The Uniform Guidance provides an opportunity to shift from paper to electronic methods of storage. It encourages federal agencies and universities to use electronic formats rather than paper whenever practicable. While we must still provide or accept paper when it is requested, the guidance says that when original records are electronic and non-alterable, there is no need to create and retain paper copies. Similarly, when original records are paper (e.g. receipts), electronic versions (e.g. pdf scans) may be substituted provided they remain readable, are subject to periodic quality control reviews and are reasonably safeguarded against being altered.
Applicable Uniform Guidance section: 200.335
Note that there are inconsistencies between the UG and the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Federal contracts follow the FAR, plus UG for cost principles only. Under the FAR, paper records related to contracts must be kept for a year after they are converted to an electronic format. Such paper documents should be scanned and retained in the DLC.
Applicable Uniform Guidance section: 200.333
MIT’s Financial Record Retention Policy [requires login] can be found on VPF’s website.