More and more business communication is taking place via e-mail, and it has long been common practice for contracts and invoices to be sent only by e-mail. This speeds up and simplifies communication, especially in times when home offices is very popular. At the same time, many of those involved are not aware that those who do not archive their company e-mails in an audit-proof manner will end up in hot water faster than they think.
What you better pay attention to in order to stay on the (legally) safe side and how you can establish legally compliant and at the same time comfortable processes in your organization with the open source solution Benno MailArchive, you can read in the guest article by Ansgar Licher from our partner LWsystems.
Recently, customers have increasingly reported that tax auditors have demanded to see their companies’ e-mail archiving. The authorities are paying more attention to this than in the past. The fatal thing about this is that few topics are treated as neglected in IT as e-mail archiving. However, if you don’t take care of it, you’re not just making some kind of mistake; in the worst case, you’re committing a crime.
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This Is What Can Go Wrong with E-Mail Archiving
According to the GoBD, companies in Germany are obliged to archive e-mails in an audit-proof manner – regardless of the industry and size. The GoBD specifies the principles for the proper management and storage of books, records and documents in electronic form, as well as for data access.
Unfortunately, companies repeatedly make mistakes as well as misjudgements when it comes to mail archiving, which can have serious consequences. The most common are:
Misconception 1: It is enough to archive everything in folders in my e-mail program.
Correct is: E-mails collected in the mailbox, in an archive folder or the Outlook auto-archive function do not replace proper e-mail archiving. The reason: The e-mails are neither stored in an audit-proof manner, nor does this storage meet the requirements of the GoBD.
Misconception 2: We are top organized, because we have copies of the e-mails on our servers.
Correct is: This approach is not a solution. As a rule, these copies are not audit-proof. And even if they were, it would still have to be possible to check and verify that they are unchanged, even after ten years.
Misconception 3: I have already purchased an e-mail archiving solution. I am on the safe side.
Correct is: It is not enough to just purchase software or an e-mail archiving solution. In addition to the technical implementation, the organizational environment must also be right. Both must also be documented by means of procedural documentation.