Records that companies generate vary across sector, business type, size, structure and scale. Of these records, only a select fraction will be useful as archives. We have provided some example record types here. Please note, the list provided is not exhaustive. It should be used as a guide only and adapted to your individual needs and experience.
Some record types that are unique to your business may not be included here. Whilst others that do appear may not be relevant to you. Records in differing formats may also exist within your collections.
Company archives contain those records selected for permanent preservation. They should contain information that explains and illustrates the key developments and activities of your business over time. It’s useful to think about how you want to exploit your archive and the information you will need to save to do so. Here are some example case studies.
There are some statutory records that all companies must keep. These records give essential information, such as when and where your company first started trading. This information is useful for parent companies as well as subsidiary companies. Smaller companies may find that much of their archive is made up of statutory records, with additional specialist records representative of their particular sector or niche skills base.
For further information about business archives in general please see these notes compiled by Archivist, Stacey Harmer.
The National Archives have published guidance on deaccessioning and disposal. This guidance is useful when considering what records to keep as part of an archive. The guidance also includes advice on legal, regulatory and ethical issues. Alongside this are a practical framework for decision-making and case studies from the sector.
For further advice on creating your own archive, please visit The National Archives webpage: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/archives-sector/advice-and-guidance/running-your-organisation/advice-to-private-archives/