Are You Interested to Learn What Laws in Your State Dictate If You Can Go Paperless
I have talked to many directors of Community Action Agencies and executives from non-profits that have said they would like to go paperless but the State, auditors, or funders require them to save their paper documents.
Requiring keeping paper documents has been a common practice for many years. But, in 1999, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) create the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA). Before the adoption of this Act, most states required banks to retain physical copies of all checks they process. Keeping paper copies of checks became unmanageable and very impractical. The UETA rectified this by allowing for electronic retention. It also addresses the need to retain paper copies of other records and contracts, effectively giving legally binding status to electronic documents and signatures. This Act was not limited to banks but also any organization conducting business.
You can find more info on this Act here: http://www.uniformlaws.org/ActSummary.aspx?title=Electronic%20Transactions%20Act
This Act has been adopted in some form by most states. Three states have not adopted UETA, they do have laws recognizing electronic signatures (Illinois, New York, and Washington).
If you would like to learn more about your state’s adoption of the UETA, you may find it here.
Note: I recommend that you talk to your legal counsel to get an legal opinion on this topic.