Retention & Filing of Source Documents

The university is required to comply with federal and provincial statutory requirements relating to the retention of records. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requires that all records be retained until the expiration of six years after the end of the year to which they relate. Therefore, the university retains records for the current year plus six previous years. Units that process transactions in the financial system must ensure they have an effective system for filing to accommodate ease of review for internal requirements, external audit requirements, retention, archiving, and permanent destruction of source documents.

Source Documents

A source document is the original record of a transaction.  Source documents and supporting documents provide evidence that valid financial transactions have occurred, and are used for the purposes of audit, review and verification. 

Source documents include the form (where applicable), with original approval signatures, and all documentation that was used to support the transaction.

Supporting documentation includes documents that support the validity of the transaction (including the amount of the transaction) and additional information the unit wishes to retain. Supporting documentation must satisfy audit scrutiny.

For some transaction processes, the source documents are retained by the unit, while for other processes the source documents are retained centrally. Units need to be aware of which transactions they are required to retain at their site. The applicable UAPPOL procedure specifies the source documents for which units are responsible. The following are examples of source documents retained by units:





Accounts payable correction

Accounts Payable Journal Voucher form

Any independent documentation or analysis that supports the correction

Air travel expense

Travel Authorization Payment (TAP)

Supporting travel and expense receipts

External billing

Customer contract

Any other documentation that supports the validity or amount of billing


Retention and Filing Requirements 

Records must be maintained in an orderly and secure manner. Financial Services recommends that "jackets" be used for organizing and that documents be filed by journal ID and fiscal year. Examples of jackets for various financial transactions are available in the Forms Cabinet (see Transaction Source Document Filing (Jackets)). To order jackets, contact McCallum Print Group at 492-9491.

Financial Services also recommends that source documents (with supporting documentation) be filed as centrally as possible within the faculty or central services unit. This filing approach will assist faculties and central services units to ensure they meet the rigorous requirements related to these critical documents. 

Financial Services does not recommend or support the practice of filing source documents in individual files (e.g., a file set up per research project or endowment). If some support is required to be kept in individual files, it is acceptable to make copies for this purpose rather than retaining the original source documents in this manner  For example, if a unit requires a travel claim to be filed in a project folder, a printed copy of the claim with original receipts should be filed centrally, and a copy of these documents may be placed in the project folder.

The following diagram summarizes the retention and filing requirements based on where the transaction is processed.

Financial Management (FI) Records Retention Schedule

Last Updated: November 2015