regulatory requirements in a given country. It will be particularly useful for companies, not-for-profit organizations, educational and cultural institutions, and other entities that have business operations and maintain accounting records in multiple countries.